(from Ford Press Release) The
2006 Lincoln Zephyr teaser unveiled at the 2004 New York International
Auto Show illustrates how Lincoln can bring its hallmarks of elegant
design and comfort to a new generation of customers. The midsize,
five-passenger Lincoln Zephyr is a premium sedan with features that
assure comfort and refinement worthy of a Lincoln. Just as
significantly, it also introduces the design elegance and refinement
that have made Lincoln Navigator and Aviator such desirable nameplates.
This teaser vehicle unveiled in New York sets the stage - and sends a
strong signal - for the production version of Lincoln's next sedan. The
concept builds on themes explored in the Lincoln Mark LT and Lincoln
Aviator concepts that were unveiled at the 2004 North American
International Auto Show in Detroit.
Production Version is on the Way
The Lincoln Zephyr fits perfectly with
the brand's strategy of providing additional entry points to draw new
customers into the Lincoln showroom.
"The Lincoln Zephyr is a clear example of how we are able to bring
exciting new products to the Lincoln stable by leveraging efficiencies
throughout the Ford Motor Company organization. These great new products
and the new customers they will attract are at the core of the Lincoln
renaissance." said Darryl Hazel, Lincoln Mercury president.
Production of the Lincoln Zephyr will begin in 2005 and will go on sale
later that year as a 2006 model. It will complement the existing Lincoln
lineup and provide a new entry in one of the "sweet spots" of the luxury
market - the growing midsize premium segment.
"The Lincoln Zephyr has all the design and comfort leadership that
consumers expect from a Lincoln, but in a new segment that is more
accessible to young professionals. This is definitely the most youthful
of all Lincolns. It's all about great, elegant design, exceptional
comfort and a youthful attitude," said Mark Birnhart, product marketing
Shape of Things to Come
The Lincoln Zephyr's confident stance is
wide and planted, suggesting a bold and aggressive attitude. It is
instantly recognizable as a member of the Lincoln family - note the
distinctive chrome waterfall grille and marquee placement of the Lincoln
star emblems front and rear.
Design statements such as the bold horizontal lines of the taillamps and
grille reinforce its athleticism. Instead, the Lincoln Zephyr
establishes its sport sedan persona with geometric elements such as a
steeply raked windshield, strong horizontal themes and wide,
large-diameter, spoked alloy wheels.
"Wheels play an important role in generating a positive first
impression, and these wheels reinforce the Lincoln Zephyr's confident
personality," said design chief David Woodhouse, who led the teaser
concept design under Executive Director Henrik Fisker at Lincoln's
California Design Center. "The Lincoln Zephyr sits low, with a strong,
wide stance. Everything emphasizes the purposeful, confident character
of this vehicle."
The wheels are 19 inches in diameter and feature a symmetrical 12-spoke
layout that complements the Lincoln star located on the flush center
caps. The spoke pattern puts the Lincoln logo in the "crosshairs," like
a telescopic sight, drawing the eye toward the wheel center.
The car's color - a warm golden silver called Cashmere - was chosen to
work in harmony with the dramatic cabin design.
Luminous and Luxurious
"It's a very light and bright
combination," Woodhouse said. "Everything from the body color to the
interior is very light. This gives it a luminous, luxurious feeling,
which accentuates the real wood, genuine leather and metallic accents."
The side profile is complemented by chrome trim at the belt line, door
handles and mirror caps, and the soft glow of satin aluminum wheels. The
light body color also provides a strong contrast to the bold, dark
The rear window sweeps well up into the roof, but due to its steep
angle, appears wide and low from the rear, reinforcing the strong
horizontal lines of the taillamps, which extend well into the trunk lid.
The rear bumper surface is nearly flush, contributing to the clean,
uncluttered lines. Completing the effect is a lower tray framed by a
thin line of bright metal trim milled from solid aluminum. Twin chrome
tailpipes set wide apart extend through the lower fascia.
The horizontal theme continues at the front of the car, where a classic
Lincoln grille, executed in chrome, is flanked by wide, jeweled
headlamps with projector-style barrels whose lower edges dip down into
the horizontal turn signals. Side markers are integrated into the
headlamp barrels as well, for a tailored appearance.
The front bumper fascia is likewise nearly flush, surmounting a lower
fascia that repeats the rear theme with a wide, horizontal air intake
and wide-set, twin round running lamps with chrome trim rings.
Lavish Interior Design
"There's a strong European influence in
the design theme, but we didn't lose the essential North American
qualities," said Phil Simmons, chief designer. "You see that in the way
it carries itself - there's a uniquely North American confidence, a
certain swagger, almost."
Design themes explored in a series of recent Lincoln concepts come into
sharp focus in the interior of the new Lincoln Zephyr. Expect to see
most of these elements again when the production car is unveiled.
"Lincoln is renowned for being a design leader, and nowhere is this more
apparent than in our interiors," said Marek Reichman, director, Interior
Design Strategy. "The design philosophies explored in our concept
vehicles, as well as many of the materials such as real wood, are
already making their way into Lincoln production vehicles, such as the
Navigator and Aviator. With the new Lincoln Zephyr, they will find their
fullest expression in an automobile."
The key interior features of the Lincoln Zephyr are a commanding driving
environment and the sophisticated interplay between surface textures,
such as satin aluminum, chrome, leather and wood.
The center console flows upward into a symmetrical, full-width
instrument panel. The center stack features a prominent information
center that serves as the controller for the exclusive THX™-certified
ultra premium audio system as well as a navigational screen. All buttons
and knobs are chromed, as are the one-touch louvered air vents, interior
door handles and the control stalks on either side of the steering
One show-stopping feature that was seen on the Lincoln Mark LT - a
corrugated aluminum waterfall that flows downward into the center stack
from the top of the instrument panel - is personalized to the Lincoln
Zephyr with wider, more tactile raised surfaces.
"It's a bit like a roll-top desk brought to the 21st century," Woodhouse
said. "Metal ribbing gives the center stack a lot of surface interest
and lends a feeling of strength and confidence."
In keeping with the light exterior colors, the Lincoln Zephyr interior
features light surfaces including sophisticated Harewood, an exotic wood
installed with its fine grain pattern running horizontally. Wood is used
symmetrically with a wide horizontal band on each side of the instrument
panel, as well as facing the center console. Wood frames the chrome
center of the substantial shift knob and is used in the hand grip area
between the spokes of the steering wheel.
The gauges were inspired by stylish wristwatches, with rounded
rectangular housings, light faces and chrome hubs and pointers. The
tachometer is given equal prominence with the speedometer in the
symmetric array. The effect is enhanced by white LED lighting at night.
The steering wheel is distinctively Lincoln, with four parallel
horizontal spokes. Redundant audio controls and speed controls reside in
satin metal inserts that serve as the inner face of the spokes. The
steering wheel is trimmed in leather, with a prominent Lincoln star at
The seats are faced in new, softer premium leather, with shapes inspired
by the classic Eames lounge chairs. "There's a clean, tailored theme to
the seats," Woodhouse said.
The two-tone theme, with seats that are lighter in color than the center
console and other panels, reinforces the organic symmetry of the design.
Yet the overall impression is one of light and airy elegance and
The rear-seat passengers are just as cosseted as those up front - a
testament to the efficient packaging in this midsize Lincoln.
The rear seat features a generous fold-down arm rest with contrasting
surfaces. As in the front, door panels use accents of satin aluminum, as
well as technical metallic speaker cover fabric.
The Lincoln Zephyr is designed to provide
confident and effortless driving enjoyment. It builds on Ford Motor
Company's CD3 midsize-architecture, customized for Lincoln ride comfort
and driving dynamics.
The Lincoln Zephyr features a specially tuned and more powerful version
of the Duratec 30 3.0-liter V-6 engine with intake variable cam timing (VCT),
mated to a premium six-speed front-wheel-drive transmission and,
following the launch, available all-wheel drive.
The new six-speed transmission amplifies engine torque to provide better
acceleration than comparable vehicles with four- or five-speed
transmissions. Electronic throttle control and the electronically
controlled transmission calibration assure smooth and seamless shifts,
for quiet performance worthy of the Lincoln brand.
This is the first new front-wheel-drive Lincoln since the Continental,
which featured front drive from 1988-2002, and is the lightest Lincoln -
a key enabler in creating a responsive driving experience. The twin
exhausts behind the single central muffler help to reduce back pressure,
for added performance.
The Lincoln Zephyr team was able to develop, tune and refine a complete
vehicle package in about 30 months - a very short time for a new vehicle
program, made possible by the ability to tap into assets throughout the
Ford Motor Company. Much of the initial work, including analysis of
potential interior noise sources, benefited from the use of
sophisticated computer-aided-engineering tools.
Dampers, spring rates and bushings in the fully independent suspension
have been specially selected and tuned for Lincoln driving
characteristics, with an emphasis on comfort without sacrificing nimble
response. The power steering system also has been uniquely tuned to
complement the suspension and tires, which have unique internal
construction for comfort and quiet performance. The large, four-wheel
disc brakes provide confident stopping performance.
For occupant safety, the Lincoln Zephyr
features a robust steel "safety cage" construction, with engineered
crush zones to absorb impact energy. Ford Motor Company's
industry-leading Personal Safety System provides a combination of active
and passive safety features, such as front and side air bags, side air
curtains, occupant classification sensing, three-point safety belts with
front-seat pretensioners and retractors, tire pressure sensing,
anti-lock braking and traction control.
A production version of the Lincoln Zephyr will be offered for sale in
the United States, Canada, Mexico and other markets in late 2005 as a
2006 model. Pricing and final specifications will be announced closer to
Lincoln Zephyr Name
Recalls Era of Elegance
The original 1936 Lincoln Zephyr was
based on an innovative concept by Dutch-born designer John Tjaarda of
the Briggs Body Corp. He drew inspiration from the aerodynamic
"streamliner" trains that were catching the nation's imagination -
including the record-setting diesel-powered Burlington Zephyr that
helped to end the age of steam.
Lincoln Zephyrs also were noted for spirited performance - with an
impressive (for the time) 110 horsepower from their flathead V-12
engines. This combination of elegance and attitude made the 1942 Lincoln
Zephyr convertible a perfect prop - along with a succession of martini
glasses - for the famed "Thin Man" movie series, starring William Powell
and Myrna Loy as debonair crime fighters Nick and Nora Charles.
Despite its elegant appearance, the new Lincoln Zephyr was by far the
least costly Lincoln of the time, benefiting from mass-production
Delivering on the
Lincoln Mercury's revitalization is built
on strong products - 11 new vehicles including five new Lincolns in six
new segments within the next four years. The Lincoln Zephyr follows the
Aviator and Mark LT as the third new Lincoln introduced so far in 2004.
The new Lincoln Zephyr expands the brand into the fast-growing
premium-midsize market, where Lincoln expects to find a new generation
"This will be the first taste of luxury for many buyers and their first
exposure to the Lincoln brand," said Product Marketing Manager Mark
"We see tremendous potential for Lincoln in new categories, including
the medium premium segment, where we will be competing with the Lexus
ES330, Acura TL, Infiniti G35 and Cadillac CTS. Consumers are telling us
that they want new choices, and we're responding in a highly targeted
way," he added.