BEIJING, CHINA – Lincoln is marking the launch of its sales effort in China with the unveiling of a concept it says is “a strong indicator of the next MKX.” The two-row MKX crossover, which premiered in the 2007 model year, is due for a full update for the 2016 model year. It will move to Ford Motor Company’s CD4 mid-size platform that eventually will underpin most front-wheel-drive-based Fords and Lincolns larger than a compact.
Painted “crystal gold,” the MKX concept is an interesting choice for Lincoln’s Chinese coming-out party. Lincoln is targeting Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz as competitors in the world’s largest single automotive market, and so a large sedan like the MKS would seem to be a natural fit for the Chinese market. However, Lincoln has no plans to sell the MKS — whose next update is expected to be a facelift rather than an all-new model — in China. (All Lincoln’s cars and SUVs sold in China will be imported from North America.)
Meanwhile, luxury and premium crossovers have been gaining traction in China over the past few years. The Lincoln MKX concept “has a much more emotionalized design language” than the current production model and is like “a big brother to the MKC,” the new compact premium crossover to which the brand has pinned much hope, says Lincoln design director David Woodhouse.
The new design retains the “split-wing” grille that recalls the 1941 Lincoln Continental, although it replaces the current MKX’s vertical grille slats with horizontal slats, with thin LED headlamps and sequential front LED turn signals beneath them. There are full-width LED taillamps and “dynamic side undercuts” on the sculpted, coke-bottle bodysides. The concept has a prominent lower body and a low, sleek, daylight opening, which exterior design manager Andrea di Buduo describes as having “the flair of a classic gran turismo.”
The roof rails are integrated, and the moonroof graphic has a unique design that covers about the first three-quarters of the crossover’s top, which tapers to sheetmetal near the back. The spoiler “floats” above this, and has an integrated center-high-mounted stoplight and integrated antenna. The concept has indentations in the glass moonroof that are unlikely to make it to production.
“It’s exaggerated a bit” as a concept, di Buduo says. There are no visible door handles, either, and in fact the Beijing concept has neither a drivetrain nor an interior. We’d expect the new Lincoln MKX to be offered with the 3.7-liter V-6 and possibly both the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and the 2.0-liter four/hybrid, like the MKZ, when it launches by early next year.