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.