Lincoln MKZ Successor Could Go Rear-Wheel Drive And Feature A Familiar Name

Lincoln’s lineup has undergone significant changes in recent years as the company has rolled out new and redesigned models such as the Aviator, Corsair and Navigator.

While all three models are crossovers, it appears the company will soon turn its attention to the MKZ. This shouldn’t be too surprising as the model is one of the oldest vehicles in Lincoln’s lineup and its Ford counterpart, the Fusion, will soon bite the dust.

Little is known about its successor at this point, but Car & Driver suggests it could ride on the same rear-wheel drive platform that underpins the Aviator and Explorer. This would be a big change for Lincoln as the company hasn’t offered a rear-wheel drive sedan since the Town Car was phased out in 2011.

Considering the platform is also expected to underpin the next-generation Mustang, it could mean the return of sporty rear-wheel drive Lincolns. That’s long overdue and the MKZ successor could effectively become a modern day LS.

There’s no word on what will power the sedan, but the current model has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 245 hp (183 kW / 248 PS) and 275 lb-ft (372 Nm) of torque. The MKZ can also be equipped with a hybrid powertrain and a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 that cranks out 400 hp (298 kW / 406 PS) and 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque.

Like newer Lincoln products, the MKZ successor should receive a proper name. Car & Driver believes the car could be called the Zephyr and that’s fitting as MKZ was originally launched with the Zephyr name.

We might not have to wait too long see the model as the publication suggests a concept could be introduced as early as next year. The production model would then follow shortly thereafter.

  • Kash

    Yeah, not gonna hold my breath for that. Somehow I have to doubt that Lincoln will be able to keep any sedans alive for much longer with Ford’s recent decision on them. Regardless of what Lincoln’s management wants to do, Ford still has all the power.

    • designer_dick

      Sedans still have a place in the premium segment of the market, as proven by the continued success of the Lexus ES. Ford might have abandoned them for its namesake brand, but for Lincoln to be taken seriously as a premium, or even semi-premium/near-luxury brand, it needs to have a few sedans in its lineup. I’m sure Ford knows that and is planning accordingly.

      • Kash

        Regardless of what platform it rides on it’ll still require a body and interior and all the costs associated with those and if they aren’t building any sedans then they’ll need to make panels and bits just for those sedans. They’ll probably be able to steal some bits for the interior and maybe even the exterior from the next Mustang but I don’t expect much (front seats, dash, steering wheel, shifter, hood, front fenders, etc). Again, I’m not holding my breath for another Lincoln sedan outside the Continental and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t keep doing like they did with the coach door edition. limited production numbers with a high price. There’s also been rumors that Ford is gonna kill off the midsize sedan globally not just in the US which makes me question the possibility of a new Zephyr even more.

        • Cobrajet

          For a sedan they are now only going to make a unique body and interior for one only brand instead of two.

          • Kash

            Even material costs were shared because the same leather you can find in a high trim Edge or Fusion is gonna be the same one you find in the MKX or MKZ, respectively. The only real distinction between the 2 was the center stack, grille, lights, and bumpers and then the roof on the MKZ. Other than that the vast majority of body panels and interior bits were carried over.

            If you mean high sales at a low price vs low sales at a high price, it doesn’t really matter because the current MKZ does neither. Low price and low sales and it’s only been on the steady decline for the last few years.

    • Rocket

      They need to pay for that costly CD6 platform. A new Lincoln sedan will help do that, even if it doesn’t sell in big numbers. Plus, it makes Lincoln more credible as a luxury brand.

      • Merc1

        I agree, I’m really hoping for a stunning new Continental on the RWD architecture. I would actually consider an American car at that point.


        • Afi Keita James


      • Kash

        There’s still the body and interior costs and those aren’t cheap either.

        • Cobrajet

          That’s not too expensive for Ford. They have almost always done that for Lincoln.

          • Kash

            Ford announced the decision to axe sedans in an attempt to reduce costs and protect profitability, I doubt they’re about to throw money to make a single vehicle that will only see steady declines in sales numbers and jeopardize all of that, especially when they already are doing that with the Continental.

    • Cobrajet

      I think people would still find sedan desirable in luxury brands.


    filling the empty void

  • Rocket

    Great news if accurate — especially if it leads to a sportback option. It’s also a potential indicator that the next Nautilus will be RWD.

    • Benjamin B.

      Corsair will stay FWD. But I’m hoping Ford makes an Escape ST with the 2.3L turbo and AWD.

      • Rocket

        I have no doubt the Corsair will remain FWD. I said Nautilus, which could go either way. I do like the sound of an Escape ST, and honestly I thought such a model would have been announced during the intro.

        • Harry Flores

          New Nautilus in 2021 I hope goes RWD

  • eb110americana

    The 7th gen Mustang is supposed to be on the same platform, so a RWD car isn’t so far fetched. If you ask Ford, they will tell you that the platform is derived from the current Mustang, so if anything, it’s the SUV’s getting sporty, not the Mustang getting watered down, but 6 of one, half a dozen of the other… I suspect that they would go 4-door coupe, to avoid the stagnant sedan stigma, though to what degree they will push that, remains to be seen. Here’s hoping that they do it. Also, they need to banish the plastichrome inside. The switches and knobs feel cheap, which undercuts the modern luxury interior they are selling.

  • Nordschleife

    Love actual names, hate the name Zephyr.

  • Brian Regan

    Well this is exciting news. I would assume that if the Zephyr is going RWD than it’s fairly likely the next generation Continental will follow suit. Heck, at that point why not throw in a Mark IX grand touring coupe? Wishful thinking, I know.

    • Benjamin B.

      I always wondered what a Mark IX would look like

    • Harry Flores

      The Mark name is classic! There is rumor that they are producing a CUV coupe like vehicle. So I’m guessing the name goes to that. If not make this the Mark IX sedan with the new Conti going rear also and hopefully with suicide doors because the CD6 platform is longer.

  • charlotteharry57

    If they back down and redo this, does it make any sense whatsoever to NOT also redo the Fusion? No it doesn’t. MUCH bigger seller.

  • Bash

    I’m not holding my breath for a (could) but that would be something I want to see!

  • Tumbi Mtika

    Hell yes, hell yes, HELL YES!

  • Harry Flores

    Lincoln LS name would be great! But if they don’t use the Mark name in the supposedly upcoming CUV coupe then it should be called the Mark IX

  • Harry Flores

    True but the it;s a new platform with CD6 and Fusion/MKZ was CD4. So Lincoln can produce sedans and Ford doesn’t have to.

    • Kash

      still gonna cost money to make/design interior and exterior bits for a sedan and if Ford isn’t making one at all, it’s only gonna take more to recoup costs.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Or even more likely, it’ll just be another SUV.

    • Cobrajet

      They already have the SUV.

      • Six Thousand Times

        And they will keep making more of the damn things. The next one will be a terrible “coupe.”

  • Cobrajet

    Because Lincoln is a luxury brand, so they will charge more for it to make up for the low volume.

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