What an interesting video Lincoln has posted… announcing that some big news will be released on December 3rd.
Might it be a new model… but what? Rumors have been flying for weeks and weeks… something we just wrote about yesterday. Might it be yet another variant of the Volvo-derived chassis (aka the grotesquely overweight MKS and MKT), the Fusion chassis (as in the new MKZ – interesting but not for a driving enthusiast), the new Focus chassis (can Lincoln sell a C-sized car?), or something else entirely?
Or might it simply be a publicity re-launch of Lincoln as a brand? And CBS news today published this article… which looks like the kind of advanced publicity a company would arrange before making a big announcement.
Analyzing the following video, we find something intriguing: there is a 4-door body shell behind the drummer. This doesn’t appear to be an existing Lincoln…?
And even more intriguingly, there is also a Mustang shell.
And what’s with the welding? Could they be carving up a Mustang to make it into a new Lincoln? Could such a rear wheel drive Lincoln based on the upcoming 2015 Mustang? That’s been one rumor that has been going around… it’s almost too good to be true. It would use the 2015 Mustang IRS (about which Ford has been particularly happy to have pictures leaked to the public). And is Lincoln finally ready to understand that they made a huge mistake cancelling the Lincoln LS?
Whatever it is, it has to compete with the phenomenal new Cadillac ATS, or the all-new CTS coming next year. Those cars have been successes beyond anything Lincoln has been able to accomplish in many years.
Watch the video, and keep an eye on this site on Monday the 3rd. Whatever it is, for driving enthusiasts or not, we’ll cover it.
While Lincoln hasn’t offered anything of interest to driving enthusiasts since the late and dearly missed Lincoln LS (whose advanced chassis was originally slated to be used for a truly world-class Mustang as early as 2001), the design process will always be of interest to car enthusiasts.
Two press releases from Lincoln highlight the creation of a dedicated design studio, and the design process itself. Dedicated so that Lincoln designers can create a design language specific to and appropriate for Lincoln, rather than the past practice of simply rebadging a Ford and loading it with options. That practice clearly didn’t work for buyers. The company also wasn’t ready to shoulder the costs associated with it, and the existing Lincoln sales people didn’t know how to sell anything that wasn’t a “fancy Ford”. The Lincoln LS was indeed the first attempt at creating a unique Lincoln, not shared with Ford, and failed because of both the financials and the failure of the sales organization. Both are being addressed now, and the new Lincoln Design Center is an important step in the process.
The press photo below shows clay and fiberglass buck of the new MKZ, along a pre-production prototype. Look closely and you’ll see an unannounced SUV under wrap (Escape-sized?), along with what appears to be a small C-sized fiberglass buck. Interesting!
Two Lincoln Press Releases follow:
Lincoln Design Center Opening Marks New Milestone in Brand’s Reinvention
- Lincoln celebrates Design Center opening today; new studio houses approximately 150 designers, craftspeople and engineers dedicated solely to Lincoln production and concept vehicles
- All disciplines – creative and technical – work collaboratively in one space; first new dedicated Design Center for Lincoln since the 1970s
- All-new Lincoln MKZ midsize sedan, arriving later this year, first vehicle emerging from the new studio
DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 18, 2012 – Lincoln celebrates another element of its reinvention journey today with the formal opening of the new Lincoln Design Studio in Dearborn, Mich., the brand’s first new fully dedicated design center in four decades.
This major facility, located on the campus of Ford Motor Company’s Product Development Center, is home to a skilled, co-located global team of designers, sculptors, math sculptors and modelers representing a dozen nationalities – and with experience in just as many design centers around the world.
This team is part of a dedicated Lincoln Product Development organization, creating four all-new Lincoln vehicles by 2015 to ensure the reinvented brand has a presence in the highest growth segments of the premium market.
“We have spent considerable time to develop strong integrated design, engineering and product programs into a common Product Development vision for Lincoln,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, speaking at the opening program. “Lincoln’s advantage is we can build on the company’s tremendous global product development resources and ensure we continually innovate to develop the best technology and apply it to support the unique Lincoln difference.”
Nair pointed out two significant examples of this approach, highlighting the all-new Lincoln MKZ’s push-button shift and panoramic glass roof.
Creating a facility dedicated to Lincoln is an essential step in the reinvention of the brand.
“During the great recession, the U.S. luxury market had changed. Now, there is opportunity for a fresh, new alternative in the premium market,” said Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. “Lincoln’s renaissance is built on our new product lineup and is a personalized experience with designs that deliver on our promise of a personalized motor car: beautiful, elegant, and most of all, surprising.”
The new design studio is located in the nerve center of Lincoln vehicle development, allowing engineers and designers to be co-located. Approximately 150 design team members who work exclusively for Lincoln are also in the center.
Max Wolff, Lincoln’s Director of Design, is responsible not only for the design of all Lincoln vehicles but also the environment in which they will be created.
The new home is an environment where designers and engineers truly collaborate. The loft-like studio replaces walls with glass. Cubicles are banished in favor of open workspaces where designers sit across from one another. The entire space is configured to allow Product Development team members to drop in, have ad-hoc discussions and make impromptu innovative brainstorm sessions the order of the day and not the exception.
“We also made it a priority to fit interior and exterior design teams into one space because often they are two separate work streams and therefore, two different sensibilities,” Wolff said. “Now everyone collaborates on one harmonious vehicle.”
The first vehicle to emerge from the new studio, the 2013 MKZ, goes on sale late this year.
From Idea to Sketch to Clay to Metal: How a Vehicle Comes to Life in the Lincoln Studio
Before a customer ever knows about a new Lincoln, a passionate team of engineers ensures that a new model meets the design intent and stacks up favorably against benchmarked competitors.
To deliver the optimum blend of sporty performance and refined ride – an attribute the new Lincoln customer demands – the new MKZ uses Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) suspension. There are more than 1,200 individual settings that go into tuning the Lincoln CCD system. More than 4,000 man hours went into perfecting CCD to deliver the Lincoln ride DNA.
Very interesting article in the Detroit News today: http://detnews.com/article/20110606/AUTO01/106060342/1148/GM-refocusing-product-line. If you are a GM fan, read it closely as well as the follow-on article (with many more details): http://detnews.com/article/20110606/AUTO01/106060339/1148/GM-refocusing-product-line/Akerson’s-battle-plan-for-GM.
Good reading, but it’s Akerson’s remark about Lincoln that caught our eye: “They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It’s over“.
How true it is, and how sad it is. Lincoln has a line of dressed-up Fords, offering only a slightly better cut of leather and wood to differentiate them. We’ve see the same exact same badge engineering from Lincoln for too many years. Only the departed Lincoln LS was exclusive to Lincoln (although its DEW-98 platform shared with the Thunderbird and Jaguar). The platform engineering was world-class, but the sales team failed dearly. This should have been done right, although arguably the Ford of that time didn’t know how.
You have only to look at the enormous success of the Cadillac CTS for the justification of a rear wheel drive Lincoln. Or the undoubtedly similar success of the upcoming ATS, which will also supply a small and light basis for the next Camaro.
Or further east to Nissan, where the “FM” platform has spawned the entire Infiniti line of cars, as well as the 370Z. There may not be a more successful platform in the entire world. Costs are shared across many models, paying the engineering bill as well as the products costs of extensive aluminum components.
It’s exactly what Lincoln could have had. The DEW-98 was intended to underpin the Mustang, as well as a larger sedan (Continental?). And plans were in the works for a smaller version to build a BMW 3-sized competitor. A planned update to the platform could have taken the platform to the next step by reducing it’s already-reasonable weight and making provision for different lengths and widths. Exactly the same benefits that the ATS, CTS, and FM realize.
And instead Lincoln has nothing of note, other than a dated, heavy and slightly worked-over Volvo chassis.
We’ve seen the spy pics for months, now the production vehicel has been announced. This isn’t a vehicle for a Driving Enthusiast of any sort… and it isn’t meant to be unless your definition of Driving Enthusiast is a nice ride in a very carefully conditioned environment.
What’s important here is that this is yet another user of the new Ti-VCT 3.7 liter DOHC V-6, previously shown in the Mustang. And what’s notable is that despite the transverse mounting, the engine stil makes the full 305 HP and 280 ft-lb torque. This helps pay the bill for the use of the engine in the Mustang. This same engine has been spotted in spy pictures of the upcoming all-new Explorer as well (putting to rest another site’s claims that the Explorer wil be “all EcoBoost”).
What interesting is the technical discussion of Atkinson Cycle, the inclusion of fuel shutoff during deceleration, and some other fuel saving strategies. as Mazen Hammoud says, every component is optimized, as well as the operaiton of those components together.
Ford Press Release follows:
2011 LINCOLN MKX EMPLOYS ARRAY OF TECHNOLOGIES, INCREASING HORSEPOWER, MAINTAINING FUEL ECONOMY
- The 2011 Lincoln MKX boasts best-in-class horsepower and torque versus all V-6 competitors with unsurpassed fuel economy
- The new 3.7-liter Duratec® V-6 engine employs several fuel-efficient strategies that also improve performance, including Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT), aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff and Smart Charging
- Engineers applied lessons learned from Ford hybrid vehicles to the powertrain development of the 2011 Lincoln MKX
Its new 3.7-liter Duratec V-6 employs advanced technology and clever control strategies to increase horsepower and torque to best-in-class levels while achieving unsurpassed fuel economy.
“Fuel economy continues to be at the top of customers’ minds,” said Greg Johnson, Lincoln powertrain manager. “But customers refuse to compromise on power. With the 2011 Lincoln MKX, they won’t have to. We’re delivering increased power and torque with unsurpassed fuel economy.”
2011 Lincoln MKX customers will enjoy a luxury crossover that delivers best-in-class power and torque versus all V-6 competitors with unsurpassed highway fuel economy of 25 mpg – all on regular fuel. Horsepower has been increased to 305 – a 15 percent increase compared with the outgoing product – while torque is up to 280 ft.-lb., marking a 12 percent improvement.
The 3.7-liter V-6 is mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmission, which gives customers the option of a fun-to-shift manual experience.
In SelectShift mode, the transmission doesn’t second-guess the driver, offering total control over gear selection and performance feel. Upshifts, for instance, are not commanded at redline, and downshifts are allowed at the lowest gear possible as defined by the engine speed.
“When the system is in manual mode, engine speed matching provides faster and smoother downshifts, and the customer gets the gear they request within the limits of the rev limiter,” said Johnson.
When a lower gear is selected while descending a long downhill grade, the 2011 Lincoln MKX in SelectShift mode will hold that gear until the driver manually upshifts or returns to the fully automatic setting. To ensure safe shifting, the transmission will downshift to the lowest acceptable gear, based on a calculated maximum speed. That means if a vehicle were traveling at highway speeds, the driver could not downshift to first gear in SelectShift mode.
Improvements to engine hardware as well as the powertrain control strategies account for the gains in power and fuel economy. Here’s a closer look at how the 2011 Lincoln MKX delivers increased power without compromising fuel economy:
Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT)
What it is: Ti-VCT technology creates precise, variable timing control of both the intake and exhaust camshafts, which control the valve opening and closing events. Each of the four camshafts is controlled independently. Ti-VCT uses the intake camshaft phasing to advance the intake valve opening and the exhaust camshaft phasing to retard the exhaust valve closing. Ford’s unique strategy involves using a mild Atkinson cycle during part-throttle operation for fuel economy improvement.
The Atkinson cycle: The Atkinson cycle is similar to the familiar four-stroke cycle – intake, compression, combustion and exhaust – except the intake valve closes well after the piston begins moving upward to compress the air-fuel mixture.
There are two key benefits of the Atkinson cycle. First, it reduces the “pumping losses” associated with all gasoline engines. Additionally, because a fraction of the air-fuel mixture is released from the cylinder back into the induction system without being burned, the effective displacement of the engine is reduced. The power stroke, or the distance that burning fuel pushes on the piston, is longer than the effective intake stroke. This helps extract more energy from each drop of fuel. The Atkinson cycle is employed in Ford’s hybrid lineup, contributing to the unsurpassed fuel economy of both the Fusion and Escape Hybrids.
How it helps: The ability to vary the overlap between the intake and exhaust valves helps eliminate compromises in the two processes. The result is greater efficiency, which leads to better fuel economy – approximately 3 to 4 percent improvement from this strategy alone compared to non-VCT engines. Another benefit of Ti-VCT technology is a broadened torque curve. Because the Ti-VCT strategy allows the intake valve to be advanced, instant power is delivered when the customer demands it. Approximately a 10 percent power improvement is enabled by this strategy compared with non-VCT engines.
Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off; torque-based deceleration control
What it is: A control strategy that shuts off the engine when the customer doesn’t command engine torque, which helps save fuel. A typical maneuver when this comes into play is during deceleration at freeway speeds when in fifth or sixth gear. The fuel flow seamlessly resumes when the vehicle reaches a low speed or when the driver accelerates again. All other powertrain, braking and electrical systems continue to function normally while the fuel delivery is stopped.
How it helps: The system uses the torque delivered to the transmission to keep the engine running at a low, more efficient point whenever possible, using the momentum generated rather than more fuel to keep the vehicle moving.
Battery management: “Smart Charging”
What it is: A system that allows the battery to be charged or discharged at optimal opportunities instead of allowing the alternator to continuously charge the battery independent of customer use, which wastes energy.
Smart Charging increases the alternator output when the vehicle brakes or decelerates, converting the vehicle’s kinetic (motion) energy into electric energy without having to use additional fuel.
How it helps: The “free” electric current is used to recharge the battery so that it can be used by the electrical systems later. This could be when the engine is switched off during a stop or when the generator is operating in a less efficient mode. The battery’s advanced management system continually monitors its status and communicates with Ford’s Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off system so the regenerative charging feature can charge the battery in the optimal way. The decel system knows how much battery charge is available so that it can leave the engine running if the battery does not have a sufficient level of charge.
Longer battery life, reliable starts: Smart Charging improves the life of the battery because it keeps the battery at a more consistent level of charge, which in turn aids in reliable starting. The one-touch starting in the 2011 Lincoln MKX enables starts of around seven-tenths of a second with precise fuel delivery for maximum fuel economy and minimal emissions.
Engine hardware improvements
What was added or changed: Piston-cooling jets, polished valvetrain buckets, improved intake manifold and cylinder head port flow.
How they help: The piston-cooling jets spray oil on the underside of the pistons and enable faster oil warm-up and a higher compression ratio; the polished valvetrain buckets reduce friction, which in turn aids fuel economy and also improves durability (wear) of the cam and bucket tappet; the improved intake manifold and cylinder head optimizes engine “breathing,” contributing to overall system efficiency.
“The key to the performance gains and fuel economy with the 2011 Lincoln MKX is that we don’t look at power and fuel economy as being mutually exclusive,” said Mazen Hammoud, Lincoln powertrain calibrations manager. “Instead, we focus on optimizing every component, every system and every control in the powertrain for greater efficiency overall, which enables increased power, better performance and response and helps to maintain the fuel economy found in smaller-displacement engines.”
# # #
Excellent video on the Lincoln MKR concept.
After seeing this, I understand the role that classic Lincoln heritage played in the design of the MKR.
What I don’t understand is whether or not this could be built: specifically, what platform would be used? With the upcoming Falcon platform, Ford has a much more sophisticated platform than the overweight and crude Mustang platform. Which was what was used here – complete with parts it doesn’t offer natively: an IRS and a SLA front suspension.
We could say “we told you so” when they removed those parts as the Lincoln LS chassis was downgraded for the Mustang.
The Lincoln MKR concept will be introduced next month at the 2007 Detroit (NAIAS) show. We’ve known of the MKR for some time, but without any details. Now, thanks to a copy of the next issue of Car & Driver being delivered a week early and the recipient subsequently posting of the (copyrighted) images to the web, we have some details to go along with the name.
The MKR is a 4-door concept vehicle, with hidden rear doors similar to those of an RX-8 (or F-150!). It has the appearance of a 2-door, and it also has a grill that is enormous even for a Lincoln. It
I’ve talked in the past about the mess that is Lincoln: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/categories/ford/2006/01/24.html
You may have noticed that Lincoln is now selling the MKS on Amazon.com. Well, not selling – that would be illegal given anti-competitive laws dealerships had passed in states around the country many years ago. Instead Lincoln is seeking potential customers thru Amazon, who will pass potential buyer information to the dealership closest to your zipcode.
The Detroit News had a few things to say about this: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061117/AUTO01/611170333/1148
And I provided my own opinion via Amazon itself: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000K3EZRG/?tag=jefffisheshom-20
The Car Connection reports that the V-8 engine which was to have been built for the upcoming Lincoln MKS sedan is dead, a victim of “The Way Forward” – Bill Ford’s failed rescue plan.
Can the MKS even survive without a V-8? It’s a very big car, over 200 inches in length. And loaded down with luxury accessories.
But more importantly the competition already has a V-8 (G35, IS350, GS430), or is going there (IS500, ~2010 Acura RL). This puts Lincoln back a notch before they even get to market. Furthermore, this leaves only the 3.5 DOHC V-6 engine – at 265 horses it’s adaquate.
Are there alternatives available?
- Since the production announcement, Ford has been talking up the fact that this engine was engineered for Direct Injection… perhaps that and premium-fuel tuning might get it to 300 horses. Where it can be competitive with output (refinement is an unknown) against Nissan (G35: well over 300 horses) and Infiniti (IS350: 306 horses).
- There is also turbocharged version of this engine in the works. Yes, Ford has talked about it several times in connection with the 3.5 liter engine – but not in connection with any particular car. No technical details have been announced or discussed.
And then there is the Five Hundred… which due to the screw-ups in Ford’s product planning didn’t get the 3.5 when it was introduced, leading to criticism because of the inadaquate (for this size of a vehicle) 3 liter V-6. And the 3.5 still hasn’t been announced for the Five Hundred.
Interesting to see that this engine was to have been built in Ohio. It was designed by Yamaha and is currently offered in Volvos – where it is built in Japan by Yamaha. Would the Lincoln version have been a duplicate, or dumbed down somehow?
In an article titled “Cadillac vs. Lincoln: Reversal of fortune?”, CNN claims that Lincoln may be headed for a reversal of fortune (after selling only half the number of vehicles as Cadillac last year). But their supporting arguments are weak, in fact they say that Lincoln is “bereft of its own original ideas.”
I agree that they are short of original ideas… very short. In fact the entire product line is becoming re-badged and re-grilled Fords, Volvos, and Mazdas.
And, speaking of grills, what’s with the 2007 Navigator? Could it possibly be any more ugly? What were they thinking?
Gerry McGovern to head Land Rover Advanced Design
Apr 29, 2004 – Gerry McGovern has been named Director, Advanced Design for Land Rover, and will be working alongside Geoff Upex, who continues as Design Director for Land Rover.
“Gerry is uniquely suited to this role,” said J Mays, Ford Motor Company
Gerry McGovern (right), with designers Adriana Monk and Marek Reichmann at the launch of the Lincoln Navicross concept at the 2003 North American International Auto Show.