2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label
Testing a Lincoln with a Concierge.
Story and photos by Mark Elias
Inside the 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD, a driver and passengers will feel as though they are being well coddled with an abundance of creature comforts that do their part to make them feel as though they really belong.
Since it’s not the flagship of the line, the MKZ can coast a little bit, as far as the heavy lifting is concerned. That’s all better left for its Lincoln Continental big brother. Still, Lincoln saw fit to upgrade the MKZ’s grillwork to bring it in line with the Conti’s front opening. Now in its second generation, the MKZ has been on the market for around four years. It is built in Hermosillo, Mexico, using the Ford CD4 platform, which it shares with the Ford Fusion in North America, and the Ford Mondeo in other markets around the world.
Think of it as someone wearing a dark suit to a black tie optional dinner party. You will still not feel underdressed.
The 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T is available in four trim levels ranging from base Premiere, mid-level Select, high-zoot Reserve and ultra-luxe Black Label versions. Power comes in three flavors, starting with a standard 2.0-liter, 245-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. Next up is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas/electric hybrid combination, with 188-horsepower, that the EPA says is good for 40 mpg combined.
Finally, a twin-turbocharged aluminum-blocked 3.0-liter V6 is on offer that can be had with 350-horsepower (FWD) or 400-horsepower (AWD) depending on your drive configuration. In the case of our AWD version, the EPA says to expect 20 mpg. We’d say they are about right. All are coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Plenty quick, the twin-turbo V6, which shares parentage with the Ford 2.7-liter V6, is good for a zero to 60 romp in 4.8-seconds.
Of the four trim levels, our Black Label version shares trim found in the top-shelf Reserve version, including a 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system and an upgraded leather interior that includes heated and ventilated front seats, with massage, FTW (!). Above our heads was a faux suede headliner. It also includes mobile showroom, remote vehicle delivery, pickup and drop off of your car when servicing is required and an extended premium service plan. Our Black Label was equipped with 19-inch Michelin Primacy radials, but truth be told, we think the overall look of the MKZ deserved a set of 20-inch tires, at least, to fill out the wheel wells.
Lincoln’s Sync 3 connectivity system has been revised to offer traditional buttons and dials rather than the rather awkward touch-sensitive systems of the past. The new voice activated navigation system offers pinch-to-zoom and swipe functions for more responsive control.
The multi-contour seating had us in a comfortable spot for the long haul. The only thing that seemed to disturb us was the merlot-based interior hue that seemed a bit out of place. Perhaps a case of Maranello tan would be more appropriate, at least in the case of our pearlized white metallic exterior finish was concerned.
The rear seat was comfortable enough for three passengers of the not-so-large persuasion, although we did hear of some discomfort from our middle passenger. Perhaps it was because of the armrest / ski pass-through as a backrest feature, or the performance Michelin tires that skinned our 19-inch alloy wheels. And besides, is the ski pass-through really necessary? From a practical standpoint, the MKZ is most likely the last car we would expect to find on the slopes near Vail and Jackson Hole.
We do think, however that the slab-sidedness of the MKZ is like a visiting relative, in the sense that it is just on the verge of overstaying its welcome.
We found the MKZ’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo pulled like a bat out of hell, quickly dispensing with most challengers during stoplight flash bang excursions. Ride quality was generally good, but there was a distinct drone that seemed to come from the tires that caused a louder than normal hum to appear. Road surfaces seemed to embellish it further, with it simply disappearing on pristine surfaces.
Handling was as though the MKZ was substantially lighter than the scale would have you believe. Our vectored AWD system even managed to shorten the turning radius when rounding a corner at a higher than average speed. It’s here that we found our driving nirvana. Compared to an Acura TLX, and Lexus ES350, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label is definitely in the hunt.
2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD
Base MSRP: $49,560. As tested: $61,765.
Includes: 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6, $4,000; Panoramic Roof, $1,795; Technology Package, $2,395; Climate Package, $695; Destination, $925.