By on December 1, 2010

Lincoln’s recent styling direction has certainly generated its fair share of controversy here at TTAC, and certainly Lincoln’s sales need to improve if dealers are going to swallow the loss of Mercury. Accordingly, Ford has hired Max Wolff, former head of exterior design for Cadillac to reshape the look of Lincoln. Which is an interesting choice considering that Cadillac’s exterior designs, though distinctly superior to Lincoln’s of late, have not been without their controversies. Besides, what are you supposed to expect from a designer who’s been sticking to Cadillac’s Art&Science playbook for years? But there’s a bigger question here: is Lincoln a mere makeover away of success in the brutally competitive luxury space? Would an MKS in a freshly-tailored suit be a real threat to the E Class or 5 Series? And if not, what should Mr Wolff be wrapping in his Cadillac-sharpened sheetmetal?

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65 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Does Lincoln Need More Than A New Designer?...”

  • avatar

    they should start by not closing distributors, then put real names on the cars instead of the alphabet soup. to really succeed they need to simply restore dealer margins and get the heck out of retail.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    The only thing holding back Lincoln right now is style/naming/image. It has the substance. Lincoln needs to decide if it is going to be a REAL luxury brand or a NEAR luxury brand. Right now it is hovering in the NEAR department.
    They had a few nice concepts going for them in the early 2000’s (remember the Continental concept?) but they never materialized.
    Style-wise, not sure about Cadillacs being superior to Lincolns as of late. Ok, the CTS and the Escalade? The rest of Cadillac is garbage. At least Lincoln has put some effort into their designs. It is troubling that they would hire a Cadillac stylist. Expect more cheese. They might as well hire Lutz for chrome detail.

  • avatar

    Buying a Cadillac-sharpened Lincoln will show your auto enthusiasts friends that you’ve lost your way in the world. The rest of the world probably won’t notice.

  • avatar

    Is Lincoln currently competitive with Cadillac?
    Does the garish 20th Century front end treatment still work for Lincoln?
    Also, with the Town Car soon to be put out to pasture, do any of their cars excluding the Navigator have an English name?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      I don’t think that Lincoln even competes with Buick right now, given that Buick sells considerably more cars with much more distinctive sheetmetal beyond the grille and lights.

      A new look is a good start, so at least Lincolns don’t look like much less-expensive Fords.

  • avatar

    A good start would be a 21st century understated styling and taste statement equivalent to the 1961 Continental. That was a design where less was truly more. They don’t necessarily have to slavishly copy the ’61 as an obvious retro design, but hey, good design is timeless.

    If Ford wants to give the Lincoln brand a unique statement in the marketplace, they could do worse than be seriously inspired by one of the greatest automobile styling exercises of the 20th century – the 1961 Continental.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      I was thinking something similar. We had a 1970s Continental growing up, and what a couch they had in the rear!

      A new Continental would be a great way to relaunch the brand.

      But for pity’s sake, whatever they do, call it a “Continental”, not a MK-whatever.

    • 0 avatar

      yep my grandparents traded in a 51 caddy for a 61 continental and it was such a clean design a convertible with 4 doors and the rear ones opening forward the early 60s designs from them were the best 4 the last 50 years

  • avatar

    Lincoln has done well in giving every vehicle in their lineup (with the exception of the Navigrater) a common design language. Love it or hate it, it’s unique and recognizable.
    The naming scheme is beyond unfortunate. That’s one place where consistency does it no favors.
    It’s difficult to park an MKT next to a Flex and see the similarities; likewise with the Taurus and the MKS.  That’s all positive.  The commonality of styling and choice of materials in the interior is good as well.
    I think they’re well along the right path. Right now Lincoln is an expensive Buick competitor. I think they should give up on the Euro and Asian comparisons and forge their own way in the American idiom. Cadillac is the only real competitor there.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      How about we parallel-park those Lincolns and Fords along street, nose-to-bumper and see just how different they are when you can’t see the grille and taillights?

    • 0 avatar

      Parked front to back and viewed from the side, you’ll clearly see that hard points around the doors / windows are virtually identical.
      No matter what gizmodo features the Lincoln interior has over a base Ford, more needs to be with regards to the sheet metal and glass.  Then if Lincoln buyers will pony up, take it to higher level in the power train department similar to what VW seems to pull off with the Passat versus the Audi A4 or Jetta/Golf versus an A3.

    • 0 avatar

      Pearlie, we won’t have to parallel park them; they can all do that themselves.  But it would probably be instructive for you.  I worked with these vehicles every day for more than two years while they were in development, driving some of the earliest prototypes and yes, being chased by spy photographers. If you can see any visual similarity other than the wheelbase between the Flex and the MKT, you have x-ray eyes. There is no glass and no sheetmetal in common.
      The MKX and MKZ are much more obviously based on their Ford platforms than the MKS or MKT. That should be expected, being older designs. And the new Taurus is more based on the MKS than vice versa. Like I said, they’re heading in the right direction.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Are you kidding me?

      I’ve got side views of both badges of the 2011 Edge up on the monitor right now, and it looks like the Lincoln price premium gives you:
      – chromed door handles
      – blackout rear lip
      – extra Lincoln badge
      – slimmer taillight & taller bumper
      I see that Lincoln deletes the chrome eyebrow on the headlight.

      Things which stay *exactly* the same:
      – all glass
      – all panel cutlines
      – rear fender panel
      – plastic and chrome window surrounds
      – body-color mirrors
      How cheap and lazy. At a minimum, the Ford should have black window edging & mirrors, while the Lincoln gets a full chrome window, matching the Lincoln-exclusive door handles.

      I bet you could pull the Lincoln doors off and the Edge ones would fit perfectly. I also bet you could rip the bumpers and lights off and the Ford ones would bolt right on without the slightest gap.

      More Lincoln fail.

      Are there any body panels which aren’t 100% interchangeable? What’s actually different?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      For an example of platform sharing done right (by GM, no less), look at the Buick Enclave compared to the Chevy:
      – *totally* different fenders, bumpers, and door panels.
      – different 2nd & 3rd row glass (2nd row window goes all the way down)
      – rounded, not angular mirrors
      – chromed window surrounds vs a single strip
      – two-tone body vs plastic
      – ventiports!
      – extra chrome strips on the bumpers

      That level of differentiation (besides the grille) is part of the reason why the Lambda triplets are kicking Ford’s ass every single day.

  • avatar

    In my opinion Lincoln started going in the right direction with the LS cars, only to let them die on the vine in the name of things like the Navigator and Blackwood. If Lincoln had developed those cars further I think it would be Cadillac playing catch up today.

    • 0 avatar

      “Styling” is useless if the “bones” are bad.
      What Lincoln needs are: Rear wheel drive, long hood, short overhang.  The top sedan must have a V8.
      Use the Mustang chassis or the Aussie Falcon.  No amount of styling fix on the D3 will work.

    • 0 avatar

      As it is the ‘bones’ are far from bad.  The Ford platforms that Lincolns are built upon are all very well regarded in their Ford counterparts.  Current Lincolns offer some of the best interiors in the luxury segment, some of the best integrated and well developed technology, and are priced well below many competitors when options are figured in.
      The one thing Lincoln doesn’t have is any kind of RWD performance/sport sedan, which, for an enthusiast could be seen as a major lapse, but for the average luxury car customer looking for lots of gear and a comfortable ride, can be forgiven.

    • 0 avatar

      I know Ford/Lincoln’s platforms, interior, etc. are functionally good.  I am strictly commenting about styling.  We have been conditioned since the 1930’s like long hood/short deck.  Look at how relatively crude long hood Mustang beat the “sophisticated” Corvair.  FWD-based, long front hang / short axle to dash chassis can’t work for luxury cars.  Just ask Acura.

    • 0 avatar

      KitaIkki, that is exactly what the LS was, a car that shared much of its underpinnings with Jaguar, looked Lincolin-ish and came with RWD, a V8 and I think a stick. Instead of developing it they came out with the Baleen Whales we see today.

    • 0 avatar

      Audi’s FWD bones don’t stop them from looking good and selling for a lot of money. What is needed is good distinctive design to separate the premium from the plebeian.

  • avatar

    If Lincoln is going to be mimicking the horrendous Cadillac design trend, i will be dumping my Ford stock asap.  At least I bought it at 2. If they follow Cad to the ditch, it wont be worth half that.

  • avatar

    I don’t know if Ford really knows what it wants to do with Lincoln right now.
    In their defense, GM seems just about equally confused about the future direction for Cadillac and Buick.
    Personally, I wish that both Lincoln and Cadillac would try to be true, unique American luxury car manufacturers and stop trying to copy Lexus, BMW, and Audi at every turn.

    Ford has been on a roll for a while now, I would like to see them start taking some risks with their luxury brand.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      While the Caddy / Buick direction is somewhat in flux, clearly, GM is building Buick into a full-range / near-full-range brand.

      One big difference compared to Lincoln: when you see a Caddy or a Buick on the road, you know exactly what it is. Both of those brands have a clear styling language that is consistent and carried across models in a relatively obvious way.

      If Lincolns looked like Lincolns, the rest would be a lot easier.

  • avatar

    I remember seeing the Concept C car at the local Auto show last year, and thinking it was pretty cool except for the Baleen grille, which managed to not-total the rest of the car. So here are some ideas:
    Suicide Doors
    Pilfer the 2010 Milan refresh, it’s not bad, in fact make a whole theme on it
    If you have to use letters, use funny ones, like SUX

  • avatar

    Whoever came up with Lincoln’s current “Giant Chrome Labia” styling, should not only be fired but probably institutionalized, clearly he is a very sick man. And yes, I believe vastly improved styling could be a major help to the Lincoln brand. There are many good things lying beneath the gyno-cetaceous (whale vagina) exteriors of current Lincolns; Ecoboost power-plants, and an info-tech systems its competitors can’t currently match.

    Better sheet-metal won’t help everything though, Lincoln can’t survive on just selling optioned-up Fords, they need a dedicated model. They need a new Town Car.

  • avatar

    The new Lincoln designer couldn’t do worse than to really study the Continental concept car of a few years ago.

  • avatar

    Bringing back real names would certainly help, the whole MK* fiasco has played out and it hasn’t worked.  Customers can’t seem to get it straight, and it’s annoying on the sales floor to have to explain it time after time after time.
    Lincoln has made major strides in electronics and interior quality in the past few years.  In the past Lincolns were well behind their competitors when it came to available technology, and the interiors weren’t quite up to snuff.  The new MKX is a great example of things to come – the interior is heads and tails above the Cadillac SRX or Lexus RX, it has more power, better fuel economy, and technology features neither can touch.  The premium midsize crossover market is hot, and this should become Lincoln’s best selling model easily.
    Powertrains have improved as well.  Yes, ther are mainly shared with Ford models, but Cadillac’s exclusive Northstar was never as good as the LS series V8s, so there is something to be said with going with what is good rather than what is exclusive.  The EcoBoost engines have enjoyed a high take rate, and have great performance, fuel economy, and reliability, plus they are smooth and aurally pleasing enough to easily live in the engine bay of a luxury sedan.  Ford did a good enough job with the Fusion Hybrid’s drivetrain to be able to move it into the engine bay of the MKZ and have a vehicle that outdoes Toyota’s Lexus hybrids.
    Lincoln does need some things though.  When the Taurus and Fusion eventually merge to the new EUCD* platform in 2013 or 2014 the current MKS can be downsized a bit and made into more of a Lexus ES competitor, leaving room at the top for a true long wheelbase RWD flagship sedan.  A smaller RWD performance model to compete with the CTS, 3/5-series and C/E class based on the next generation Mustang platform should also be in the works, hopefully with a convertible version.  The current Navigator is better all around than the Escalade except for the engine bay, but with the new engine lineup for the F-150s coming out, it’s only a matter of time before the Expedition and Navigator get similar upgrades.
    This is what I think the future Lincoln line-up should be:
    B/C Class Concept C type vehicle – offered in Turbo-4 cylinder and Electric models
    Next MKZ and MKS merge into something between the two in size, FWD/AWD Lexus ES competitor
    Next-gen Mustang based RWD midsize sports sedan
    Full size RWD/AWD flagship sedan
    The MKX can continue on its current road, it’s off to a great start, but a hybrid variant would help
    The next 7 passenger large crossover grows in size to be more similar to the Explorer than the Flex
    The Navigator continues on as a BOF true SUV, but with improved engines for more power and better fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar

      If LS were available, I’d think about it. BTW, Lexus has the same alphabet nightmare. For the life of me I could not remember which one was which, so ended with “show me the small one, and no, I do not mean the blinged Camry” (turned out to be the IS, and what do you know it’s a small RWD platform).

    • 0 avatar

      While I dislike the alphabet soup naming, at least other companies that do that still have DIFFERENT letters and numbers in the names.  All the Lincolns are MK*.  It makes them hard to keep straight.  They should just divide by MK.  Then they’d have the S, T, X, etc., which I think would be an improvement.

      Names like “Continental” and “Town Car”, while they have heritage, sound very geriatric.

    • 0 avatar

      Lexus has a system to its madness, e.g. SUVs have “X” (GX RX) and cars have “S” (IS, ES, GS, LS). It does not help a whole lot though. You still have to remember which one is which. I did not even realize that GS and LS were two substantially different cars. At least with BMW you know that 700 is bigger than 500.

  • avatar

    Ugh…that MKT. It’s a prow that only a prawn could love.

  • avatar

    The MKS needs to be RWD, yesterday. I always think what an attractive car that could be without those awful FWD proportions.  Absolute garbage – leave FWD to the Corollas and Malibus of the world.

    Stretch it about six inches for good measure.  6.2L V8 as the top option.

    I would say drop a sedan body onto the Navigator chassis, with its hydroformed frame and advancements from keeping the F-150 at the head of its class, but oh christ are those days ever gone, to never return.  Unibody it is. 

    The Apologists For the Way Things Are will argue that’s best, anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      Can you tell if a car is FWD or RWD just from the proportions? I can’t, but I came of age during the FWD revolution, so it just looks natural to me.

      The Navigator frame, and really any BOF design, is ill-suited for a luxury car. It makes a lot of sense for a livery vehicle that needs to be stretched easily and take a lot of abuse, or a truck that needs to tow a lot, but for a luxury car there are no clear benefits, and major compromises in handling and interior space intrusion. Unibody is lighter, leads to better interior room, and for a car, is really the only way to go.

      The 6.2 liter from Ford isn’t an analog to the Mercedes AMG 6.3. The 6.2 is a heavy breathing SOHC torque-monster truck motor by design. For a car, the 3.5 liter EcoBoost would work very well, the incredibly flat torque curve can hide the slight HP deficiency compared to a V8 plus offer better economy. If a V8 is needed, the 5.0 makes a lot more sense, at 412hp it would work for any full size luxury sedan. Plus, the 5.0 was designed to allow for easy addition of direct injection, which when combined with the EcoBoost turbos, could give V12 power to compete with the top motors from Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.

    • 0 avatar

      The rule of thumb is to look for a short front overhang. Of course, some RWD platforms do have enormous snouts, just remember prevoous Camaro. But then you probably do not want them anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      The big front overhang, while common in many FWD designs (especially with longitudinal configurations), is not really inherent to FWD as such.  Look at the recent Audis, for example (A4, A5 and new A6) and you can see that they shifted the engine rearward, producing a shorter overhang, longer wheelbase and better weight distribution.  And I really don’t think Audi has a patent on this — anyone could do this.

    • 0 avatar

      You can tell a FWD very easily. Look at the distance from the front wheel well opening to the front door edge. On FWD cars, the distance is typically very short, longer on RWD cars.

    • 0 avatar

      (Nullo, sorry but I need to bust your chops a little bit)

      The 6.2 liter from Ford isn’t an analog to the Mercedes AMG 6.3.

      Who said anything about the Benz motor?  Lincoln is going to be building American cars.

      The 6.2 is a heavy breathing SOHC torque-monster truck motor by design.

      What’s your point? It didn’t stop Cadillac from putting their 6.2 into the CTS-V, and it’s a smaller car than this hypothetical Lincoln under discussion.

      The 6.2 would be the prestige motor.  A car named after the greatest president of the United States needs strength behind it. 

      At any rate, a proper luxury car needs a V8. 

      We pioneered this and everyone else copied it, even those from regions where a V8 was tantamount to building a V16.

      Can you tell if a car is FWD or RWD just from the proportions?

      Yes, in fact.  A FWD MKS will come out looking like a fancy Taurus.  Look at it this way: if Ford had the resources, would they have brought out a FWD flagship for their Lincoln line? 

      The Navigator frame, and really any BOF design, is ill-suited for a luxury car.

      All good points objectively speaking, but since when is a luxury car about that?  It sells on the subjective aspects that make its owner plunk the big bucks for something special.  People who really want a Lincoln are buying the Navigator; do they care about handling?  Ford has to quit targetting the import intenders and sell to people who still want a real Lincoln. 

      Oh sure, we can use the specious arguments about there not being enough of those buyers, but that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy in the absence of any compelling product.  Chrysler built the 300 and got 100,000 bums into seats in no time.  Then they didn’t change a thing for 6 years and everyone pounced on this and pronounced the trend an evolutionary dead end.  The mind boggles as to why people still fall for this line of reasoning.

  • avatar

    I actually like the styling direction Lincoln has taken (I also like Cadillacs).  If I was going to point Lincoln in the right direction, I would say look to something like the Chrysler 300c (but with better quality)
    Lincoln should position their products in the “near” luxury department, and not try to go toe to toe with brands like Audi, BMW, and Lexus.  That’s a tough sale for image conscious buyers, and even the most expensive Lincoln has an aura of cheapness these other brands don’t have.
    If you can make stylish cars that have good quality, but undercut your respective competition, you’ll gather a following, even if it means cutting corners. Getting someone to plunk down $50k for a Lincoln is tough (I know I wouldn’t) but in the $30k range, you’ve got peoples attention.

    • 0 avatar

      I regularly sell $50K Lincolns.  A loaded MKX, MKS, or MKT can easily be over $50K, and Navigators easily crest $60K.  In fact, I sell plenty of $50K F-150s.
      Lincoln has a rich history as a premier luxury brand, and settling for a near luxury presence is a disservice to the mark.  As it stands, the lineup matches up very against Lexus except for the lack of a LS, LF, or -F competitor.  Lincoln isn’t thought of as as on the same level of Mercedes or BMW anymore, but Audi, Infiniti, Lexus, and Cadillac are all very reachable targets.  Yes, it will take time, but Ford has been very vocal to all of the dealers that the death of Mercury comes with a strong focus and push on the Lincoln brand to improve both the products and the image.
      There might be a stigma right now that Lincolns are just for old people or are somehow less of a luxury car than a Lexus or Cadillac, but a lot of people would be, and are, surprised and impressed when they take one for a drive.  The current MKS is hurt on paper due to the FWD/AWD layout, but take one for a spin in AWD EcoBoost trim and you’ll find a very competent full size luxury sedan.  Compare a MKX back to back with a RX, MDX, and SRX, and you’ll see the Lincoln is easily the superior vehicle.  The Lincolns aren’t built cheap, corners aren’t being cut in the new interior, and high tech luxury features are second to none.  Lincoln is going to move up, it’s just not fair to expect it to happen overnight.

    • 0 avatar

      Lincolns are basically rebadged Ford products.  I don’t doubt that they can sell some at that high price level, but they’re on borrowed time, coasting mainly on older buyers who have disposable income but don’t like buying “imports” (even though many Lincolns are now Hecho en Mexico).  Most people in the under 40 demographic would rather go with a different brand.
      I’ve spent time in the newer Lincoln cars, and my honest opinion is they don’t have the performance or build quality of comparably priced imports like Audi or BMW, but they’re still decent cars.  This is coming from someone who was a very loyal Ford enthusiast.  In addition, Lincoln has HORRIBLE resale value.
      I’m the demographic Lincoln needs to win over, and the thought of paying $50k for a rebadged Taurus with a flashy grill makes absolutely no sense, and I don’t see that changing if they continue down the same path.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Can you tell if a car is FWD or RWD just from the proportions? I can’t, but I came of age during the FWD revolution, so it just looks natural to me.

    Nullo – I always like reading your well-measured out comments.  As a connoisseur of autos, and a resource for dozens of car-shopping folks yearly, I wish all sales persons had your insight and perspective.  Sadly, they don’t….

  • avatar

    Lincoln seems to me to be an American Acura.  They offer more expensive, better optioned versions of more mainstream vehicles, just like Acura does with Honda, and, like Acura, they lack any unique architecture or engines.
    I would love to see Lincoln aiming higher, and I especially like the idea of a Lincoln Mustang GT sedan…

  • avatar
    John R

    I don’t think a new look is going to be enough. Currently, there is nothing that Lincoln offers that I want. I’ll take a V8 Genesis sedan over anything that have. Hyundai > Lincoln – That’s sad.

  • avatar

    Bring back real vehicle names.

    Part ways with the Ford underpinnings.  Lincoln should be more different than it is now.

    Advertise the benefits of a Lincoln over a Lexus, Caddy, MB, or BMW.

  • avatar

    Simple – Lincoln need a designer who doesn’t base the front end of every car on a type of whale that eats krill all day every day. If I had $40+k to spend on a car, I’d want one that looked sharp and predatory, not fat and dopey like a Baleen whale.

  • avatar

    The front looks like a kids carved pumpkin…Not too many thinking professionals with >$40K want that. I doubt this infantile artsy-fartsy design brat (aren’t they all?) could do worse.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Why anyone would think that going from this:
    to this:
    was a good idea, is beyond me.
    It’s like an Oldsmobile front clip by Dali.  Nuts…

  • avatar

    I like Lincolns as they sit. They don’t look bad, and theteck/bones of the cars are solid. What Lincon needs is some street cred. I don’t care what anyone says, Lincolns are kitted for people waiting to die or move to Florida/Arizona (same thing).

    Lincoln needs to have a serious (SERIOUS) bulk carving program. The cars need to shed weight.

    Every lincoln should come with AWD, standard.

    Engines should be tweaked to offer significantly better performance than Ford variants (and I mean by like 70-100hp) and those engines should NOT be available in Ford products, except possibly for halo vehicles like a Mustang SVO reincarnation.

    A sport suspension package should be offered on both smaller sedans and it should come a stick shift and a woodgrain trim delete.

    For those who didn’t get the above, Lincoln should be a domestic alternative to Audi/BMW.

  • avatar

    I think Lincoln needs a halo car to be taken seriously, and it needs to be RWD. Something like the Continental concept a while back. I thought they were going to build it, what happened? All they took out of that thing is the grille, and it did not look good pasted on conventional, plain-jane FWD sedans. The rest of the lineup can stay FWD, they’ll be fine serving as bread and butter car, Lexus’ bread and butter vehicles are FWD also. But without that halo car, Lincolns are simply not considered premium enough, and that’s its main problem. Oh, and the names too.

  • avatar

    I actually love the front ends and rear ends of the newer Lincolns. But, as I live in Europe I will probably never see one up close. I really wish they could stick those great ends onto something big and square and bulky and rwd, (like a 300C ?) And the flagship should be (much like I hope Cadillac could try the same) a huge rwd or awd sedan or coupe, that is mentioned in the same sentence as Roll-Royce, Maybach and S-class Merc’s. In Europe brands like BMW and Audi are hardly thought about as luxury cars in the same sense. They are just more expensive ‘normal’ cars that offers more options if you are rich enough. And It’s a disgrace that old classic brands like Cadillac and Lincoln should have to fight against them.

  • avatar

    A luxury brand is more than just the product. It is also the sales and after sales experience.
    Is the current crop of dealerships capable of delivering Lexus-like levels of service? Are the dealers located in the right neighborhoods?
    When looking at the owners service sections of Lincoln’s website I see some problems. You are redirected to a service channel shared with Ford and Mercury, and then offered coupons to print out. Not good.

  • avatar

    For better or worse, the mid-size 5 passenger luxury CUV segment is one of, if not the, most popular luxury segment that exists (thanks to the Lexus RX, which created the segment).  My mother-in-law was recently shopping for such a vehicle.  She looked at the Lexus, the Infiniti, the Cadillac, and asked my opinion on what else she should look at.  I told her the 2011 Lincoln MKX deserves a look, as I thought this would be the best fit for her (note: she is trading up from a Toyota Solara convertible).
    Well she went to take a look at it and loved it.  I think it is a very well done vehicle in that segment, regardless of whether it is just a fancy Edge or not.  The Lexus is a fancy Camry (and is very plain), the SRX is a fancy Equinox (and is pretty garish), the Infiniti is noticeably sportier but that is not what she cares about, and it looks even more strange than the MKX, which to my eyes is the best looking new Lincoln and wears it’s grille well.
    Finally, she was blown away with the SYNC system.  With the hardware in most modern cars nowadays being acceptable to 95% of buyers, it is systems integration, IT, etc. that can make big competitive differences.  Ford is the leader in this field, and it is making a difference.
    She signed on the dotted line for the 2011 MKX last week and takes delivery this weekend.  The vehicle suits her very well.

  • avatar

    The problem with Lincoln as it is today is FORD! With every Ford adding more features and price, where does that leave Lincoln when every Lincoln is based on a Ford? What Lincoln exclusive features justify the price jump? MyLincolnTouch? No. Park Assist? No. Blindspot warning? No. Cooled seats? No. AWD? No. GDI turbos? No.
    Even if you say that people don’t cross shop a Ford and the equivalent Lincoln, people shopping for a Lincoln KNOW in the back of their mind that it is just a tarted up Ford, and devalue it for it.
    Lincoln needs RWD/AWD as a distinguishing feature, even if the price points stay the same. How hard is this??? Infiniti has an entire lineup based on ONE RWD/AWD chassis. Surely Ford can afford to design one new chassis for Lincoln and spin 5 cars/crossovers off it.

  • avatar

    Lincoln needs a reality check. Looking over there current inventory, there is not one single model I would even consider. To the meaningless letter names to the bland looks like a Lexus styling to the cramped front quarters of the MKS with the massive landing pad center console to the small interior and “I can’t barely tell it from a Fusion” MKZ to the overly chrome laden ugly grille Navigator to the Edge with a Lincoln grille to the ugly abomination in the picture to the mostly FWD based sedan architacture to the lack of V8 engines to elimination and stagnation of there one and only large full sized RWD V8 powered sedan with a proper name, Lincoln is proof, if any is needed, that making your once great car division into a Lexus clone model doesn’t cut it in todays uber competitive market. If you can’t bring proper focus to your company with real names, product identities and bold stand out styling that justifies the price then you might as well pack up and go home!

  • avatar

    Lincoln really needs to make a RWD flagship that slavishly copies the good features of the 60’s Suicide door Continental. I am a Lincoln person who happens to be under 30. I love my 69 and would love to have a modern version of it to replace my 95 Fleetwood someday. Imagine my frustration when Ford decides to build not one, but two Mustang revivals. If you don’t like the “67” that the 2005 represents, you can go and get a “69-inspired” 2011 model. J Mays characterized his retro Mustang effort as a chance to extend the Mustang series, using the last good ones as a start.
    Lincoln could do that too. When they put standard doors on the Continental and began using a shared platform with Mercury in 1970, they went down the wrong path. Just get back on track and start designing slabsided, suicide-door Lincolns as if 1970 never happened.
    The 2000 Mark IX and 2001 Continental concept followed this idea and were a revelation from Lincoln designer Gerry McGovern. Unfortunately, he was replaced by Peter Horbury, who obviously lacks any knowledge of the Lincoln brand. That’s why we have guppy-mouthed Lexus clones. So yes, changing designers can have major consequences. It’s not everything, as I wouldn’t buy it if it had a transversely mounted V6 with FWD, but good design counts for a lot.

  • avatar

    How are these cars distinctive?  Each one looks exactly like its Ford counterpart except that it has an uglier grille.  The Ford grilles are ugly too, Mercury had the best looking front ends.  They need to deviate the overall sheet metal more, and preferably go beyond that and make the platforms RWD on some models.  I don’t think they need to go to the German level, but if they can match Lexus and offer a nice FWD rebadge job (like an ES350) along with a sporting RWD sedan (GS and IS), that would be a huge step.  The Taurus cannot be the platform for the sporty RWD car, or not the only one, as it is too big.  I would suggest a smaller 3 series/C class competitor with no Ford counterpart and two engine options.  That would put Lincoln on the map with younger buyers.  I can even see the ad featuring the classic tune “Hot Rod Lincoln”. Then those younger buyers may consider trading up to something bigger within the brand.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    By restyling their vehicles, Lincoln will give up the niche they’re competing directly with Acura for — the buck-tooth, eye-watering, can’t-be-unseen, ugly premium segment.

  • avatar

    That car in the pic…the MK-Flex (lets call ’em what they really are.  It’s easier than remembering the right suffix), is the most hideous vehicle since the Aztek.

    The grille is pure baleen whale, and the rest of the proportions are smooth, bulbous, and whale-like as well.  Then it has the hips that look like a fat woman who stuffed her fat ass into 3-sizes too-small tights.  But hey- at least it lets them put uselss, ill-proportioned rear side windows on the thing.  It also has FWD proportions that’ll just never hold a candle to an ML, X5, or even a Q7 (which manages to be well proportioned due to a longitudnal engine and some transmission cleverness)
    It really just makes me want to gag.  I actually kind of like the Flex though.  It has clean, simple styling and makes no bones about being a roomy, practical, A to B transportation module.
    The names…they shouldn’t all start with the same two letters.  Divide by MK and just leaveing a one letter name would be an improvement.  Real names would be nice for a change, but the old names like Contenintal and Town Car sound Geriatric.  In fact, so does “Lincoln” itslef, as do/did Buick, Oldsmobile, and Buick.  “Lincoln” rings of a man who died 150 years ago and Nebraska.  Acura, Infiniti, Lexus, and Audi  just sound modern…clean…sharp…classy.  BMW and Merceds are kind of a mouthful and very old names, but they still have a nice ring because of their great track record.

  • avatar

    Ford has done a masterful job completely destroying this brand by removing it’s classic American style, it’s classic names it was known for and anything that made it unique from Ford or other luxury cars.  Lincoln doesn’t even really compete with Buick and Chrysler anymore let alone Cadillac.  Hyundai builds nicer comfy cars in the Azera and Genesis.

    They can start by getting rid of the horrid grilles. Then they can take a look back at the 50s and 60s to see what a real Lincoln should look like. While their at it they can rename everything back to the names Lincoln is known for like Continental, Mark VIII, Town Car, etc. 

    Kind of like what Ford did back in the early 00s with all their retro-modern and proper Lincoln concepts.  Then Ford can look under the sofa cushions for money to start making production Lincolns look like that.

    Then they can give Lincoln a bespoke platform or two, perhaps based on the Australian Ford Falcon which itself is the basis for luxury variants like the G6E which Alan Mullaly was reportedly extremely impressed with.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      On the plus side, Max has a pretty “clean sheet” to work with – it’s not like he could screw things up any worse than they’ve already been screwed.

      Name-wise, I wouldn’t be adverse to Lincoln letter-naming the Town Car, either “LTC” for Luxury TaxiCab, or “TCP” to match the livery designation as it’s commonly used.

      Getting serious, what Lincoln needs right now is a “proper” RWD Continental that seats 5 in utmost comfort. A good Continental is the car that will get people seeing what Lincoln should be.

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