Once again, the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is flexing its automotive muscles, as Lincoln is set to unveil a new exclusive line for its entry-level MKZ at the show. Dubbed the Black Label line, this collection of interior and exterior dress-up packages add some extra style, class and exclusivity to the MKZ line, taking it up a notch in the luxury-car realm.
The Black Label line will eventually make its way across the entire Lincoln lineup, but for now where better to start than with its most desired model? The Lincoln MKZ Black Label comes in three different styles: Center Stage, Indulgence and Modern Heritage. Each of the three styles are distinctly different in look and feel, and really offer a custom look to the MKZ that few other lower-level luxury car manufacturers offer.
According to Lincoln, there were more than 12 different design concepts that Lincoln Design took under consideration and these three rose to the top and made the cut. So, can this Black Label line add the premium features that the MKZ so sorely needs to catapult it above the likes of Acura TL and Lexus ES 350 ?
Click past the jump to read about each of the three designs and how they change the MKZ
On the outside, there are not too many additions to any of the Black Label models. All three variants receive blacked-out chrome badges and brake-light-bar surround on the backside.
The Modern Heritage model is highlighted by its Confidential White tri-coat paint, the Indulgence model features a Chroma Couture exterior hue and the Center Stage model has a Black Tie exterior.
We’re sure that more exterior feature will roll out as the package get closer to its official release date, but this is all we have for now.
On the inside is where you can see the majority of the changes, as all three variants feature massive upgrades over the base MKZ. They feature carefully selected leather that delivers a pillow-soft feel and a stunning appearance. Lincoln Design wrapped the seats in Venetian leather for that million-dollar look and feel. Also wrapped in leather is the center console, instrument panel and door panels. The Diamond-L and linking-L stitch patterns on the doors trims and seats further enhance the entire package.
Also included is premium wood trimming on the instrument panel, door appliqués and steering wheel for a woodsy, yet premium look and feel that is unmatched by Lexus or Acura.
Alcantara is oft recognized as the best complementary material for a premium interior and Lincoln spared no expense in adding it to the Black Label packages. All three variants have their headliners, sun visors and floor mats coated in this luxurious material.
Onto the specifics for each Black Label model:
The Modern Heritage flavor takes the classic black-and-white approach and kicks it up a notch with the addition of slight red accents throughout. Wood trimming with flakes between its layers is the perfect complement to the supple, white leather throughout the cabin. This is far and away the most classically beautiful of the three models.
The Indulgence model changes the Venetian leather to a truffle — light tan — and ganache combination. Exclusive to this model is the highly desired Ziricote wood trimming with a natural grain that adds an even more classic feel to this modern interior, as it isn’t dyed or stained. This wood often sees use in million-dollar yachts; so, yeah, it’s pretty dang fancy...
Center Stage is for clients that want just that: to be on center stage. Thanks to its Jet Black interior with Foxfire Red Alcantara headliner and center console, this MKZ is set to draw all eyes to it. Also strewn throughout the interior are mild red highlights, which you can find on the instrument panel and on the uniquely perforated seats.
The Black Label packages offer nothing more then aesthetic additions, so the drivetrain remains unchanged. As standard, the MKZ features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger with a respectable 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The standard setup is front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an available option with the 2.0-liter engine.
Independent testing pegged the base MKZ with AWD at 7.2 seconds to 60 mph and we assume the front-wheel-drive model will come in just a few ticks slower.
With the optional 3.7-liter V-6 that pumps out 300 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque and optional AWD, the MKZ drops to a quick 6.7-second spring to 60 mph.
The Black Label is simply a optional package, so buyers can check the box on the options list and it adds to the base price of the MKZ. Lincoln has yet to announce the package pricing.
The Lexus ES 350 does not have a package that truly rivals the class of the Black Label, but it does have the optional Ultra-Luxury Package, which adds $9,230 to the ES 350’s base $36,370 price and tons of premium features to the model, like bird’s-eye maple wood trimming, semi-aniline perforated leather seating and ambient interior lighting.
The ES checks in with a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque, which is good for a 6.5-second sprint to 60 mph. Unfortunately, the ES line does not offer a base four-cylinder model for entry-level shoppers.
Gallery Lexus ES
The 2013 TL is another car that doesn’t really have a package to compete with the Black Label MKZ, but its Technology Package has a few features that rival the Black Label, like Milano Premium Leather.
The TL comes standard with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that puts down 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque, which is good for a 6.9-second run to 60 mph. The optional 3.7-liter with SH-AWD jumps the output to 305 ponies and 273 pound-feet and drops the 60 mph sprint to 5.7 seconds.
Gallery Acura TL
The Black Label package is a welcome addition to the MKZ lineup. Overall, the MKZ hasn’t had a lot of success and it needed a shot in the arm to boost it a little. These three new package may as well be the injection it needed.
- Three to choose from
- From classy to wild
- Super-premium leathers and woods
- No prices
- Adding premium fit and finish to a poor design doesn’t really fix it
- The MKZ is still ugly...
Gallery Lincoln MKZ Black Label
NEW LINCOLN BLACK LABEL COLLECTION FOR THE LUXURY CUSTOMER PREVIEWED AT PEBBLE BEACH
- Lincoln Black Label previews a new and higher level expression of Lincoln design, style, materials, craftsmanship and personal service and experience
- Ultra-premium materials and meticulous execution complement three stylish and sophisticated themes from Lincoln Design team
- Brand and dealers to collaborate on consistent, personal and integrated customer experience that respects the luxury of time
Lincoln, the luxury automobile brand, today previewed Lincoln Black Label, a collection of ultra-premium exterior and interior themes mated to an even higher level of personal services and experiences that mark the next step in the brand’s reinvention.
Showcased on an all-new MKZ and the MKC Concept, Lincoln Black Label eventually will be available on every new Lincoln vehicle. This full-range availability enables more vehicles in the model portfolio to be equipped with this higher-level expression of luxury than currently offered by any competitor.
“The new Lincoln Motor Company is built on three foundational elements – design, quality and personal service; Black Label represents our highest expression of these elements,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln.
“The progressive luxury client craves to know the story behind the products and services they engage – they want to feel that personal connection. That’s at the heart of Black Label; we want to provide special experiences for every Black Label client before, during and after they choose their new Lincoln vehicle.”
Lincoln and Black Label dealers will collaborate to create a consistent, personal and integrated client shopping and ownership experience. The entire process will provide respect for the luxury of time with a complete suite of elevated customer services to be unveiled at the time of Black Label market introduction.
Limited-edition design themes, ultra-premium materials, meticulous execution and elevated client service will be the hallmarks of Lincoln Black Label.
Black Label was conceived and designed by a select Lincoln Design team to reflect the breadth of the brand. In its earlier days, Lincoln was a favorite vehicle for unique, sophisticated and luxurious bespoke exterior and interior themes. This has inspired a new direction to provide a higher level of luxury available to all clients of the brand – not just those who purchase the most expensive, top-of-range models.
Creating a family of elegant themes that represents confidence and sophistication, each of the three interior environments presented at the preview is coordinated with exclusive exterior colors.
The materials for each interior environment have been selected to reflect the team’s desire to create a warm and sophisticated package that also tells a story.
After starting with nearly two dozen concepts, the Lincoln Black Label design team honed in on a select few themes, each inspired by trends in fashion, food and architecture as well as lifestyles and experiences.
“Each of the theme-based offerings from Black Label is designed with a specific customer profile in mind,” said Susan Lampinen, group chief designer, Color and Material Design. “Lincoln Black Label will offer a variety of choices as well as a narrative that speaks to luxury clients – we want them to feel a personal connection with the theme and see themselves in the car.”
Lincoln Black Label themes
Center Stage, inspired by fashion and theater, is designed for the most expressive clients. The Jet Black interior is highlighted by a Foxfire Red headliner, capturing the drama of being in a dark theater with the impact of a rich, deep red accent color. Alcantara suede with uniquely designed perforation adds plush texture to the doors and seats.
Indulgence is inspired by the lure of premium chocolate to ignite a rich sensory experience. Ganache- and Truffle-colored Venetian leather with a subtle antiqued finish adds richness and depth. The Ziricote wood trim features a beautiful natural grain and color inherent in the wood with no added dyes or stains. This wood - new to the automotive industry - is often used in high-end yachts.
Modern Heritage offers a fresh take on the classic black-and-white interior with subtle red accents. Designed for the client who appreciates a clean, modern aesthetic, the soft white interior is warm and inviting. Renewed and engineered wood trim - imbued with metal flake between its layers - creates a sparkling effect to stylishly highlight this modern classic design.
The selection of Lincoln MKZs with Black Label execution includes:
Indulgence with Chroma Couture exterior and Truffle interior
Center Stage with Black Tie exterior and Jet Black with Foxfire Red accents interior
Modern Heritage with Confidential White tri-coat exterior with Vianca interior
MKC Concept features Chroma Flame exterior with its Modern Heritage theme.
Material selection, meticulous execution and craftsmanship will elevate Lincoln Black Label vehicles. Lincoln Black Label materials experts examined options from the entire sphere of luxury offerings to create the Black Label palette.
“Because Lincoln Black Label is our highest offering of the expression of personal luxury, we took our materials selections personally as well,” said Lampinen. “We believe this personal touch and involvement will help separate Lincoln from other offerings.”
Specialty leathers: Carefully selected and engineered to deliver the softest feel with a premium appearance, the seats are made from Venetian leather. Custom-made for Lincoln Black Label, less than 1 percent of hides globally meet the requirements for becoming Venetian leather.
The instrument panel, center console and doors are leather-wrapped and stitched. Subtle Diamond-L and Linking-L perforation patterns specially designed for Black Label accent the seats and door trim.
Natural woods: Sought out globally and selected for maximum richness of color and grain, these woods for the instrument panel, door appliqués and steering wheel bezel complement the themes. The Ziricote wood used with Indulgence was selected because its natural beauty resonates without stains or dyes.
Alcantara®: A long-recognized premium material associated with high design in a variety of industries, including interior design, consumer electronics and aviation, as well as automotive, Lincoln designers specifically selected it to wrap the headliners, visors and pillars and to trim the floor mats.
Clients interested in acquiring a Lincoln Black Label-equipped vehicle will find the shopping and selection process personal and enjoyable. Whether a client’s first point of contact is through the Lincoln website or at the dealership, Black Label experts will guide them through the process. Lincoln Black Label is intended to launch near the end of 2014.
“Lincoln Black Label will offer an experience for our clients that will engage them, not overwhelm them,” said Farley. “Lincoln Black Label is another important step in our brand’s reinvention to appeal to a whole new group of progressive luxury clients.”