DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. show cases a new design language as it unwraps its Lincoln MKR concept next week at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The car borrows design cues from Lincoln’s past, including its double-wing grille, which was inspired by the ‘41 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet.

Ford says the split grille is meant to resemble the bow of a boat cutting through the water.

The MKR also represents a new design direction for the Lincoln marque, Peter Horbury, executive director of design-The Americas, says.

“This concept is the ultimate expression of elegant simplicity consistent with the world’s best Lincolns, and this new design language will lead us forward in the growing premium segment,” he says.

Seven key exterior cues will define modern Lincoln design, the auto maker says. These include:

  • Clean, uncluttered surfaces.
  • Powerful, dynamic beltline.
  • Distinctive Lincoln bow-wave, double-wing grille opening.
  • Thin, horizontal taillamps that run from one side to the other.
  • Power C-pillar smoothly transitioning into a cantilevered roof.
  • Powerful cantrail/roofrail.

Although not all of the seven design cues will be found on all future Lincolns, three or four likely will appear on any future production vehicle at one time, the auto maker says.

The 4-door MKR makes ingress and egress easy with its open front-hinged “winged” doors. The rear of the concept is adorned with full-width light-emitting diodes taillamps stretching from side to side.

Ford’s new TwinForce engine family powers the MKR. The concept’s 3.5L gasoline twin-turbocharged direct-injection V-6 performs comparably or better than most V-8 engines, Ford says.

The Twinforce V-6 delivers 415 hp and 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of torque using E85 – an ethanol/gasoline blend.

The car boasts an independent rear suspension for a refined ride and sits on 21-in. chrome aluminum wheels. Michelin tires are adorned with the Lincoln star in the treads.

The inside is illuminated with Ice Blue ambient lighting, another trend expected to be carried into future Lincoln models. Ice Blue can be found throughout the interior, emitting from the door panels, foot wells, seats, center console and a large Lincoln star overhead.

A black-oak instrument panel crafted from recycled wood imbues a touch of “green” into the concept, as do soy-foam seats, Mohair carpeting and a wool headliner.

bpope@wardsauto.com