The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr teaser was unveiled at the 2004 New York International Auto Show. It illustrated how Lincoln can bring its hallmarks of elegant design and comfort to a new generation of customers. The midsize, five-passenger Lincoln Zephyr is a premium sedan with features that assure comfort and refinement worthy of a Lincoln.
The Lincoln Zephyr's confident stance is wide and planted, suggesting a bold and aggressive attitude. It is instantly recognizable as a member of the Lincoln family - note the distinctive chrome waterfall grille and marquee placement of the Lincoln star emblems front and rear.
Design statements such as the bold horizontal lines of the taillamps and grille reinforce its athleticism. Instead, the Lincoln Zephyr establishes its sport sedan persona with geometric elements such as a steeply raked windshield, strong horizontal themes and wide, large-diameter, spoked alloy wheels.
"Wheels play an important role in generating a positive first impression, and these wheels reinforce the Lincoln Zephyr's confident personality," said design chief David Woodhouse, who led the teaser concept design under Executive Director Henrik Fisker at Lincoln's California Design Center. "The Lincoln Zephyr sits low, with a strong, wide stance. Everything emphasizes the purposeful, confident character of this vehicle."
The wheels are 19 inches in diameter and feature a symmetrical 12-spoke layout that complements the Lincoln star located on the flush center caps. The spoke pattern puts the Lincoln logo in the "crosshairs," like a telescopic sight, drawing the eye toward the wheel center.
The car's color - a warm golden silver called Cashmere - was chosen to work in harmony with the dramatic cabin design.
"It's a very light and bright combination," Woodhouse said. "Everything from the body color to the interior is very light. This gives it a luminous, luxurious feeling, which accentuates the real wood, genuine leather and metallic accents."
The side profile is complemented by chrome trim at the belt line, door handles and mirror caps, and the soft glow of satin aluminum wheels. The light body color also provides a strong contrast to the bold, dark window graphics.
The rear window sweeps well up into the roof, but due to its steep angle, appears wide and low from the rear, reinforcing the strong horizontal lines of the taillamps, which extend well into the trunk lid.
The rear bumper surface is nearly flush, contributing to the clean, uncluttered lines. Completing the effect is a lower tray framed by a thin line of bright metal trim milled from solid aluminum. Twin chrome tailpipes set wide apart extend through the lower fascia.
The horizontal theme continues at the front of the car, where a classic Lincoln grille, executed in chrome, is flanked by wide, jeweled headlamps with projector-style barrels whose lower edges dip down into the horizontal turn signals. Side markers are integrated into the headlamp barrels as well, for a tailored appearance.
The front bumper fascia is likewise nearly flush, surmounting a lower fascia that repeats the rear theme with a wide, horizontal air intake and wide-set, twin round running lamps with chrome trim rings.
"There's a strong European influence in the design theme, but we didn't lose the essential North American qualities," said Phil Simmons, chief designer. "You see that in the way it carries itself - there's a uniquely North American confidence, a certain swagger, almost."
Design themes explored in a series of recent Lincoln concepts come into sharp focus in the interior of the new Lincoln Zephyr. Expect to see most of these elements again when the production car is unveiled.
"Lincoln is renowned for being a design leader, and nowhere is this more apparent than in our interiors," said Marek Reichman, director, Interior Design Strategy. "The design philosophies explored in our concept vehicles, as well as many of the materials such as real wood, are already making their way into Lincoln production vehicles, such as the Navigator and Aviator. With the new Lincoln Zephyr, they will find their fullest expression in an automobile."
The key interior features of the Lincoln Zephyr are a commanding driving environment and the sophisticated interplay between surface textures, such as satin aluminum, chrome, leather and wood.
The center console flows upward into a symmetrical, full-width instrument panel. The center stack features a prominent information center that serves as the controller for the exclusive THX™-certified ultra premium audio system as well as a navigational screen. All buttons and knobs are chromed, as are the one-touch louvered air vents, interior door handles and the control stalks on either side of the steering wheel.
One show-stopping feature that was seen on the Lincoln Mark LT - a corrugated aluminum waterfall that flows downward into the center stack from the top of the instrument panel - is personalized to the Lincoln Zephyr with wider, more tactile raised surfaces.
"It's a bit like a roll-top desk brought to the 21st century," Woodhouse said. "Metal ribbing gives the center stack a lot of surface interest and lends a feeling of strength and confidence."
In keeping with the light exterior colors, the Lincoln Zephyr interior features light surfaces including sophisticated Harewood, an exotic wood installed with its fine grain pattern running horizontally. Wood is used symmetrically with a wide horizontal band on each side of the instrument panel, as well as facing the center console. Wood frames the chrome center of the substantial shift knob and is used in the hand grip area between the spokes of the steering wheel.
The gauges were inspired by stylish wristwatches, with rounded rectangular housings, light faces and chrome hubs and pointers. The tachometer is given equal prominence with the speedometer in the symmetric array. The effect is enhanced by white LED lighting at night.
The steering wheel is distinctively Lincoln, with four parallel horizontal spokes. Redundant audio controls and speed controls reside in satin metal inserts that serve as the inner face of the spokes. The steering wheel is trimmed in leather, with a prominent Lincoln star at its center.
The seats are faced in new, softer premium leather, with shapes inspired by the classic Eames lounge chairs. "There's a clean, tailored theme to the seats," Woodhouse said.
The two-tone theme, with seats that are lighter in color than the center console and other panels, reinforces the organic symmetry of the design. Yet the overall impression is one of light and airy elegance and refinement.
The rear-seat passengers are just as cosseted as those up front - a testament to the efficient packaging in this midsize Lincoln.
The rear seat features a generous fold-down arm rest with contrasting surfaces. As in the front, door panels use accents of satin aluminum, as well as technical metallic speaker cover fabric.
The Lincoln Zephyr is designed to provide confident and effortless driving enjoyment. It builds on Ford Motor Company's CD3 midsize-architecture, customized for Lincoln ride comfort and driving dynamics.
The Lincoln Zephyr features a specially tuned and more powerful version of the Duratec 30 3.0-liter V-6 engine with intake variable cam timing (VCT), mated to a premium six-speed front-wheel-drive transmission and, following the launch, available all-wheel drive.
The new six-speed transmission amplifies engine torque to provide better acceleration than comparable vehicles with four- or five-speed transmissions. Electronic throttle control and the electronically controlled transmission calibration assure smooth and seamless shifts, for quiet performance worthy of the Lincoln brand.
This is the first new front-wheel-drive Lincoln since the Continental, which featured front drive from 1988-2002, and is the lightest Lincoln - a key enabler in creating a responsive driving experience. The twin exhausts behind the single central muffler help to reduce back pressure, for added performance.
The Lincoln Zephyr team was able to develop, tune and refine a complete vehicle package in about 30 months - a very short time for a new vehicle program, made possible by the ability to tap into assets throughout the Ford Motor Company. Much of the initial work, including analysis of potential interior noise sources, benefited from the use of sophisticated computer-aided-engineering tools.
Dampers, spring rates and bushings in the fully independent suspension have been specially selected and tuned for Lincoln driving characteristics, with an emphasis on comfort without sacrificing nimble response. The power steering system also has been uniquely tuned to complement the suspension and tires, which have unique internal construction for comfort and quiet performance. The large, four-wheel disc brakes provide confident stopping performance.
Source: Lincoln press