The Lincoln Town Car is legendary for its ubiquity as a “black car”, a private limo for the well-to-do in New York City and other swanky locales. But with the Panther Platform vehicles (like the Town Car, Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis) set to be killed off very shortly, Lincoln has been scrambling for an alternative.
The new MKT Town Car is a very different machine than the Town Car its replacing. The big sedan was a rear-drive, body-on-frame vehicle that was beloved for its robust nature, cheap repair costs and the ability to go for untold miles without needing anything more than routine maintenance. On the other hand, the MKT is based on a front-drive chassis (though all-wheel-drive is available) and uses a modern V6 engine.
Operators will likely be skeptical that the MKT can handle the rigors of endless commuter duty through the pot-hole ridden pavement of Manhattan, so Lincoln has beefed up the chassis, brakes and other components to handle this task – and to provide a re-enforcements should clients wish to stretch the MKT by 10 feet, a capability built in to the Town Car from the factory. Wi-fi capability, a SYNC system and special rear seat pockets are maps and newspapers are further concessions made for the livery car market.
The rear seats have been moved back by 1.5 inches to allow for more leg room with reclining rear seats and controls for the front passenger chair, should back seat riders desire more leg room. With 39.6 cubic feet of cargo space, the MKT also boasts more room for material objects than the Town Car, even if the old-money cachet of the outgoing vehicle isn’t quite the same.
Hit the jump for the official press release
Gallery: Lincoln MKT Town Car
Lincoln Debuts MKT Town Car Livery and Limousine Models at International LCT Show
• New chauffeur-dedicated Lincoln MKT Town Car Livery and Limousine versions announced to fleet customers at the International LCT show in Las Vegas. • New Lincoln MKT Town Car offers a higher roofline, roomier, more sophisticated seating, a spacious trunk plus even easier passenger entry and exit. • Comfortable and productive work environment for driver and passengers enhanced by technologies including SYNC®, hands-free navigation, standard Wi-Fi capability and a rear view camera system. • MKT Town Car available in two body styles – standard livery version with available all-wheel drive, and stretchable heavy-duty limo with standard all-wheel drive.
LAS VEGAS, Feb. 14, 2011 – Working from a proven platform that offers a luxurious interior with modern technologies, Lincoln is today announcing its chauffeur-dedicated MKT Town Car models designed specifically for fleet customers at the 2011 International LCT (Limousine, Charter, and Tour) show.
Two different MKT Town Car body styles, Livery and Limousine, make their debut in nearproduction form, maintaining Lincoln’s position in the livery industry and building on the success of the well-established Lincoln Town Car sedan.
Lincoln’s next generation of livery solutions using the MKT Town Car are modern, distinctive and high-tech, offering everything owners and passengers are looking for in a luxury ride, including up to 35 more horsepower under the hood.
“Livery operators are looking for a leading livery solution that is reliable and stylish, and the new Lincoln livery and limousine solutions fit the bill in every capacity,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “The new MKT Town Car will be the best available in the livery industry, working off a solid base as the perfect way to achieve the versatility needed for executive transportation or a night out on the town.”
The proportions and higher riding stance of the Lincoln MKT Town Car also offer easier entry and exit for passengers as well as all-wheel drive capability.
The level of craftsmanship built in to the new Lincoln MKT Town Car Livery and Limousine versions is evident with precise panel margins and the high tactile quality of interior surfaces and trim. Quality materials and precision-stitched craftsmanship are evident on every surface, such as the leather-trimmed seating. The vehicle also delivers a luxurious ride quality, consistent with Lincoln’s brand characteristics.
The new Lincoln MKT Town Car Livery version uses a standard MKT chassis and is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, with full technical details to be announced later this year. The heavy-duty Limousine chassis will feature standard all-wheel drive for stretched wheelbase limousine conversion of up to an additional 120 inches (10 feet).
In developing the Lincoln MKT Town Car, engineers worked hand in hand with the Limo/Livery Advisory Board, which provided key input on desired vehicle attributes such as performance, comfort and functionality. In addition to defining the quality, reliability and durability the industry demands, the Advisory Board also talked directly to the people who would be using the vehicles the most – owners, drivers and passengers – to get a better understanding of their wants and needs.
“Extensive research helped ensure we designed the new Lincoln MKT Town Car to truly deliver on the key needs of operators to improve their business and provide end-users modern transportation capable of full connectivity,” said Gerry Koss, fleet marketing manager. “These industry stakeholders made it clear that this vehicle was the right direction because of its great body proportions for overall comfort, including entry and exit. Also, the choice of two or allwheel drive for the Livery model and standard all-wheel drive on the heavy-duty Limousine version was a plus, not to mention Lincoln’s reputation for dependability, especially with specialty vehicles.”
Luxury and Comfort on the go With its exceptional attention to detail, the MKT Town Car Livery model will put its passengers quickly at ease, thanks to redesigned rear seating. The seat has been repositioned rearward by 1.5 inches for additional legroom, providing additional comfort and functionality. There is also a switch on the rear passenger side door that allows a rear seat passenger to control the front passenger seat ahead, providing even more legroom if necessary. The three-person rear seat also reclines for an additional level of comfort.
“Riding in the rear of the new Lincoln MKT Town Car will be a very special experience,” said Scott Tobin, director of Lincoln Product Development. “We’ve enhanced the rear passenger space so passengers can be both extremely comfortable and productive at the same time.”
The new MKT Town Car Livery model provides operators with a cargo capacity of 39.6 cubic feet, more than the outgoing Town Car sedan. With space to stow golf clubs or several pieces of baggage, the luggage area exceeds that of the outgoing Town Car sedan. A mini spare tire is also available to help maximize luggage space.
High-tech touches The new Lincoln MKT Town Car models deliver a wide range of latest technologies aimed at making life easier for the driver and passengers. In-car voice activated navigation and Lincoln SYNC provide a smart and simple way to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives.
“All of these tools will help drivers accomplish just as much in their car as they do now but with less distraction,” said Tobin. “With the latest Lincoln SYNC system, the driver will never have to take hands off the steering wheel when putting an address into the navigation system or when looking at the rear view camera.”
Key features to help passengers stay connected and productive while on the move in the new MKT Town Car include a USB charging port, a 110-volt power socket in the rear seat center console, and Wi-Fi hotspot capability for mobile tablets, laptops and other devices. The audio system controls are also fully accessible to rear seat passengers.
Limousine Heavy-Duty Chassis In addition to the new Livery model, a specially engineered heavy-duty Limousine chassis is also available for the MKT Town Car. The chassis can be stretched by up to 120 inches or 10 additional feet in length, while retaining the standard all-wheel drive capability to ensure a new MKT Town Car Limousine satisfies both operators and customers in all seasons over multiple lengths.
The MKT Town Car Limousine chassis incorporates several heavy-duty components, such as upgraded suspension, electric power-assisted steering system (EPAS) and transmission. Along with standard All-Wheel Drive, the MKT Town Car Limousine chassis also offers unique wheels and tires, unique wheel bearings and an upsized brake system.
The Limousine also has the standard MKT’s third seating row removed, and comes equipped with a full-size spare tire. Available technology includes a rear view camera and SYNC.
“The MKT Town Car Limousine complements the Livery model giving us a comprehensive offering for every operator and passenger situation,” said Koss. “Both vehicles will deliver the features and content this industry requires, in addition to the quality, reliability and durability they demand.”
Technology Under the Skin The new Lincoln MKT Town Car features the same safety technologies available to customers of the standard Lincoln MKT crossover, including the Trinity Front Crash Body Architecture. The energy-absorbing body structure is optimized for strength and stiffness and features octagonal front frame rails, engine/cradle/front subframe and “shotgun” front structural members designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from the passenger compartment.
It also includes Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement architecture (SPACE®) to optimize side-impact occupant protection. The SPACE system integrates a hydroformed high-strength steel tube in the floor that runs the width of the vehicle from B-pillar to B-pillar and reinforcements along the rocker panels to help protect passengers in side-impact incidents.
The Personal Safety System™ combines multiple technologies to tailor the airbag package and seat belt functions to the individual passenger and the accident circumstances. The system can identify variables, such as severity of the crash, weight of the individual passenger and seat belt usage, to adjust airbag deployment force.
Key technologies and features included in the MKT Town Car models include: • Puddle lamps on the rear doors • Map and newspaper pockets in the back of the front seats • Vanity mirrors in the headliner with integrated task light • Continuous rear floor mat for both footwells • Improved rear seating design • Remote start • Rear view camera • BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert • Wi-Fi capability for mobile tablet, laptops and other devices • Lincoln SYNC • Voice activated navigation controls • Second-row 110-volt electric plug and USB mobile phone charger • Tri Zone EATC with Auxiliary HVAC unit
The new Lincoln MKT Town Car models will be manufactured at Oakville Assembly Complex starting next spring. Current Lincoln Town Car production ends this fall, and dealers are working with their livery owners and operator partners to ensure their fleet planning needs are met between now and early next year.