Ford Authority

New Lincoln Zephyr Could Be The MKZ Sedan Replacement

Fans of the Lincoln of yore were never happy when the automaker adopted the gibberish letter names like MKZ rather than just using real names for its cars. Rumors circulated back in 2017 that Lincoln would be dropping the MKx naming scheme and going with real names. That naming change has proven true for the SUV line at Lincoln with rides like the Aviator, Navigator, and the new Lincoln Corsair. If you look back to 2016, Lincoln parent company Ford Motor Company filed a trademark on the name “Zephyr” which is a name with a storied past for the Lincoln brand going all the way back to the 1930s.

A new report is making the rounds that suggests the MKZ sedan replacement might be the ride that wears the Zephyr name. The Zephyr name did adorn a mid-2000s Lincoln sedan before that car changed to the MKZ. The current MKZ is based on the Ford Fusion and with the Fusion going the way of the dinosaur, the door is open for a major shift for the new Lincoln Zephyr.

Car & Driver reports that it believes Lincoln will forge its own path forward with the Zephyr and that rumors suggest the car could switch to the Ford rear-wheel-drive unibody architecture that underpins the current Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs. The big news here is that change would mean the new Lincoln Zephyr will be rear-wheel drive. Sadly, the same Explorer and Aviator platform is expected to be used for the next-generation Mustang forcing the car to grow significantly.

Ford has announced that the next-generation Mustang and larger Lincoln Continental will be built at a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan. Presumably, that is the same location where the Zephyr would be built if it uses the same platform as the next-gen Mustang. Speculation suggests a concept version of the new Lincoln Zephyr would debut in 2020 with the production car bowing in later the same year.

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Source: Car & Driver

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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  1. vbondjr

    I’m not sure why everyone seems so upset about the Mustang moving to the CD6 platform and growing a little in size. Before I get into the Ford Brand and the CD6 platform, lets talk a little about this Zephyr on the CD6 platform. With talk of this being a rear wheel drive sedan, that truly excites me. Especially with engines out like the 450hp 3.5L Ecoboost and the 400hp 3.0L. the current MKZ was dubbed a hot rod Lincoln and hopefully this next one will continue the trend. Granted I don’t expect this new car to look like a ’39 Zephyr Coupe with a V12 under the hood but a 3.0L 400hp/415tq base setup or a 480hp 5.0L V8 or a 450hp/510tq 3.5L Ecoboost and a 450hp/600tq 3.0L Hybrid wouldn’t be bad in this car at all. It would be nice for Lincoln to have a car that could compete with some of the AMG cars and Audi performance vehicles. Lincoln needs to have a similar setup for the Continental as well and it needs to be more dynamic.
    As for Ford itself with the CD6 platform, talks of a RWD CD6 Lincoln (possibly 2 of them) make me excited for the possibility of a global CD6 Falcon. Ford has already expressed their plans of a “4-door mustang” and a Falcon quad coupe (similar to the BMW M850i quad coupe) would be a great idea. I use the BMW M850i reference because the BMW is a lot like the mustang but larger so it would give off a better indication of where Ford is going than an idea of the Dodge Challenger. With the mustang growing a little it’s going to handle better, ride better, and obviously Ford will add more performance to the car. I’m figuring if they keep the V8 around, The 5.0L V8 may move up to a naturally aspirated 5.2L pushing out 495-500hp to compensate for the weight and everything else. Hopefully, a 465hp RS 3.5L V6, a 425hp 3.0L ST and a 350hp 2.3L variant will come about and a top of the line 5.2L Supercharged Cobra. The Falcon, the Explorer and whatever this new mustang inspired crossover should have the same drivelines along with the electric variants and hybrid variants

    1. JohnTaurus

      Very nice comment, this is all very exciting!

      1. vbondjr1

        Thank you! It would extremely exciting if it were actually to become reality

  2. trailhiker

    It makes sense to utilize this platform, and helps justify the costs.
    A RWD Zephyr 4 door coupe for Lincoln would be great.
    As for the Mustang, becoming larger opens up the styling possibilities as well. On one hand, I would love to see a sleek and modern looking design, but the other side of me wants to see an aggressive and boldly designed muscle car. If we could have both on the same platform, I would call one Mustang, and the other Thunderbird. Oh, and convertable versions of each as well.

    1. vbondjr1

      This idea would be fairly decent, I could see the Thunderbird taking on more of the roll in Ford what the Mercedes Benz S-Class coupe is for Mercedes while the Mustang would be what the M850i is for BMW. But being that those are so close, I don’t see that happening, however, in the late 60’s and early 70’s the Thunderbird actually had a full size sedan option. Now, obviously this is a bit far fetched but the Ford enthusiast side of me would love to see a suicide door full size Thunderbird sedan being the Ford counterpart to the upcoming CD6 Continental with a Grant Touring package that would allow the car to soak up miles of highway in comfort but still have a chassis that is geared towards performance with a 5.0L V8 option under the hood and a large sunroof option with the BMW 8-series coupe sized Mustang and a Ford Falcon slotting below the Thunderbird and then above the Thunderbird have the upcoming “mustang inspired performance SUV” be the Ford Maverick with some high performance gasoline options, the Ford Explorer with a V8 option and a 3.5L ecoboost option, a new bronco, new Ranger, an improved Expedition, the F150 and the super duty pickups and whatever else Ford throws in for Crossovers and SUVs with hybrid and electric powertrains. As for Lincoln, a Zephyr, Continental, Corsair, Nautilus, Aviator, Navigator should go along with a Lincoln Mark-X coupe. Nearly everything would fit on the CD6 platform and Ford has a slew of Ecoboost and V8 engines to toss around along with the upcoming hybrid and electric power trains, a 10-speed auto, a 10-speed hybrid auto and a 7-speed DCT. But like i said, this is the enthusiast side of me speaking. Obviously this lineup would never see the light of day but it’s nice to dream every once in a while right?

  3. Raymond Ramirez

    As a proud and extremely satisfied owner of a 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid (up to 54 MPG), and having done test drives in the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, I am very happy that the MKZ will be reborn as the Lincoln Zephyr! I am still upset that Ford would discontinue the Fusion Hybrid and Energi models, since they are the ONLY true competition against the imported hybrids, sometimes outselling the Toyota Prius in several months.

    I do expect the Lincoln Zephyr to inherit some of the Ford Mustang performance, and become a luxury sports sedan that U.S. market needs. I also expect the Zephyr to use the same hybrid setup that the Mustang will offer, too, and offer both hybrid and Energi versions.

    Good work, Lincoln!

  4. Alan N

    I had a 2013 MKZ hybrid, 2015 MKZ hybrid, and a 2017 MKZ hybrid, Main reason I bought these hybrids was a great combination of efficiency with luxury. Plug-ins or all electric are impractical for my long 1200 mile trips. Tried a 2019 MKZ 3.0L twin turbo 400HP AWD. Although this AWD handles better than my previous MKZ hybrids and has power-on-demand, I would go back to hybrids. Too many car companies are using plug-in hybrids mainly to boost power, not to maximize economy. Very interested in seeing if Lincoln will continue sedan production, then how they will set-up the power-train. Hopefully Lincoln will not turn into a luxury SUV only corporation. Lincoln makes a sleek MKZ sedan that is distinctive in a crowded field of boxy SUVs.A

  5. Verdett Thomas

    Has Ford changed its mind about building a continental replacement. For I hate that Ford / Lincoln have given up on what made them the luxury brand that they were.

  6. Verdett Thomas

    Just two cars build right . Rear Wheel Drive / AWD with the look of a Lincoln


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