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Lincoln Zephyr Spotted On U.S. Roads: Photos

The Lincoln Zephyr launched in China in March 2022 with sights set on conquering Gen Z luxury vehicle shoppers. The luxury sedan isn’t currently offered outside of China, but Ford Authority has spotted a few Zephyr prototypes making the rounds on U.S. roads. In fact, we spotted a heavy camouflaged example tooling around Dearborn back in September 2021, and now we’ve spotted another prototype without any camo whatsoever.

Before we go forth, we should note that while this particular Lincoln Zephyr features EPA exhaust tips, that does not necessarily indicate that it will be sold in the U.S. market. The sleek sedan is finished in an eye-catching red exterior color that complements its black trim and aggressive front end styling.

As previously mentioned, this generation of the Zephyr luxury sedan was specifically designed with Gen Z in mind, a deviation from the crossover-heavy lineups offered by Lincoln in North America. The production model shares quite a few design cues with the Lincoln Zephyr Reflection concept vehicle, which was revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show in 2021.

As a reminder, the Zephyr is currently offered in two trim levels in China – the Zephyr iCool which starts at RMB 252,800-335,800 ($39,829-$52,906 USD), and the Zephyr iEnjoy, which ranges from RMB 269,800-340,800 ($42,508-$53,694 USD). Under the hood, the luxury sedan harnesses the turbocharged 2.0L I4 EcoBoost engine. Under the body is the Ford C2 platform shared with many front-drive-based FoMoCo vehicles, including the Ford Focus, Ford Escape and Kuga, Lincoln Corsair, Ford Bronco Sport, and Ford Maverick. Mechanically speaking, the most direct relative of the Zephyr is the new Ford Mondeo and its hatchback derivative, the Ford Evos.

Overall, we really like what we’re seeing here in terms of styling and the overall demeanor of the new Lincoln Zephyr. And while this model might not be offered in the U.S. market anytime soon, there could be hope for a Lincoln sedan revival in North America thanks to the luxury brand’s plants to pivot to an all-electric lineup.

We’ll have more on the Zephyr soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Lincoln newsLincoln Zephyr news, and continuous Ford news coverage.

Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

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Comments

  1. JE

    This is a car I would buy. An SUV or a crossover, never.
    A shame that in order to have an american sedan from Ford, you need to import it from China.
    I’ll stay with Lexus, MB, Audi, Tesla, Cadillac or any brand that offers me a sedan.

    Reply
    1. PS

      You are 100% right! what is even worse that Ford is being complicit in the CCP’s suppression of its people. I’ve been a ford supporter for years. I even own two Ford Thunder birds(55 & 57). Just bought my first Cadillac ever and I love it.

      Reply
      1. RWFA

        Complicit? Probably as much as you are in every Chinese made product you buy.

        Reply
  2. Thomas

    Dear Santa, please send me the red one. Thank you.
    Lincoln needs a youth-oriented vehicle to get customer into the fold. Follow up with a long wheelbase coach door, a 2-door and a convertible either 2 or 4-door.

    Reply
    1. BADIH JOHN MAJDALANI

      These vehicles will only be made and sold in America if Falotico’s replacement has the same philosophy as Don DeLarossa, father of the 1977-79 Lincoln Continental Mark V, and 1980-83 Lincoln Continental Mark VI.

      Reply
      1. Triller

        Let’s hope! It’s the best looking vehicle in Ford’s stable, okay, along with the ‘23 ‘Tang and, of course, Bronco. Oh hell, they’re all nicely styled. WOULD like to see that front-end on an ICE / hybrid Aviator BEFORE it goes strictly EV.

        Reply
  3. BADIH JOHN MAJDALANI

    With anti-sedan Falotico gone, there is a small chance (better than no chance) that this car might be built and sold in America.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      You ascribe way too much to a brand manager’s authority.

      It was hardly an issue of anti-sedan and more a question of what the market profitably supports.

      Further, it wasn’t necessarily whether Lincoln customers really wanted a sedan but whether the base Ford platform was profitable. There is a break-even point where even good Lincoln sales can’t overcome weak Ford (here Fusion) sales.

      If the market for ford sedans becomes unprofitable, and Lincoln can’t lift it out if a hole at the corporate level then that’s just spinning the wheels of profitless prosperity and a body style or carline will be cancelled so that the resources it is consuming (talent and investment wise) can be redirected to projects that make money.

      These decisions are made in the product planning and marketing teams and are ratified up to the board level.

      It’s much more than a philosophy or anti sedan bias of a single high level player, the business has been much much more complex than that for a long long time.

      Reply
      1. Triller

        Excellent assessment. Might add a few points, they would be;
        > China LOVES sedans! So the platform WILL exist somewhere, therefore IS able to be exported for niche US market;
        > Not suggesting it would be a “halo” vehicle, but would appeal to both Gen Z as well as (still relevant) traditional Lincoln sedan customers.
        > Since it would nicely fill out an all-SUV portfolio AND, from an investment standpoint, be similar to a halo vehicle, which most of the latter NEVER recover their investment but serve a marketing / image purpose, Zepher may nicely serve in that role.

        What other MAINSTREAM (corp-level) mfg’rs (not the stratospherically priced brands, i.e. – Landrover, et. al. or niche players – Mitsubishi) offer ONLY SUVs?

        May make sense for Lincoln to offer Zepher and appeal to a wider customer base.

        Reply
        1. RWFA

          Agreed but the Zephyr business case will turn on added marginal profit and how many customers would buy a Lincoln SUV in the absence of a sedan offering vs how many will move to a competitor to get that sedan.

          Clearly, gor the time being, Ford sees it as more profitable to let some sedan intenders walk.

          I don’t remember the figures but there was an article earlier this year that indicated Ford was pleased with the retention rate of sedan buyers who moved to SUVs.

          Reply
      2. BADIH JOHN MAJDALANI

        Luxury marques (Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz) would like the status quo, if this sedan is made and sold in America, it would hurt their sales.

        Reply
      3. BADIH JOHN MAJDALANI

        Your argument is very weak, there is still demand for sedans, (although not like it used to be) otherwise other luxury marques would have discontinued them. Let’s face it, FMC can’t even make a profit on sedans even if they are made in a low wage country, example Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ.

        Reply
  4. what

    This thing looks so nice please for the love of God just bring it to the U.S.

    Reply
  5. Michael

    It sort of looks like the new Toyota Crown that is coming to America shortly.

    Reply
  6. Gary . Virginia.

    Good looking auto! Don’t know about the thought it looks like another brand who I won’t mention. But yes it should be built and sold in this county. My wife would buy this car.

    Reply
  7. Kaelie CE

    Now imagine this car, sold in the States and available with the 3.0T engine and AWD…pretty amazing, right?

    Lincoln had finally got it right just before they went all in on compact SUV’s. But it was with the higher spec (AWD V6) MKZ’s, which went unnoticed by most because of the comparative blah of the I-4 and hybrid.

    Glad I got one but what a crying shame such a fantastic vehicle got put out to pasture.

    The 3.0T engine is an awful nice bit of kit, 400 hp out of the box but also quite tunable. It now powers the well-received Explorer ST and Police Interceptor. (But I can say it’s an absolute delight in a vehicle that weighs 1,000 lbs less!)

    Reply
  8. RWFA

    Good looking vehicle. I’m still a sucker for a car with a traditional 3 box layout.

    Reply
  9. Nico

    The timing for this vehicle couldn’t be more perfect! Build it in NA, in 3 PHEV variations..1) fwd with PH system from the Escape 2) awd with PH system from the Corsair Grand Touring 3) awd with PH system from Aviator GT or Euro Explorer. Need more production…add a Ford Fusion/Mondeo in variations 1 & 2 and send the excess to China!

    Reply
  10. Mrx19

    Looks like what a refreshed Fusion would look like. In an all SUV and truck USA, no chance of ever seeing it here.

    Reply
    1. Tom in Portsmouth, NH

      That was my thought too (about looking like a Fusion).

      Reply
  11. RICH

    Please give the U.S.A. a sedan sport model like the MKS which was the most beautiful Lincoln ever produced.

    Reply
  12. Mike says...

    I do like this sedan, add a coupe and performance variant and you are playing in Audi, Cadillac, Acura and Mercedes land…. not to mention Kia and Hyundai. As it is, it falls short of the competitions range of models and performance having too much Ford parts bin dna to really qualify as a luxury offering. The numbers make this model a tough call for north America, however that can and will change with emerging BEV models and ever-changing market share. Ford and Lincoln’s small portfolio resembles Acura and Infinity which will never make them top rung high-volume builders. I am still concerned Ford has surrendered far more of its traditional customers in its pursuit of profitability…. if you are not changing you are probably slipping back.

    Reply
  13. Jim O

    I owned 2 Fusions. I peobably would have moved up to an MKZ. Ford , in my opinion ( and from reading the comments, not only mine) made a mistake and continues to make them. I would buy this car, but not if its made in China. There are so many things that I buy that are made in China, but not when I have a choice.

    Reply
  14. John Zelcs

    Please bring back the transverse V8, that was a cool idea from Ford with their 3rd-gen Taurus SHO and the ’90s Continental.

    My engine ideas:
    1.5L engine (I3 or I4)
    2.0L I4
    2.7-3.5L V6 (twin turbo, FWD/AWD)
    5.0L V8 (AWD, Black Label)
    5.2L V8 (supercharged, Red/Gold Label)

    Reply
    1. John Zelcs

      or even better, do whatever the manufacturers do with full-size vans in Europe and swap an entire transverse FWD with longitudinal RWD/AWD as an option while maintaining the chassis (Rover also did this with their 75 sedan)

      it’s not that hard

      Reply
      1. John Zelcs

        Even if Ford doesn’t plan on bringing back sedans, I wouldn’t mind the occasional high-performance Aviator or Navigator stuffed with the Predator V8.

        In this day and age, super-SUVs are the new super-sedans and super-wagons; and the two advantages they do have over their sedan and wagon counterparts is the resistance of the so-called “Gas Guzzler Tax”, as well as the GVWR of >6000 lbs allowing for owners to file with the IRS for a Section 179 tax deduction on their vehicles.

        If I were Lincoln, I would offer a sport-focused Red Label trim as well as a luxury-focused Gold Label trim to compete with Cadillac’s V-Series and Blackwing trims.

        A starter 5.2-liter Predator with 500 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque, plus a High Output variant with 700 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque (up to 760/625 in the 2WD Navigator Red Label with Monochromatic Package). This will give customers three different options to choose from as far as Lincoln’s first modern V8 (since the 3rd-gen, pre-facelift Navigator and last-gen Town Car) goes.

        Reply
  15. Ronald

    Is the Zepher the reincarnation of the Continental ?? With the growing population of retires who are looking for comfort. Ford may just bring back a upscale sedan.

    Reply
  16. Spencer

    Lincoln needs a sports sedan and the Zepher looks awesome. They just need to make sure it handles great to compete with the g70, s4, M340i, and C43.

    Reply
  17. Bronco

    I been thinking about importing me a zephyr or the ford Evos. But the only thing is can I make all the language English and will there navigation system work in the US. I’m pretty sure it’s not ford sync software

    Reply
  18. Thomas

    While at it, take the new Mustang platform and do a longer wheelbase Lincoln LS with a V8 please!

    Reply
  19. Mrcp

    1 universal sedan for America is it to much to ask with options from ford

    Reply
  20. MarkV

    Ford has to first, allow Lincoln to be a player in America again by giving the brand something that knocks the WOW factor out of the park! It might not be a bad idea to bring Zephyr and next gen Nautilus here to boost sales again. (Remember that Lincoln lost 1/3 of total sales discontinuing sedans back in 2020) The current Lincoln brand has become the new Mercury (ie another fancy ford) if you do the analysis. Maybe it’s time to bring a full line Continental Brand back into focus to compete again. Expand the Zephyr Brand for the lower to mid-market.

    Reply
    1. Larry

      Ford needs to take Lincoln more seriously. There are no reasons why Acura and Infiniti are outselling Lincoln. It should be the reverse with Lincoln above the two brands. Lower end vehicles for Mercedes and BMW don’t seem to be dilution the brand prestige so why can’t Lincoln have entry youth models for the buyer to move up the Lincoln ladder as the individual’s wealth increases throughout their career. There was a time when Lincoln did compete one for one with Cadillac. AND not only should the youth-range be established but a halo upper market range, so the Lincoln buyer has something to aspire to. Cadillac has Celestiq nearing production. Lincoln is still in the planning stages with no direction for growth (that we know of any way or want given the current lineup). The current Lincoln lineup lacks the passion, allure, drama and romance associated with the automobile. A new era should usher in a new Lincoln brand that captures the essence and mystique of what the brand means. What good is reaching 100 years if you can’t be around shortly thereafter? Show your heritage.

      Reply
    2. Frank

      GM just announced that Escalade is expanding as a sub brand. I agree that Zephyr and Continental should become expanded brands as well. While at it, bring back Cosmopolitan and Versailles. Sad how China will be getting a smaller SUV from Lincoln (below Corsair) that America might not be getting. That would be the third China exclusive Lincoln.

      Reply
      1. Gloria

        Frank, you are beating a dead horse. Ford isn’t going to listen to you. Wasting your time. Give it up. Lincoln is stuck with mismanagement people who don’t care. I’d say get Edsel Ford Sr or Lee Iacocca back to fix Lincoln but that isn’t going to happen. They knew what the Lincoln brand was about and gave us what we wanted.

        Reply

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