2013 Lincoln MKZ's New Split Grille won't be Used as a Template for Future Models, Says J Mays


The 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan that received its world premiere at the New York Auto Show earlier this month, debuted a new and more contemporary design language for the Ford Group's luxury brand.

Among other key styling elements that stand out on the mid-size model is the sleeker interpretation of Lincoln's split grille that replaces the baleen-whale vertical bars with chrome horizontal slats that are supposed to evoke an eagle's spread wings.

One would think that, like other premium carmakers, Lincoln would apply the same grille treatment to all of its next generation or redesigned models, but according to Ford Group's top designer, J Mays, that won't be the case.

"We haven't made an announcement that every single car within the lineup is going to have the same grille bars," Mays told Automotive News. "We needed with the MKZ to signal a new generation of Lincolns. That's the first of the new cars to come with what I would call a more innovative face on it."

Mays said that while the shape of the grille apertures and contiguous headlights will remain a trademark of all Lincoln models, the inner design of the grille will differ.

"You have the outside perimeter of the headlamp and grille. That's what makes a Lincoln. I don't want to confine the design team to just one grille texture," he said.

Mays credits the styling of the MKZ's grille to Lincoln's new design boss, Max Wolff, who came in from Cadillac in 2010 after the car's design had been finalized.

"I'll give credit to Max on that. When I brought him in from GM, he said, 'Is there anything we can do to the grille?' I said, 'There's loads we can do with the grille. What do you have in mind?' He wanted to keep the split grille, which I think is a good decision, but he wanted to experiment with changing the grille bars from vertical to horizontal," Mays said.


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AstonMartin said... »April 17, 2012

Lincoln is a lost brand - which is sad because I really want them to succeed. 

Sushi Ninja said... »April 17, 2012

Please Lincoln make your production cars look identical to your concept cars from 2006/7/8 or you will die

Kyle Blank said... »April 17, 2012

As much as I like the exterior and especially the interior of this vehicle, the fact that the front grille won't appear through the line-up is something to worry about.  This will likely be an in-between model before Lincoln can implement a full model line change.

Rasta_Farian said... »April 17, 2012

I wonder how much Max was paid to tell the Lincoln guys to make the grille slats horizontal instead of vertical...

john1168 said... »April 17, 2012

I love the new grill on the MKZ!  And I think it's a great idea to have them a little different on each one.

Too Much of Nothing said... »April 17, 2012

Lost brand and identity too. This vehicle has a little bit of Saab; a little bit of Volvo; a little bit of other brands; nothing representing Lincoln.

Garrett Spicer said... »April 17, 2012

Litterally hours ago my friend brought over his rental car. Its a 2012 Lincoln MKS. I loved everything about it. Its a very nice car. The Grill is the best looking one since they started designing them that way. They should keep it like that.

Gary Bendrey said... »April 18, 2012

The car is not a complete new direction and is attractive. I have a real problem with the transmission control buttons up on the center stack. Sort of similar to a push button Dodge, or an Edsel with push button trans controls in the steering wheel hub. A decent solution would be to place the shifter in a gated control in the dash similar to what is done now on some minivans etc. Best would be to realize that the Transmission controls should be able to be used by feel and be ergonomic. An old column auto shifter with the PNDR indicator at eye level in the top driver center dash area would be good. Also a paddle shifted auto trans with the indicator at eye lever would work-especially as auto trans gain more gears, six or eight, with clear provision for PDR selection. 
The buttons on the stack next to the steering wheel take the drivers eyes off of the road-mirrors-rear and side vision. The possiblity of mistakes is very high in selecting DR where the buttons must be looked at and can't be operated by feel.
I have and older ( 300m, Chrysler -2003 ) with the console shifter and the ability to auto shift like the old slap shift deal. I don't use it much at all as there is no gear indicator clearly visible at eye level when looking straight ahead. The car is too quiet to shift by sound, and looking at the tach is a poor solution.

Eddiesterling said... »April 18, 2012

back shot reminds me of the new charger

KarKritic said... »April 27, 2012

this car has a lot more potential than people give it credit for with a more aggressive grill and to go with the back end or a lest aggressive back end to go better with the current grill this car would be a serious competitor... to me it looks confused. It couldn't be decided if they wanted more sport of elegance?  

Xik said... »August 14, 2012

Max Wolff should be fired for the hideous grill.  It's right up there in ugliness with Acura.  

Jan Chenevert said... »November 05, 2012

I have bought brand new Lincolns most of my 48.5 married years. We now own a 2003

Lincoln LS which we bought brand new in 2003. I would like to see a grille on the Lincolns

that say "LINCOLN" at first glance, no doubt about it. I have drawn my rendition of what

the new lincoln would look like with a grille I think shouts LINCOLN. How can I submit

it to you???
Matthew Chenevert

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