What do you think? Would you take something like a Lincoln Zephyr over an SUV?
With the Continental’s demise, Lincoln officially backed out of the sedan game — until now. Meet the new Lincoln Zephyr, a nameplate dating back to the 1930s — and one that last saw use in 2006 as the first-generation MKZ. It’s now coming back by way of the Guangzhou Auto Show, which ought to clue you in on which market this car’s aimed toward.
If you were hoping for the company to launch an American sedan revival here in the United States, tough luck, as this model’s been solely developed for the Chinese market, and it will be manufactured there as well.
Still, it’s a sleek design not unlike what the design study showed earlier this year. It’s also worth stepping outside the crossover-crazed American market to see where the world at-large is moving, as well. This Lincoln Zephyr, according to the automaker, aims squarely at China’s Generation Z buyers. “[The Zephyr] is specifically designed for the young, Chinese customer and continues our tradition of reimagining design and technology for the future,” says company president Joy Falotico.
Take a look inside
That reimagining largely translates through the interior, in which Lincoln fit a 27-inch “coast-to-coast” touchscreen, with a 12.3-inch digital cluster in front of the driver. They can also customize not just what appears on the interface, but actually schedule The car also gets four “Relaxing Modes” with 128-color ambient lighting and “Welcome Mat” puddle lights — Lincoln’s largest-ever implementation of the feature. The Zephyr’s “phase-4” Sync+ system is also a China-exclusive (at least for now), and the car gets Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 2.0 and ActiveGlide, achieving what Lincoln says is Level 2+ semi-autonomous capability.
In terms of overall size, the Zephyr rides on a 114.2-inch wheelbase, two inches longer than the old MKZ. In service to the Chinese car buyers that will exclusively see this car, the design places heavy focus on rear seat legroom.
While Lincoln did tease a whole range of electric models this summer, that’s not what the Lincoln Zephyr is bringing to the market. Instead, it’s getting a standard 2.0-liter gasoline powertrain — most likely another extension of the departed MKZ — mated to an 8-speed automatic. Lincoln did not provide too many specifics beyond that simple outline, so we don’t know what sort of power it manages, nor whether it will eventually see some electrification.
Availability (in China)
Chinese customers will see this car in the first quarter of 2022. Indeed, it may not be coming to the U.S. at all, but we may see some of the technology — particularly the ultrawide touchscreen and Lincoln’s latest Sync+ system — make its way to the crossover lineup. I’d put my money on that tech making its North American premiere in the Navigator first (it’s due for a more comprehensive update beyond its recent freshening up), but we’ll have to wait on see. The Navigator does get ActiveGlide for the new model year.
More on that below: