• Is the Lincoln Aviator "mightier" than the McLaren P1 or a Lamborghini Huracan? Lincoln Thinks So

To see is to believe, Lincoln. To see is to believe

When was the last the words “Lincoln” and “supercar” were mentioned in the same sentence? 50 years ago? Never? In any case, Lincoln just swung for the fences with what could possibly be the boldest statement to come out of the 2018 New York Auto Show.America’s once-proud luxury brand is all set to unveil the Aviator SUV, and while that itself is reason enough to get excited, the automaker added fuel to the fire, describing the capabilities of its plug-in hybrid system as “mightier than many supercars on the road today.”

Is the Lincoln Aviator "mightier" than the McLaren P1 or a Lamborghini Huracan? Lincoln Thinks So Exterior
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The Aviator looks like a piece of art, the kind that Lincoln was once known for.

A part of me wishes that this was an early April’s Fool joke that Lincoln just cooked up so we can resume our normal lives. Then again, another part of me is all-in on this proclamation, largely because the Aviator looks the part of an SUV that can get down and dirty with the best supercars in the world today.

To say that the Aviator looks stunning is a massive understatement. It looks like a piece of art, the kind that Lincoln was once known for. Times have changed, but it’s comforting to know that America’s old go-to luxury marquee can still bring out the goods when called upon.

Now about that performance claim. Lincoln didn’t exactly reveal details of what the Aviator is carrying, but photos of the SUV revealed a plug-in hybrid setup. That means we’re looking at a good ol’ one-two combustion and electric motor combination somewhere in there. But seeing as this is Lincoln, it didn’t just fit a typical four-cylinder to pair with the electric motor. Without revealing the juicy bits, the automaker hinted that the Aviator can have a bi-turbo V-6 unit and an electric motor that can join forces to produce supercar-like power and performance numbers.

Is the Lincoln Aviator "mightier" than the McLaren P1 or a Lamborghini Huracan? Lincoln Thinks So Exterior
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The automaker hinted that the Aviator can have a bi-turbo V-6 unit and an electric motor that can join forces to produce supercar-like power and performance numbers.

Certainly, there should be a sprinkle of hyperbole in that statement. For as long as we’ve known about Lincoln, it’s never been the type of company that polishes its own horn as far as power and performance are concerned. But what if it’s actually telling the truth? What if the Lincoln Aviator, as grandiose as it looks, is actually capable of dancing with the world’s supercars?

It’s easy to imagine the possibilities, but like everything else that involves bold promises, we’ll hold our judgments until we see the SUV actually do it. Hell of a way to make an impression, though. Well done on that end, Lincoln. You certainly have our attention now.


Is the Lincoln Aviator "mightier" than the McLaren P1 or a Lamborghini Huracan? Lincoln Thinks So Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

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Read more Lincoln news.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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Press release

Aviator glides into New York this week, offering a preview of The Lincoln Motor Company’s newest vehicle along with a glimpse into the brand’s future, which is moving toward a broader portfolio of utilities and electrification in conjunction with effortless services.

As more consumers choose the spaciousness and capability of SUVs, Lincoln unveils Aviator, a distinctive three-row plug-in hybrid production preview. The “teaser” model serves to preview the direction Lincoln plans to take with its newest SUV when the production model goes on sale next year.

“The Lincoln Navigator continues to turn heads and bring new clients to the brand,” says Joy Falotico, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. “We believe Aviator’s elegant design, state-of-the-art technology and refined plug-in hybrid option will draw even more clients to the Lincoln showroom, including families who are looking for three-row capability.”

With its slim, tapered lines, roomy interior, twin-turbocharged powertrain available with an advanced plug-in hybrid option, the three-row Aviator targets the heart of the premium market, entering the medium luxury SUV segment that represents more than a quarter of all premium SUVs sold. Appealing to millennials starting families, with the majority of vehicles sold to people ages 35 to 44, the medium luxury SUV segment saw sales of more than 585,000 vehicles in 2017.

Aeronautical inspiration

The synchronicity of Aviator’s name and form language is intentional; aeronautics has long inspired automotive design.

“In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined,” says Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse. “You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off – creating a distinct aerofoil analogy.”

The emphasis of graceful lines pulling downward toward the rear – a cue to Aviator’s rear-wheel-drive platform – is what Woodhouse describes as an in-flight gesture. “If you look at a bird or plane in flight, the wing is always at an angle to the air and falling downward toward the rear,” he says. “You see that in the main bodyline of Aviator. From the headlight to the taillight, there’s a beautiful undercut feature varying in depth that connotes poise and grace.”

The iridescent Flight Blue exterior color complements Aviator’s elegant, flowing lines, while the signature Lincoln grille is executed in high-gloss black and chrome accents. A wraparound windshield helps complete the aviation-inspired theme.

Comfort and convenience

The effortless experience begins even before entering the Aviator, as owners can use their smartphone as a key. When it debuts on the production SUV, Phone as a Key technology is expected to be one of the industry’s leading systems. Activated through the Lincoln Way™ app, it allows owners to lock and unlock, open the trunk and, most importantly, start and drive the vehicle – no smart key fob is necessary.

Phone as a Key is designed to offer other amenities similar to a smart key fob. For instance, drivers can activate a locator chirp to find Aviator in a crowded parking lot, or recall their personal profile. Should the phone battery go dead, a backup passcode can be entered on the standard exterior keypad to gain access, then clients can start and proceed to drive the vehicle via the center touch screen. And, if the phone is lost or stolen, Phone as a Key can be easily deleted, providing additional peace of mind.

Inside, Aviator’s spacious, airy cabin accentuates horizontal lines, minimizing visual clutter to deliver a soothing sanctuary. A thoughtfully designed steering wheel is intended for ultimate ease of use, with only subtle finger movements needed to access the many functions it houses.

As comfort is paramount with Aviator, the amenities continue with Perfect Position seats offering 30-way adjustability and massage capability, while flexible second-row seats can recline and slide forward for easy access to the spacious third row.

Wireless phone charging is located in the front armrest, while a convenient media bin is available for passengers in front as well. Multiple power outlets are located throughout the cabin, while standard Wi-Fi ensures everyone stays connected.

An all-new Lincoln Black Label-inspired theme harmoniously combines Shearling Beige and Lunar Gray to further elevate the ambience. Machine-turn aluminum appliqués, brushed in small circles to replicate the shape of early aviation instruments, enhance the theme. The supple leather of the seats is minimally processed to retain its natural texture.

Power, capability and choice

Built on a rear-wheel-drive platform, Aviator allows for the power and capability luxury clients require in a three-row SUV. The platform also serves to enhance Aviator’s elegant proportions, with a long wheelbase allowing for a spacious second and third row.

The Lincoln powertrain is designed for clients interested in options. A twin-turbocharged engine can be paired with the brand’s first advanced plug-in hybrid technology, marking the first time the company will offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain mated to a twin-turbocharged engine. This combination of power and electrified capability will help Aviator deliver Lincoln’s quietest, smoothest, most powerful drive yet.

Offering the capability of its twin-turbocharged engine in combination with a hybrid electric powertrain makes Aviator mightier than many supercars on the road today. The plug-in hybrid experience provides for a responsive, refined ride, with no powertrain-induced noise and vibration when operating on battery charge, yet is capable of using its twin-turbocharged engine if needed, easing range anxiety.

Lincoln Drive Modes allow clients to further customize the drive experience, while a 12-inch standard cluster display confirms the choice with beautiful and dynamic, easy-to-read graphics.

Client-focused technologies, services

Aviator delivers a wealth of advanced technologies designed to assist the driver every step of the way.

With Aviator’s advanced forward camera scanning the road ahead, Lincoln’s first-ever Suspension Preview Technology seamlessly adjusts the suspension for upcoming road conditions. This can help reduce driver stress caused by potholes and bumps in the road.

Aviator will be equipped with Lincoln Co-Pilot360™, an advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping system, reverse camera and auto high-beam lighting.

Aviator offers Reverse Brake Assist, an enhanced driver-assist technology that integrates rear sensors and a camera to provide automatic braking if an obstacle is detected behind the vehicle.

Aviator also debuts a selection of considerate prompts delivered through the newest version of SYNC®. With the introduction of these prompts, or cues, Lincoln advances the brand’s holistic approach to vehicle ownership by bringing those services into the car.

The prompts are designed to deliver helpful information to drivers visually on the cluster display, recommending appropriate actions to help them overcome whatever situation they’re facing. Should they run low on fuel, for example, Aviator will notify them and seamlessly connect them with navigation to offer them the closest gas station options.

“Lincoln is committed to delivering the innovation and features that luxury consumers expect today,” says Falotico. “And, the Aviator is yet another example of how we are creating an effortless experience for our clients.”

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