2015 Lincoln MKZ Black Label
The Lincoln MKZ debuted for the 2006 model year as a dressed-up, luxury, midsize sedan based on the popular Ford Fusion. The MKZ was also the first of the MK-series of Lincoln vehicles. At first a rather boxy four-door using Ford’s CD3, front-wheel-drive platform, the MKZ was completely redesigned for the 2013 model year, when it received a more aggressive body shell with improved aerodynamics, and a swooping roofline. Overall, the second-gen MKZ is rather gorgeous to look at. The 2013 model year also marked the introduction of the MKZ Black Label concept, which showcased exclusive interior packages meant to the sedan further up the luxury scale. Two years have passed since then, and the MKZ Black Label finally made its debut as a production car.
Meanwhile only offered on the MKZ and MKC, the Black Label package focus wraps around four distinct interior packages that blend high-grade leather, massive amounts of Alcantara and some of the finest wood trims. The bundle also comes with a special set of wheels, as well as six exclusive exterior colors. In addition, Black Label owners will enjoy a number of special privileges, including extended premium service and maintenance, anytime car washes, and a no-cost rental vehicle. Read on for the full details.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Lincoln MKZ Black Label.
2015 Lincoln MKZ Black Label
0-60 time:7 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:155 mph (Est.)
Just like the MKC Black Label, the MKZ Black Label comes with an understated exterior. New features include six exclusive body colors, different wheels and a special "MKZ" badge for the trunk lid. The latter consists of high-gloss black "M" and "K" letters, while the "Z" is finished in chrome.
Exterior colors unique to the Black Label line include Black Tie, Confidential White, Crystal Silver, Chroma Flame, Chroma Couture and Notorious. Chroma Flame is a deep shade of red, Chroma Couture presents itself as a rich brown, while Notorious stands for a vibrant blue. Although Lincoln has only released photos of the Confidential White model, I’m quite confident all these colors go well with the MKZ’s stylish lines.
Moving over to the wheels, the MKZ Black Label is equipeed with standard 19-inch, painted aluminum rollers. A set of polished aluminum wheels, also measuring 19 inches in diameter, is available as an option. Besides the special finish, the wheels also come with a unique Lincoln badge on the center of the rim.
Most of the Black Label’s luxurious features can be found inside the cabin. Four different packages are available — each inspired from various sources — with premium materials and a level of craftsmanship never before seen on a modern-day Lincoln.
The unique themes kick off with Indulgence, a package inspired "the allure of rich, sumptuous chocolate" and highlighted by Truffle-colored Venetian leather with extra richness and depth due to a complex aging process and Ganache-colored Alcantara. Not exactly delicious, but tasteful nonetheless. The leather wraps everything from the seats to the door panels and the armrests, while Alcantara is used for the headliner and the pillars. Black accent stitching and a linking-L perforation pattern complements Truffle leather, while the Ziricote wood trim on the instrument panel and doors adds more style to the interior.
The second theme is dubbed Center Stage and it’s a little more dramatic than the previous one. Inspired by the "drama of theater arts and fashion," this trim level comes with Jet Black leather and Alcantara, and Foxfire Red stitching. The Black Stripe wood trim enhances the cabin’s classy feel even further.
If Center Stage is too dark for your taste, there’s the Modern Heritage theme for a more balanced contrast. It features a combination of Vianca White leather seats and center console, Jet Black upper door panels, Crimson Red accents, and Black Argento wood trims.
The fourth theme is called Oasis. Inspired by the "warmth and serenity of a spa," it is also a combination of soft colors and darker hues. The lighter Oasis hue if found on the leather seats and the Alcantara headliner and pillars, while the darker Island color is present on the instrument panel and the center console. The wood trim for this theme consists of an American Walnut Burl with a natural open-pore finish.
The Black Label upgrade leaves the engine compartment unaltered, meaning customers get to choose one of the three available drivertrains for the standard 2015 MKZ.
First up is the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost rated at 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The unit mates to a six-speed automatic and comes with standard front-wheel-drive, while all-wheel drive is optional. More power comes from the available 3.7-liter V-6, which cranks out 300 ponies and 277 pound-feet of torque. The same six-speed autobox routes the oomph to the front wheels as standard and to all four corners with the AWD option enabled.
Those willing to sacrifice horsepower for fuel efficiency can go with the MKZ Hybrid. This fuel sipper uses a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle inline-four making 188 horses and 129 pound-feet of torque, an electronic CVT, and front-wheel-drive. Granted, the MKZ Hybrid is the slowest of the pack, but it returns up to 41 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. For reference, the MKZ EcoBoost is good for 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, while the MKZ V-6 returns 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Both figures are available for FWD models.
The premium for adding the Black Label goodies on the MKZ is $5,995. The base car retails from $35,190, meaning the most affordable MKZ Black Label will set you back at least $41,185. This sticker is available for both 2.0-liter EcoBoost and Hybrid models. Should you add the Black Label package to range-topping, 3.7-liter, V-6 car, the price jumps to $42,415.
The premium also includes four years or 50,000 miles of extended premium service for certain parts, complementary loaner car if your MKZ is in the shop, free pickup and delivery if you live within 30 miles of a Black Label dealer — only 32 dealers in six states will be opened until late 2015 — annual detailing, anytime car washes and a Culinary Collection membership.
Although the ES became a full-size vehicle in 2012, Lincoln continues to use the Lexus as a benchmark for the MKZ. The brand has released numerous ads comparing its rebodied and upscale Ford Fusion to the Lexus ES, claiming to offer more interior room, better fuel economy and more standard features.
It’s not surprising the ES sets a the benchmark in this segment. The sedan is both stylish and sporty, while the interior is luxurious, yet classy. Two drivetrains are available in the U.S., starting with the 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 264 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The second drivetrain is the hybrid combo bringing together a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-banger and an electric motor. Total output sits at 200 horsepower. Although the 0-to-60 mph sprint is far from enticing at 7.8 seconds, the ES 300h returns up to 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
Pricing for the 2015 Lexus ES starts from $37,550.
The Acura TLX is a brand-new sedan Lincoln has also been using to highlight the MKZ’s superior fuel economy. Launched for the 2015 model year as a replacement for the aging TL, the TLX received a modern and sportier exterior, along with a more upscale interior and new technology.
Two engines are available with the TLX. The 2.4-liter, inline-four cranks out 209 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque, which reaches the wheels through an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The brawnier, 3.5-liter, V-6 mill, which can only be paired to a nine-speed automatic, has been updated to generate 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Both units come with Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) handling technology, while the V-6 can also be has with the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.
Pricing for the 2015 TLX starts from $30,995 and goes beyond $44,700 with the range-topping model.
Granted, the Black Label package is exquisite as far as interior upgrades go, sporting enough glitter to outgun offerings from entry-level luxury brands such as Acura. Unfortunately, the overall package isn’t enough to put Lincoln on par with the likes of BMW, Audi or Cadillac, but it’s good to see the American brand is trying to shake off its dusty image. It might take a while for Lincoln to get where Ford wants it to be, but the Black Label package is an important step towards a brighter future.