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2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

2013 Lincoln MKZ Sedan - FROM $35,925

Taut new proportions, modern features and comfort, and a style at once classic and contemporary, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ makes the most compelling case in decades for luxury buyers to consider the once-iconic American brand.

2013  Lincoln MKZ Sedan

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is fully redesigned.

Introduction

This is it. The 2013 Lincoln MKZ marks Lincoln's first step toward reclaiming its luxury pedigree forged in the middle of last century. And while the new MKZ rides on the same platform as its mainstream Ford Fusion relative, it's not quite the sharp-suited rebadging we've come to expect from Lincoln.

First there's the new metal. The MKZ's flanks are pulled tight around its four doors in a sleek and sweeping fastback (or "four-door coupe") style. There's a hint of Aston Martin in the rear deck lid spoiler and a single, unifying band of LED taillamps spanning from the rear haunches across the trunk lid. More importantly is the split waterfall grille's reverential nod to late-1930s Lincoln Zephyr models.

Instead of a fixed roof, the MKZ features a retractable panoramic glass panel. The net effect is a classic look compressed into an ultra-modern shape -- all the better for Lincoln to attract the younger, moneyed buyer it hopes will buoy the brand into the future.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ offers three engine choices. The base option is a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that should return about 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. More power is offered from a 3.7-liter V6 making 300 hp. Both engines will join a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift controls. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Finally, a MKZ hybrid model will package a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor for a combined 188 hp. Using a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the MKZ should closely echo the Fusion Hybrid's 47 city/44 highway fuel economy.

An extensive interior overhaul accompanies the new MKZ, including premium leather and wood trim and a 10-inch LCD instrument panel that replaces traditional analog gauges. Another striking replacement is the bank of gear selector buttons on the center stack that stands in for a conventional shift lever. Eliminating the shifter gave designers unimpeded room to incorporate an 8-inch touchscreen display and touch-sensitive climate controls into the center stack. It makes for an elegant, futuristic look, but some drivers might need time to get comfortable with pushing a button to drive, reverse and park.

Finally, befitting a luxury flagship, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ gets an array of standard and optional high-tech safety features. Among them: adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, parking assist, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, collision mitigation braking, and airbags embedded within the rear seatbelts.

The 2013 MKZ goes on sale later this year, and strikes us as the most distinct Lincoln both inside and out in decades. Check back for a full review of the Lincoln MKZ, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.