Lincoln's Flex: MKT Touring Vehicle Concept hints at upcoming crossover
January 15, 2008
With Lincoln expected to get a version of the 2009 Ford Flex crossover, we can't help but think the Lincoln MKT concept is a preview of the car caught undergoing preliminary testing a couple weeks ago. Significantly, the MKT concept makes use of Ford's anticipated EcoBoost engine technology (formerly dubbed "Twin Force") in the form of a 3.5-liter V-6 which uses direct injection and turbocharging to produce the power of a V-8 with the fuel efficiency of a V-6.
The AWD concept's flex-fuel capable 3.5-liter V-6 makes 415 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque according to Ford, which is sent through a six-speed select-shift transmission. The MKT's EcoBoost tech will first be seen on a production vehicle with the Lincoln MKS sedan, which will produce about 340 horsepower and run on regular gas.
In the spirit of responsible, environmentally-friendly luxury, the MKT uses Valox iQ and Xenoy iQ -- two oddly named recycled plastic materials -- in body panels, energy absorbers, wire bundles, and glazing. Ford says the material helps the vehicle resist heat and helps quell noise and vibration as well. The "green" theme continues inside with a banana silk rug and chromium-free leather seats. Four of those seats have been designed to resemble first-class airplane seats, with second-row heated and cooled thigh supports and footrests that allow lucky passengers to fully recline. The center console uses lighting technology that, Ford says, allowed designers to "project onto a contoured surface in 3-D." The instrument cluster uses carefully-positioned LEDs and was supposedly inspired by Swarovski crystals.
The MKT is attractive for a crossover and we hope Lincoln's production model can make as dramatic a transformation from the Ford Flex as the Buick Enclave has from its GMC and Saturn siblings. Lincoln's double-wing grille frames the Lincoln insignia and might be highlighted better with a darker color than the Liquid Bronze Metallic. The body side chamfer is an especially nice touch, as are the 21-inch, 14-spoke wheels. In the rear, Lincoln takes the MKX's lead with LED taillamps uninterrupted from one side to the other.
Drop the wheel size to about 19-inches, imagine more practical side mirrors, and stick some door handles on the sides and you may have a good idea of what Lincoln's Enclave-challenging production crossover will look like. As the Lincoln MKT has already been blessed with EcoBoost engine technology and some solid styling elements, we hope Ford differentiates the MKT from the Flex enough to make a case that the premium crossover is truly worth considering.