Lincoln's 2010 MKZ debuted at the L.A. Auto Show, featuring a new 263-horsepower engine and improved luxury inside to go with its new, more expressive design.

The freshening of Ford's mid-size sedan lineup is complete with the introduction of the 2010 Lincoln MKZ at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Like the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, the upscale near-luxury sedan gains a more expressive face, improved performance from the new sport model and more luxury, of course.

The MKZ, not surprisingly, has taken styling cues from the successful MKS sedan, with Lincoln's new family face dominating. The grille is deeper and more extravagant, with a split center section that's carried up into the hood. LED taillamps are used at the rear. The interior also gains luxury upgrades, including a choice of walnut or ash wood and aluminum trip, "tuxedo" stitching on the Scottish Bridge of Weir leather, and a revised dash.

Lincoln has also adopted the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) first introduced on the Volvo S80 and working its way into the Ford lineup. The MKZ also features the Cross Traffic Alert (CTS) system that uses BLIS' radar sensors to warn of oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking spot. The MKZ also features Ford's SYNC infotainment system, voice-activated navigation and a capless fuel system--the hat trick of Ford's new surprise-and-delight features. Add in THX audio and adaptive headlights and the baby Lincoln just might be a contender.

The new sport model should help to increase the MKZ's appeal as well. Sport-tuning with stiffer springs and 18-inch wheels is combined with a blackout grille and a unique interior. The 2010 MKZ features a 263-horse 3.5 liter DOHC V6 with variable cam timing under the hood and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also available. Lincoln says the MKZ's 0-60 time has improved to 7.1 seconds from 7.7.

Pricing hasn't been set, but the 2010 Lincoln MKZ will be on sale in spring 2009.

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