Lincoln MKR Concept (Photo: Lincoln)
Once a proud American nameplate for the most luxurious of automobiles, steadily declined. Long ago, Lincoln was synonomous with monikers such as Zephyr, Cosmopolitan, Continental, and Mark VI.
Unfortunately, Lincoln is now but a shadow of its former self. Rather disgracefully, Ford pulled the plug on the Lincoln Town Car last year when it announced the retirement of the old Panther chassis.
In desperate need of a comeback, Lincoln could use an all new chassis that could hold its own against Cadillac and the German imports -- a chassis with sporting characteristics, refinement, an instant reputation, and rear wheel drive. Rumors are surfacing that Lincoln just might get exactly what it needs.
Earlier this month, spy shots revealed exciting developments from the all-new 2015 Mustang. The shots didn't highlight the Mustang sports car itself, but rather focused on the new chassis' independent rear suspension in particular.
Currently the only rear-wheel-drive platform under Ford, previous Mustangs were never viable options due to its stubborn use of the live rear axle. Now that initial leaks have revealed its major revamp and newfound refinement, Car and Driver reports that interest within Ford is rising for an all-new Mustang-based rear-wheel drive Lincoln sedan.
According to Car and Driver, Lincoln must address a couple of key segments that its current line-up has omitted. First, Lincoln is missing an entry-level luxury performance sedan to contest the new Cadillac ATS and the established Lexus IS models. While the midsize MKZ is a respectable vehicle to face off against the Lexus ES, the MKZ lacks the muscle to really go toe to toe against the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4 trio.
The next segment to address is the staple midsize-luxury segment. Offering the MKS, a mere reskinned Taurus, the front-wheel-drive chassis could never compete with the more dynamic offerings including the Cadillac CTS, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 Quattro, Infiniti M, and Lexus GS. For a better picture of Lincoln's lack of a competitive product, 12,217 units of the MKS were sold in 2011. During the same period, Cadillac delivered 55,000 CTS models. No doubt, Lincoln could seriously benefit from the new Mustang platform in this segment as well.
Finally, Lincoln is in need of a halo vehicle. Once the proud company of the 1961 Continental, Lincoln no longer has a flagship that really defines the mission of the brand. Unfortunately, in order for the Lincoln halo to possess a majestic wheelbase fitting for a premium full-size luxury sedan, the new Mustang chassis will be at risk of stretching beyond its engineering limitations. A significant amount of retooling may be required to get the ideal dimensions of at least 16 feet in length.
While all these vehicles guide Lincoln a step in the right direction, none have been green flagged for development. At iMotor, we see a win-win opportunity for Ford and Lincoln. By platform sharing, the 2015 Mustang chassis will benefit from cost reduction. What's more, Lincoln will finally get the opportunity to offer products with the levels of luxury and refinement that customers really want to have.