Ford says the ’13 Lincoln MKZ, debuting at the New York auto show, represents a milestone in the storied luxury brand’s “reinvention.”

The production version’s sheetmetal largely resembles the MKZ concept shown at the Detroit auto show in January, with a sweeping roofline, raked windshield and a modern take on Lincoln’s classic split-wing grille.

“We call it elegantly simple,” Max Wolff, Lincoln design director, says in a statement. “We moved away from traditional luxury cues and complex designs. We came up with something that is warm and rich, yet still intentionally restrained.”

The new Lincoln gets a number of high-tech design cues, including light-emitting diode headlamps and taillamps.

Arguably the most notable exterior feature is the new retractable panoramic roof. The 15.2-sq.-ft. (1.4-sq.-m) glass panel is one of the largest openings available on any current sedan, Ford says. The roof, which stretches the length of the car, maintains the strength of a traditional steel-roof vehicle.

The ’13 MKZ comes available with three engine choices – a 2.0L direct-injected turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cyl., a 3.7L V-6 and a 2.0L hybrid powertrain. Ford says the hybrid model will be North America’s most fuel-efficient premium sedan, with an estimated rating of 41/36 mpg (5.7-6.5 L/100 km) city/highway.

Non-hybrid MKZs are equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission with standard paddle shifters, while the hybrid powertrain is mated to a continuously variable transmission. All models come standard with front-wheel drive, but the two non-hybrids offer an optional all-wheel-drive system.

Inside, the standard shifter is replaced by a push-button transmission shifter, similar to that offered in new Jaguar models. The setup creates space for additional storage areas, Wolff says.

Standard amenities include an 11-speaker sound system, heated seats, remote start and Ford’s patented Active Noise Control system that electronically targets frequencies and reduces their intensity.

Ford is looking to the new model, launching later this year, to help bolster Lincoln sales. Although MKZ deliveries climbed 22.2% to 27,529 units last year, total brand sales were off 0.22% to 85,643, according to WardsAuto data.

In addition to the new models, Ford is working to make the Lincoln ownership experience more rewarding. To that end, it has partnered with Les Clefs d’Or, the international association of hotel concierges. The group is consulting on the new Lincoln Academy, a sales and service associate training program for dealership personnel.

To engage potential customers who are not able to visit a dealership, Lincoln will offer a new 24-hour online service that includes live interaction with a concierge.

Dubbed Lincoln 24/7 Online Concierge, the service will help create a smooth transition between online shoppers and the experience they eventually have in the dealership, Ford says.

bpope@wardsauto.com