You have to give Lincoln credit for the effort they're making to stay relevant in a rapidly changing luxury car climate. This upscale division of Ford gave the mid-size MKZ a major update last year that, while not a complete redesign, saw this car get a more distinctive face along with an optional 400-hp turbo 3.0L V6 engine.
Changes are negligible for 2018, so the turbo V6 returns along with a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder (245 hp/270 lb-ft) and a hybrid that pairs a four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor for a total of 188 hp.
Gasoline models use a six-speed automatic transmission and, in Canada, standard AWD, while the hybrid gets a continuously variable transmission and only comes with front-wheel drive. Unlike the Fusion that lends this car its underpinnings, there is no plug-in hybrid version of the MKZ.
Lincoln has struggled for many years to find a way to makes the MKZ stand out in a class packed full of fast and competent German and Japanese luxury cars, and we'd argue it still hasn't found the secret. The 400-hp engine is a start, its performance giving the MKZ what it takes to make a go of keeping up with a similarly motivated Infiniti Q50 and at least put up a fight running next to the V8-powered BMW 550i and Audi S6 -- that is, if there's a Lincoln buyer willing to actually make use of all that power.
Indeed, if that kind of power seems out place considering the kind of people you would suspect populate Lincoln showrooms, even more incongruous is an optional driver's package offered with the turbo V6 that brings a torque-vectoring rear differential borrowed from the Ford Focus RS.
Inside, a flow-through centre stack returns, as does the Sync 3 infotainment system with its tablet-style controls, smartphone integration and generally agreeable user-friendliness. Flanking the revised infotainment system is Lincoln’s signature push-button gear selector on the left, and a number of available tech features on the right. One such feature is a parking assistant, which can automatically slot the vehicle into a parallel or perpendicular spot. It also offers exit assistance, to ensure bumpers stay scuff-free on the way out.
Other added details include door panels and seats that feature distinctive diamond perforations, as well as a brand new Revel premium audio system.
Keeping pace with the ever-evolving world of active safety, the new MKZ gains full-speed functionality for its radar cruise control, while the forward collision warning system receives an upgrade to turn it into a collision prevention system – complete with pedestrian detection and emergency autonomous braking.
Fuel consumption estimates are 11.8/8.4 L/100 km (city/highway) for the most-common 2.0L engine, and jump to 14.0/9.2 with the 3.0L turbo V6. Hybrid models are rated 5.7/6.2 L/100 km.