Lincoln has issued the following press release:
The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr teaser unveiled at the 2004 New York International Auto Show illustrates how Lincoln can bring its hallmarks of elegant design and comfort to a new generation of customers. The midsize, five-passenger Lincoln Zephyr is a premium sedan with features that assure comfort and refinement worthy of a Lincoln. Just as significantly, it also introduces the design elegance and refinement that have made Lincoln Navigator and Aviator such desirable nameplates.
This teaser vehicle unveiled in New York sets the stage - and sends a strong signal - for the production version of Lincoln's next sedan. The concept builds on themes explored in the Lincoln Mark LT and Lincoln Aviator concepts that were unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Production Version is on the Way
The Lincoln Zephyr fits perfectly with the brand's strategy of providing additional entry points to draw new customers into the Lincoln showroom.
Production of the Lincoln Zephyr will begin in 2005 and will go on sale later that year as a 2006 model. It will complement the existing Lincoln lineup and provide a new entry in one of the "sweet spots" of the luxury market - the growing midsize premium segment.
Shape of Things to Come
The Lincoln Zephyr's confident stance is wide and planted, suggesting a bold and aggressive attitude. It is instantly recognizable as a member of the Lincoln family - note the distinctive chrome waterfall grille and marquee placement of the Lincoln star emblems front and rear.
Design statements such as the bold horizontal lines of the taillamps and grille reinforce its athleticism. Instead, the Lincoln Zephyr establishes its sport sedan persona with geometric elements such as a steeply raked windshield, strong horizontal themes and wide, large-diameter, spoked alloy wheels.
The wheels are 19 inches in diameter and feature a symmetrical 12-spoke layout that complements the Lincoln star located on the flush center caps. The spoke pattern puts the Lincoln logo in the "crosshairs," like a telescopic sight, drawing the eye toward the wheel center.
The car's color - a warm golden silver called Cashmere - was chosen to work in harmony with the dramatic cabin design.
Luminous and Luxurious
The side profile is complemented by chrome trim at the belt line, door handles and mirror caps, and the soft glow of satin aluminum wheels. The light body color also provides a strong contrast to the bold, dark window graphics.
The rear window sweeps well up into the roof, but due to its steep angle, appears wide and low from the rear, reinforcing the strong horizontal lines of the taillamps, which extend well into the trunk lid.
The rear bumper surface is nearly flush, contributing to the clean, uncluttered lines. Completing the effect is a lower tray framed by a thin line of bright metal trim milled from solid aluminum. Twin chrome tailpipes set wide apart extend through the lower fascia.
The front bumper fascia is likewise nearly flush, surmounting a lower fascia that repeats the rear theme with a wide, horizontal air intake and wide-set, twin round running lamps with chrome trim rings.
Lavish Interior Design and Package
Design themes explored in a series of recent Lincoln concepts come into sharp focus in the interior of the new Lincoln Zephyr. Expect to see most of these elements again when the production car is unveiled.
The key interior features of the Lincoln Zephyr are a commanding driving environment and the sophisticated interplay between surface textures, such as satin aluminum, chrome, leather and wood.
The center console flows upward into a symmetrical, full-width instrument panel. The center stack features a prominent information center that serves as the controller for the exclusive THX™-certified ultra premium audio system as well as a navigational screen. All buttons and knobs are chromed, as are the one-touch louvered air vents, interior door handles and the control stalks on either side of the steering wheel.
One show-stopping feature that was seen on the Lincoln Mark LT - a corrugated aluminum waterfall that flows downward into the center stack from the top of the instrument panel - is personalized to the Lincoln Zephyr with wider, more tactile raised surfaces.
The gauges were inspired by stylish wristwatches, with rounded rectangular housings, light faces and chrome hubs and pointers. The tachometer is given equal prominence with the speedometer in the symmetric array. The effect is enhanced by white LED lighting at night.
The steering wheel is distinctively Lincoln, with four parallel horizontal spokes. Redundant audio controls and speed controls reside in satin metal inserts that serve as the inner face of the spokes. The steering wheel is trimmed in leather, with a prominent Lincoln star at its center.
The seats are faced in new, softer premium leather, with shapes inspired by the classic Eames lounge chairs.
The rear-seat passengers are just as cosseted as those up front - a testament to the efficient packaging in this midsize Lincoln.
The rear seat features a generous fold-down arm rest with contrasting surfaces. As in the front, door panels use accents of satin aluminum, as well as technical metallic speaker cover fabric.
The Lincoln Zephyr is designed to provide confident and effortless driving enjoyment. It builds on Ford Motor Company's CD3 midsize-architecture, customized for Lincoln ride comfort and driving dynamics.
The Lincoln Zephyr features a specially tuned and more powerful version of the Duratec 30 3.0-liter V-6 engine with intake variable cam timing (VCT), mated to a premium six-speed front-wheel-drive transmission and, following the launch, available all-wheel drive.
The new six-speed transmission amplifies engine torque to provide better acceleration than comparable vehicles with four- or five-speed transmissions. Electronic throttle control and the electronically controlled transmission calibration assure smooth and seamless shifts, for quiet performance worthy of the Lincoln brand.
This is the first new front-wheel-drive Lincoln since the Continental, which featured front drive from 1988-2002, and is the lightest Lincoln - a key enabler in creating a responsive driving experience.
The Lincoln Zephyr team was able to develop, tune and refine a complete vehicle package in about 30 months - a very short time for a new vehicle program, made possible by the ability to tap into assets throughout the Ford Motor Company. Much of the initial work, including analysis of potential interior noise sources, benefited from the use of sophisticated computer-aided-engineering tools.
Dampers, spring rates and bushings in the fully independent suspension have been specially selected and tuned for Lincoln driving characteristics, with an emphasis on comfort without sacrificing nimble response. The power steering system also has been uniquely tuned to complement the suspension and tires, which have unique internal construction for comfort and quiet performance. The large, four-wheel disc brakes provide confident stopping performance.
For occupant safety, the Lincoln Zephyr features a robust steel "safety cage" construction, with engineered crush zones to absorb impact energy. Ford Motor Company's industry-leading Personal Safety System provides a combination of active and passive safety features, such as front and side air bags, side air curtains, occupant classification sensing, three-point safety belts with front-seat pretensioners and retractors, tire pressure sensing, anti-lock braking and traction control.
A production version of the Lincoln Zephyr will be offered for sale in the United States, Canada, Mexico and other markets in late 2005 as a 2006 model.