I ask this question because apparently the recently spied 2017 MKZ below is said to have Continental-like styling cues (scroll down for full details). Considering Lincoln wants to keep a somewhat consistent flow of their design language throughout the line-up, what are the chances we'll see the MKC go through this very same treatment?
2017 Lincoln MKZ Spy Photos ? News ? Car and DriverWhat It Is: A Lincoln MKZ sedan, spied wearing telling camouflage around its front and rear ends. While everything between the MKZ’s wheels looks unchanged, the swirly cover-up applied to the front fascia, headlights, and hood hides a series of styling tweaks that aim to bring Lincoln’s mid-size luxury sedan in line with the newly debuted Continental flagship.
Why It Matters: The 2017 Continental, which was displayed as a concept at this year’s New York auto show, gave form not only to Lincoln’s swagger, but also its new design language. (Here are recent spy photos of the production Continental.) It may be slightly anodyne, but the new look definitively ditches the split-wing grille design currently applied to every other model in Lincoln’s lineup, and it appears that the company is going to transition many of its cars’ faces to match the Conti’s—and soon. The MKZ’s midcycle refresh is as good a time as any to slap on the new mug, and you should expect to see similar facelifts of additional models in the coming years.
Platform: This being a midcycle refresh, the MKZ’s front-drive-based CD4 underpinnings (shared with the Ford Fusion) will carry over. As for the stylistic changes, we can see a large opening in the camouflage to feed air to a Continental-style rectangular grille; even though there’s a spear running down the center, we’re confident that it's merely part of the cover-up.
Other Continental-like styling cues include the headlights, which aren’t as sweeping and tapered as they are on today’s MKZ. There’s a new LED element tracing the bottom of the headlamps, and the lower fascia seems less busy. Even though this prototype’s rear end is wrapped in swirly paper, the taillights are curiously exposed—and unchanged. A closer inspection reveals new, reshaped exhaust pipes, but otherwise the tail looks the same. Lincoln may not need to change much, however; the MKZ’s full-width taillights are perhaps its most distinctive feature, and the look happens to match the treatment on the Continental. This 2017 MKZ test mule appears to have a new wheel design, although it likely won’t be offered to customers in this cool black-painted finish, and the unseen interior will probably revert from frustrating capacitive-touch controls to actual physical buttons—because logic—and adopt a version of Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment with over-the-air updating capability.
Powertrain: Lincoln could get a little tricky under the 2017 MKZ’s hood. Today, the sedan offers a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost and a four-cylinder-based hybrid setup—both shared with the Ford Fusion—as well as a 3.7-liter V-6 that the Ford doesn’t get. To further differentiate the MKZ, Lincoln could transition the model to a turbo-only gas powertrain lineup by swapping the optional V-6 for the 285-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged four deployed in the new MKC crossover. The hybrid would stay, of course, but the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine promises better fuel economy than the six—at least on the fantasy planet where EPA ratings are gospel—and produces nearly as much power, if not more. (The 2.3-liter pumps out 310 ponies in the 2015 Ford Mustang and even more than that in the 2016 Ford Focus RS.) With Ford’s new nine- and ten-speed transmissions coming online in the next year or two, look for those to make their way into the MKZ, too.
Competition: Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Lexus ES350, Mercedes-Benz C-class.
Estimated Arrival and Price: It’s doubtful that the 2017 MKZ will appear before the new Continental, which is slated to arrive next year. A debut at the 2016 Detroit auto show in January, followed by an on-sale date later in the following months, seems likely. Base pricing should stay about the same as today’s $36,085 opening ask.