2006 Lincoln Zephyr

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Mid-size, five-passenger luxury sedan

With the all-new 2006 Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln will introduce an entirely new generation of consumers to the qualities that have made Lincoln a classic American luxury marque for more than 70 years.

2006 Lincoln Zephyr - rear/side2006 Lincoln Zephyr - rear/side

Qualities such as bold and distinctive exterior design; an interior that is rich and inviting, featuring high-quality materials throughout; and a driving experience that can be both luxurious and spirited, according to the driver's desires.

As a mid-size, five-passenger sedan, the Zephyr will offer younger buyers a luxury automobile with the comfort and refinement befitting a Lincoln. In this way, Zephyr will appeal to a completely new segment of buyers.

This closely mirrors the mission of the original 1936 Lincoln Zephyr, which was introduced as the entry point for Lincoln luxury with a starting price of $1,400. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

EXTERIOR: Classic, understated elegance

The exterior design of the Zephyr incorporates classic elements of Lincoln style – elements that have, over time, become essential to the visual heritage of the brand.

The family resemblance starts at the front, with Lincoln's traditional waterfall grille. Situated between a set of jewel-like, quad projector-beam or optional HID headlamps, the treatment is recognizable as Lincoln.

The Lincoln Zephyr's side profile features chrome trim at the beltline and on the mirror caps, set off by the wheels. The 17-inch alloy wheels are an important design element, available with a machined appearance or a chromed-aluminum finish. Low-profile tires reinforce the low, purposeful stance of the car.

Wrap around LED taillights accent the clean rear fascia.

The rear bumper surface is nearly flush, contributing to the clean, uncluttered lines. Twin chrome tailpipes are set wide apart below thin horizontal reflectors in the lower fascia, similar in placement to the front fog lamps. Together, the flush bumper and chrome-tipped dual exhausts communicate a subtle athleticism.

INTERIOR: Unpretentious luxury

In the interior, real wood, high-quality leather, and aluminum trim highlight a cabin that continues Lincoln's reputation for interiors that deliver visual and tactile interest using genuine materials. White electro-luminescent lighting illuminates the round, chrome-ringed gauges, complementing the interior's white lighting, which uses white LEDs to backlight controls and switches at night.

The instrument panel features a horizontal band of contrasting trim in one of four natural surfaces: Finely ribbed aluminum, finely ribbed aluminum with a dark finish, dark Ebony wood or light Maple.

"The light Maple gives the interior a fresh and exciting look," says Marek Reichman, director of interior design strategy. "The dark Ebony is classic and elegant for a more traditional sense of luxury. The aluminum, with its lightly raised ribbing, is very technical and modern. We were able to establish four completely different ambient settings through use of these materials."

The Lincoln Zephyr interior blends real wood, supple leather, contrasting chrome- and satin-finished trim and four different ambient settings.

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr is designed for comfort, too, with more than three feet of rear-passenger legroom. The spacious feel of the cabin was achieved by stretching the width of the base architecture by 30 millimeters and the wheelbase by 55 millimeters.

The Lincoln Zephyr features a large 15.8-cubic foot trunk with a flat load floor and a low lift-over height. The decklid has compact hinge mechanisms that won't impinge on trunk volume or crush cargo. The rear seats feature standard 60/40-split backs that individually fold flat with a convenient spring assist, giving access to the trunk and affording cavernous storage space.

Thanks to a rigid and robust structure, the quiet interior is the perfect environment for the industry's first THX II-Certified® audio system. Optional on the Lincoln Zephyr, the system features surround-sound worthy of an upscale cinema. The system features ten speakers and a sophisticated processor that inputs bandwidth, peak audio levels and coverage uniformity to deliver a smooth spectral balance and wide dynamic range. To ensure that driver and passengers always travel well – and with the right directions – a new DVD-based navigation system is available. The system includes most of North America on a single disc and features a sharp, 6.5-inch-wide screen and text-to-speech technology for travel directions aloud in English, Spanish or French.
POWERTRAIN: Powerful and green

The standard Duratec 30 DOHC V-6 with i-VCT produces 210 hp and 200 foot-pounds of torque.

The Duratec 30 V-6 is the heart of Lincoln Zephyr's powertrain. Using intake Variable Cam Timing (i-VCT) to improve torque and reduce emissions, the engine generates 210 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque. More importantly, it is the cleanest Duratec 30 ever, and will be rated for ULEV II tailpipe emissions in California, with a U.S. federal government rating of Tier II, Bin 5 tailpipe and LEV II evaporative emissions in states outside California.

The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transaxle – gradually emerging as the new industry standard for luxury cars. The innovative, wide-ratio transmission plays a key role in Lincoln Zephyr's performance and smooth operation. The overall span of the ratios is approximately 6:1 versus 4.5:1 for a typical five-speed, which allows this smaller, more fuel-efficient engine to deliver efficient gas mileage along with a strong performance feel. Another bonus is that the modern six-speed automatic is lighter than some competitor's four- and five-speed transaxles, boosting performance and economy further.

The Lincoln Zephyr also uses an electronic throttle control that works with the electronically controlled transaxle to ensure seamless shifts.

SUSPENSION: Quiet ride, nimble handling

Lincoln Zephyr's chassis is tuned for a quiet, comfortable ride with confident, responsive handling. All aspects of the fully independent suspension – dampers, spring rates and bushings – have been specially selected and tuned with an emphasis on ride comfort, without sacrificing precise and nimble response.

The short- and long-arm front suspension and steering gear are mounted to the front subframe.

The standard 17-inch tires, with their wide P225/50 profile, were selected to complement the suspension tuning, and for their quiet tread design. In fact, compared with other tires tested, they reduce interior sound levels by six decibels.

The rack-and-pinion steering system was tuned to be in harmony with the suspension and tires. Utilizing the car's stiff structure, the Lincoln Zephyr mounts the steering gear to the front perimeter subframe for reduced noise and vibration. Doing so enables the driver to better experience the car's relationship to the pavement via the steering wheel – no matter if it's a power-assisted parking maneuver or a high-speed lane change.
SAFETY: The essential luxury

Lincoln Zephyr incorporates a number of highly advanced safety technologies. It was designed with Ford's Personal Safety System™ and a body structure optimized to help manage energy in a crash.

Standard front-seat thorax air bags and two-row side curtain air bags offer protection during side impacts.

Lincoln Zephyr's Personal Safety System includes standard driver and front passenger air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for thorax protection, and three-point safety belts at all seating positions, with front-seat pretensioners and retractors. A full-length safety curtain provides head-protection coverage over the length of the window glass area – from A-pillar to C-pillar.

The new air bags can prevent both front and rear occupants from hitting their heads on the side window or roof pillars in a severe side collision. In addition, the side-curtain air bag can help block glass splinters or other objects that could cause injury in a side impact.

Lincoln Zephyr's new two-row air curtains also feature "roll-fold" technology – exclusive in the mid-size segment. If an occupant is resting his or her head against a window, the air bag is designed to slide between the glass and occupant as it fills. Typical side air curtains unfold like an accordion, using the occupant's head to keep the bag between the glass and the body. Lincoln's roll-fold keeps the air curtain against the glass, even when the occupant is out of position.

Lincoln Zephyr features four-wheel disc brakes with a 4-sensor, 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD). By measuring brake force and directing braking to the wheels that have the best grip, EBD helps achieve shorter stopping distances even before ABS activates. Traction assist is also standard.

CLOSING THOUGHTS: Delivering on the promise

Lincoln Mercury's revitalization is built on strong products: 11 new vehicles, in six new segments, including five new Lincolns over four years. The Lincoln Zephyr follows the Mark LT truck and the concept version of the next-generation Aviator as the third new Lincoln unveiled thus far – all three in new segments for the brand.

"This is a growth strategy for Lincoln, and we've proven that it works," says Hazel. "The Navigator was a huge hit for Lincoln, and the Lincoln Zephyr expands the brand into the fast-growing premium mid-size market."

Lincoln Zephyr will be built at Ford Motor Company's Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico. The all-new sedan goes on sale in the fall of 2005 in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Chassis

DRIVING WELL: The Lincoln experience

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr is designed to deliver comfort with an additional level of responsiveness. It starts with a well-designed chassis tuned for ride comfort.

A team of engineers who specialize in dealing with noise, vibration and harshness went well beyond adding sound-deadening material. For example, the side windows of the Lincoln Zephyr use 4.8-millimeter thick glass to reduce wind noise.

In order to meet their goal of a quiet, refined driving environment, they relied upon some powerful tools. Every phase of the design process was tested utilizing a computerized "virtual build." This assured proper fit and tight tolerances, which in turn enabled class-leading torsional rigidity.

The Lincoln Zephyr is based on the new CD3 chassis architecture, which incorporates best practices from throughout Ford Motor Company. Because of this attention to detail, the new Lincoln Zephyr has a high torsional rigidity – a measure of vehicle stiffness. A stiff structure allows the suspension to be designed to absorb more of the harshness of daily driving before it can reach the passenger compartment.

GETTING THE BRAKES: Reduced noise, increased performance

Key attributes of performance, from braking to wind noise to NVH, were measured against an engineering "health chart" to track actual performance versus standards established for each category.

Brake performance was an example of one area that received such scrutiny. Short stopping distances are as important as brakes that feel controllable. Overly aggressive brakes feel "grabby" and do not inspire confidence.

Engineers specified brake rotors with increased thickness and diameters, 282 x 25 millimeters in front and 279 x 10 millimeters in the rear. To help ensure that initial brake-pedal travel was short and demonstrated firm pedal response, the calipers were built to extremely high tolerances to deliver confident stopping performance.

The Lincoln Zephyr also comes standard with anti-lock braking (ABS) and a traction assist system that works by reducing engine torque as necessary when it senses impending wheel slip. Traction control can be turned off manually if desired.

As a result of this commitment to braking quality, Lincoln Zephyr passes internal tests designed to replicate the grueling ten-stop brake-fade testing developed by the German car buff magazine Auto Motor und Sport

NICE TREADS: Chassis-tuned tires

The standard 17-inch tires with a wide P225/50 profile were specifically engineered for Lincoln Zephyr to deliver good ride quality, responsive handling and reduced cabin noise. They were selected with two main characteristics in mind: the degree of sidewall flex and belt construction.

The tires complement the car's suspension tuning for a luxurious ride, while the tread pattern provides good wet-weather grip and quiet operation on dry roads. In fact, the tires alone resulted in a 6.0 decibel reduction in cabin noise compared with other tread patterns that were tested.

SMOOTH STEERING: Reassuring feel, precise execution

As with the tires, the power rack-and-pinion steering has been uniquely tuned to complement the chassis.

"We wanted to retain easy parking efforts, despite the wide tires, so there's more assist at low speeds," says Kerry Baldori, Lincoln Zephyr vehicle engineering manager. "At the same time, the steering system provides reassuring feedback with linear torque buildup at higher speeds. This produces the kind of steering feel you would expect in a European sport luxury car."

INDEPENDENT THINKING: Fully independent suspension, total comfort

The dampers, spring rates and bushings in the fully independent suspension of the Lincoln Zephyr have been specially selected and tuned with emphasis on comfort and confident response.

"As soon as you sit in Zephyr – before you even start it – you know this is a Lincoln," says Baldori. "The driving experience reinforces that. You have the feeling of confidence, comfort and sportiness in a balanced package that is fun to drive."

Engineers sought a well-controlled feeling for what they refer to as Lincoln Zephyr's "primary ride," which involves vehicle movement in response to large changes in road surfaces, such as undulations at intersections. To achieve a satisfactory primary ride, the suspension geometry was carefully optimized. In addition, Lincoln Zephyr's fully independent suspension helps to soak up road imperfections, such as expansion joints in highways.

The front suspension of Lincoln Zephyr is a short- and long-arm (SLA) design, with a double-ball-joint control arm and coil-over damper suspension. In comparison with the more common MacPherson strut arrangement, the SLA design puts the effective kingpin axis farther outboard. This contributes to a reduced scrub radius and helps to isolate steering from undesirable feedback and less sensitivity to wheel imbalance.

Rebound springs in the front dampers help reduce harshness at the extremes of wheel travel. In addition, they help to reduce vehicle pitch under acceleration and limit body roll during cornering.

For the rear suspension, Lincoln Zephyr uses a multi-link arrangement. Bushing rates were tuned to give Lincoln Zephyr a softer secondary ride quality, for comfort that is appropriate for a mid-size luxury sedan.

Safety

SAFE HAVEN: Zephyr offers built-in safety

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr includes Ford Motor Company's Personal Safety System™, which provides a combination of safety features, such as standard driver and front passenger air bags, front passenger classification sensing and three-point safety belts at all seating positions, with front-seat pretensioners and retractors. A standard package of seat-deployed side air bags for thorax protection and a full-length safety curtain for head protection provides an additional layer of side-impact safety.

Additionally, the Lincoln Zephyr was designed to meet stringent new side-impact standards, including a test by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an industry trade group that simulates being broadsided by a pickup or sport utility.

PILLARS OF STRENGTH: Safety cage construction

Elements of Lincoln Zephyr's steel safety cage are specifically engineered to provide robust protection at the occupant level, while channeling side-impact forces into energy-absorbing structures in the floor pan.

Lincoln Zephyr's side protection includes:

* Two foam blocks between the inner door panels and interior trim, aligned with occupants' chests and hips
* Energy-absorbing interior trim panels
* Side-intrusion beams inside the door, anchored at the hinge and latch for maximum strength
* Available seat-deployed thorax air bags for front occupants and side-curtain air bags for head protection in both rows.

In addition, the B-pillars feature higher strength steel in the upper portion to protect the cabin and steel with less tensile strength on the lower portion to help direct impact into the rocker panels. These panels are constructed of an advanced, dual-phase steel that offers exceptional energy-absorbing properties plus the ultimate strength of a much larger, much heavier section – up to a quarter-inch thick – of traditional high-strength steel. This helps to channel energy below the level of the occupants. At the torso level and above, the structure helps to prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment.

For front and rear impact protection, Lincoln Zephyr benefits from new technology. A layer of plastic composite made from polycarbonate and polyester – with tensile strength of 12,000 pounds per square inch – is placed behind the front fascia. It absorbs energy so efficiently that it has the added benefit of allowing designers to give Lincoln Zephyr a nearly flush front fascia without the appearance of a protruding bumper. The material maintains its impact performance to a temperature of more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The front frame rails also use laser-welded blanks, combining strength with the ability to collapse and absorb energy on impact.

Energy that is not absorbed by the rails is channeled into the lower vehicle structure. Strong, fully boxed rocker panels transfer the load rearward.

Although final crash test performance figures won't be confirmed until the vehicle goes on sale, Lincoln expects full-frontal and offset-frontal crash performance to be among the best in the mid-size segment.

Energy-absorbing crash structures also are engineered into the rear of the vehicle.

IT'S IN THE BAG: Front thorax and roll-fold curtain air bags

The Lincoln Zephyr also offers a package of side air bags that includes seat-deployed torso bags for front occupants, as well as a two-row air curtain that provides head-protection coverage over the length of the window glass area – from A-pillar to C-pillar.

The new air bags can prevent both front and rear occupants from hitting their heads on the side window or roof pillars in a severe side collision. In addition, the side-curtain air bag can help block glass splinters or other objects that could cause injury in a side impact.

The Lincoln Zephyr's new two-row air curtains also feature "roll-fold" technology – exclusive in the mid-size segment. If an occupant is resting his or her head against a window, the air bag is designed to slide between the glass and occupant as it fills. Typical side air curtains unfold like an accordion, using the occupant's head to keep the bag between the glass and the body.

Lincoln's roll-fold keeps the air curtain against the glass, even when the occupant is out of position.

ELECTRONIC ANGELS: Watch over you

The ability to avoid an accident is an essential component of a safe vehicle. To reduce the risk that the driver will lose control on slippery surfaces, the Lincoln Zephyr offers electronic safety features that include standard traction control and anti-lock braking. For added prevention against flat tires, a tire pressure monitoring system also is standard.

For security, Lincoln Zephyr features a perimeter anti-theft system and keyless keypad entry – exclusive in this class – for the power door locks. Remote door-lock and trunk-lid release buttons that more commonly reside on the key fob have now been integrated into the key base for convenience.

Rear doors are equipped with child safety locks. The projector-beam headlamps feature an automatic shutoff with delay for convenient lighting after parking at night.

Environment

EASY BEING GREEN: Cleanest Duratec to date

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr comes standard with a highly advanced powertrain featuring the 3.0-liter Duratec 30 V-6 engine. It uses intake Variable Cam Timing (i-VCT) to improve engine torque for better acceleration. Combined with its six-speed automatic transmission and its ideally spaced set of gear ratios, Lincoln Zephyr offers spirited driving performance and good fuel economy.

The Lincoln Zephyr Duratec 30 meets ULEV II emissions regulations in California.

Along with this blend of performance and economy, Lincoln Zephyr's Duratec 30 will be rated for ULEV II tailpipe emissions in California, with a U.S. government federal rating of Tier II, Bin 5 tailpipe and LEV II evaporative emissions outside California.

VIRTUAL BUILD: Zero environmental impact

Another Lincoln Zephyr nod to the environment is that before the first piece of sheet metal is stamped, Zephyr has already been built countless times in software simulations.

Using the power of Ford engineering's supercomputers, Lincoln Zephyr engineers were able to build an entire car in an exact reproduction of the assembly plant. This "virtual build" process includes every phase of the vehicle assembly process, including the paint shop.

Each time a change was made or a stamping was redesigned, virtual build lessened Lincoln Zephyr's impact on the environment, with no waste and no harmful emissions.

DURATEC 30 V-6: High tech, low emissions

The 3.0-liter Duratec 30 V-6 engine features all-aluminum construction, dual overhead cams, coil-on-plug ignition, four valves per cylinder and electronic throttle control. It is further enhanced with intake Variable Cam Timing (i-VCT) to improve engine torque for better acceleration while reducing emissions.

The i-VCT's computer-controlled system varies the timing of the two intake cams – one in each cylinder head – based on factors that include engine speed and load. The valvetrain employs hydraulically lash-adjusted roller-finger followers for smooth, quiet operation. As a result of this sophisticated technology, the Duratec 30 in the Zephyr makes 210 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque and can go 150,000 miles before requiring its first major tune-up.

HYDROMOUNTS: Reduce powertrain vibration

Lincoln Zephyr's engine and transmission use three hydromounts, which are fluid-filled bushings with special internal chambers that absorb vibration and act much like shock absorbers for the powertrain. The damping effect of the hydromounts also contributes to the feeling of a smooth idle and shifts.

The hydromounts are in a pendulum-style array above the engine within the front chassis structure, versus the more common "cradle" system in which the engine rests upon its mounts. The geometric placement of the mounts helps to isolate various forces acting on the engine and transmission so that the mounts can be tailored to absorb specific types of vibration.

To further refine engine character and improve durability, the Duratec 30 features a deep-skirted engine block. A front engine cover made from sandwiched sheet metal using constrained layer damping technology also helps to absorb noise from vibrations.

GREEN TONES: Clean, refined exhaust

Twin chrome-tipped exhausts situated behind a single central muffler help reduce back pressure for added performance and a very restrained exhaust note. The system was designed to provide the most direct exhaust route possible, minimizing bends to assure free flow.

The Lincoln Zephyr joins the new 2005 Lincoln Navigator in leading the luxury market into advanced six-speed transmissions. Along with this new level of performance, Lincoln Zephyr delivers the cleanest Duratec 30 to date. It will be rated for ULEV II tailpipe emissions in California, and receive a U.S. EPA rating of Tier II, Bin 5 tailpipe and LEV II evaporative emissions in other states.

SMOOTH SHIFTING: Six-speed automatic

The Lincoln Zephyr is able to respond readily to its driver's demands, thanks to the pairing of the latest version of the proven Duratec 30 V-6 engine with a premium six-speed automatic transmission. A torque-based electronic throttle control works with the electronically controlled transmission by adjusting throttle plate movement to tailor torque to the timing of each shift. In this way, the transmission is able to deliver smooth, barely perceptible gear changes.

The use of a wide-ratio transaxle – with its overall span of approximately 6:1, versus 4.5:1 for a typical five-speed – allows a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine to deliver exceptional gas mileage along with a strong performance feel. Another bonus is that the modern six-speed automatic is lighter than competitive four- and five-speed transaxles, boosting performance and economy further.

At 3,406 pounds, the Lincoln Zephyr is the lightest member of the Lincoln family, contributing to its strong acceleration. It is also the first front-wheel-drive Lincoln since the Continental, which left the lineup in 2002.

"The transmission really plays a key role in what we were able to accomplish," says Bill Ickes, Lincoln Zephyr powertrain integration manager. "The wide ratio span gives us a great low gear ratio for strong launch performance, while access to six gears means the car is always able to select the right gear for top performance. The shifts are crisp and clean, and you're up to speed very quickly."

Exterior/Interior

LINCOLN ZEPHYR DESIGN HERITAGE: A tradition of legendary cars

Design is a Lincoln hallmark, synonymous with the brand from its inception. Such classics as the 1932 Model KB and the 1961 Continental set a high standard for Lincoln design. The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr meets that standard.

The original 1936 Lincoln Zephyr combined cutting-edge design with luxury. It was the entry point to Lincoln luxury, designed as an affordable luxury car priced between a Ford sedan and the legendary Lincoln K models of its day.

EXTERIOR DESIGN: Unpretentious luxury

"The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr will represent many customers' first introduction to the luxury class, and it must reward that purchase decision," says Phil Simmons, chief designer. "But a luxury car should never be an excuse for a garish design."

Lincoln Zephyr's exterior design plays on the relationship between chrome and satin surfaces, with their contrasting and complementary levels of reflectivity. From its distinctive waterfall grille to its quad headlights, the Lincoln Zephyr draws upon a rich history of classic Lincoln design cues.

FRONT DESIGN: The face of classic design

The distinctive satin-and-chrome waterfall grille dives into the bumper fascia and displays the Lincoln star. The distinctive Lincoln lighting design includes quad projector-beam headlamps, or optional high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, set into jeweled housings, framed beneath a strong chromed horizontal brow. The lamps wrap into the front fenders, where they house side-marker lamps and turn-signal repeaters.

The front bumper is nearly flush with the lower fascia, which has a strong horizontal theme accentuated by a wide air intake and two wide-set round running lamps with satin-finished trim rings.

PROFILE AND REAR DESIGN: Subtle athleticism

The Lincoln Zephyr's side profile features chrome trim at the beltline and on the mirror caps, set off by the wheels. The 17-inch alloy wheels are an important design element, available with a machined appearance or a chromed-aluminum finish. Low-profile tires reinforce the low, purposeful stance of the car.

The rear bumper surface is nearly flush, contributing to the clean, uncluttered lines. Twin chrome tailpipes are set wide apart below thin horizontal reflectors in the lower fascia, similar in placement to the front fog lamps. Together, the flush bumper and chrome-tipped dual exhausts communicate a subtle athleticism.

Another aspect of the distinctive Lincoln lighting package are light emitting diode (LED) taillights. These lights are visually distinctive, requiring less space for packaging than traditional bulbs, and illuminating faster than standard taillights.

Lincoln has established a reputation for delivering world-class interiors with outstanding craftsmanship. Lincoln interiors are designed with visual and tactile interest delivered via colors, materials and textures that complement each other and emphasize the placement of key elements within a classical, geometric structure.

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr continues this philosophy. Inside, every detail quietly conveys sophistication while genuine materials, such as real maple wood or aluminum surfaces, illustrate the level of luxury Lincoln Zephyr provides.

For example, its steering wheel is wrapped in pebble-grained leather, and real polished wood grips between the spokes are available. Framing the grips are satin-nickel inserts that house the audio, climate and cruise push-button controls. The framework of the Lincoln star is highlighted in chrome at the steering wheel's center.

The leather surfaces are designed with a soft touch, while wood accents have a warm aura. The metals, as expected, are cool to the touch. This tactile contrast is an intentional design exercise that communicates genuine luxury to the occupants.

"The steering wheel is the busiest touch-zone in the car," says Marek Reichman, director of interior design strategy. "Lincoln Zephyr drivers will find this wheel provides a rewarding look and feel."

The instrument panel is bisected horizontally by a wide band of contrasting trim in one of four natural surfaces. Depending on interior color and trim level, the four surfaces are:

* Finely ribbed aluminum
* Finely ribbed aluminum with a dark finish
* Dark Ebony wood with horizontal grain pattern
* Light Maple wood

"The light Maple gives the interior a fresh and exciting look," says Reichman. "The dark Ebony is classic and elegant for a more traditional sense of luxury. The aluminum, with its lightly raised ribbing, is very technical and modern. We were able to establish four completely different ambient settings through use of these materials."

This interplay of natural wood, leather and metallic surfaces continues throughout the interior. The instrument panel is designed in a symmetric, rectangular theme with contrasting bright chrome-finished rings surrounding four round climate control vents. The two central vents are inset into the satin-nickel-finished center stack, flanking a round chrome-ringed analog clock.

The center stack flows down to the console, which continues the metallic theme with chrome accents on the leather-wrapped shifter, shifter bezel and twin cupholders. Scuff plates on the front door sills bear the Lincoln name.

ROOM TO SPARE: Lincoln Zephyr's spacious accommodations

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr is designed for comfort in the front and rear with more than three feet of rear-passenger legroom. The spacious feel of the cabin was achieved by stretching the width of the base architecture by 30 millimeters and the wheelbase by 55 millimeters.

The Lincoln Zephyr's large 15.8 cubic-foot trunk boasts a flat load floor and a low lift-over height. The decklid has compact hinge mechanisms that won't impinge on trunk volume or crush cargo. The rear seats feature standard 60/40-split backs that individually fold flat with a convenient spring assist, giving pass-through access to the trunk and affording cavernous storage space.

Each seat section folds down individually to provide supplemental cargo space from the pass-through trunk. As in the front, door panels have chrome door handles, with accents of wood or aluminum, and metallic speaker covers. Beverage holders are in each door. Rear passengers have access to map pockets on the back of the front seats for storage.

INTELLIGENT INTERFACES: Where driver and car interact As on the steering wheel, most center-stack push-button controls are rectangular; while round buttons define the most frequently used controls on the audio and climate control systems. The optional Lincoln navigation system adds the convenience of touch-screen controls and intuitive menus for access to its features.

The steering wheel embodies the interior theme of leather, wood and metallic finishes used throughout the interior.

The system encompasses the vast majority of North America on a single disc and features a 6.5-inch-wide screen that is sharper than most. This system – exclusive to Lincoln – is the most advanced Lincoln navigation system ever.

The gauge cluster is a focal point. The round analog gauges are set into chrome bezels placed symmetrically in front of the driver, with equal focus on the tachometer and speedometer. A hallmark of Lincoln is distinctive lighting, such as the cool-white LED lighting that is used to backlight controls, and switches on at night.

Lincoln Zephyr's seats are faced with soft premium leather, which has an upscale look reminiscent of high-end European boutique leather goods. The steering wheel also is leather-wrapped, with wood grips on either side.

The standard front seats are power-adjustable with eight-way power for the driver, six-way power for the passenger, and includes manual lumbar support. Upgraded seats are available as part of a premium package, which features ten-way power driver and passenger seats with power lumbar support. The seats are available with their own climate-control system, allowing heated or cooled air to be quietly circulated through perforations in the leather.

QUIET CABIN: The benefits of sound science

To maximize the aural performance of the industry's first THX II-Certified® audio system, Lincoln engineers employed some "sound science." Starting with an exceptionally stiff body structure, engineers took extensive steps to reduce noise, vibration, harshness and wind noise, along with squeaks and rattles in the passenger cabin.

Using laser vibration measurement, engineers found that wind noise was worst on the side glass adjacent to the side mirrors. To prevent this on the Lincoln Zephyr, designers reshaped the mirrors using computer-aided listening techniques during wind tunnel testing to direct wind away from the glass.

Likewise, the advanced door seals, especially in the lower rocker area, play an important part in keeping wind and road noise from entering the passenger compartment.

An aerodynamic shield under the engine compartment helps to reduce turbulence under the hood, which can contribute to unwanted noise inside the car. This shield has the added benefit of making Lincoln Zephyr more aerodynamic. The aero shield incorporates hatches that can be opened if the engine needs service, and has an acoustic barrier on top to reduce radiated noise.

Most of the interior door trim is attached with screws, versus plastic clips used in some other vehicles. Over time, the screws – working with the rigid body structure – will stay tight and minimize the development of squeaks and rattles.

In addition, extra sound-deadening material is used under the carpet, in the instrument panel and cowl area, in the lid, floor and sides of the trunk, and under the hood.

Special Features

FORM MEETS FUNCTION: Lincoln Zephyr's distinctive lighting

Lighting is a distinctive mark of a luxury car, and Lincoln has led the way for decades. The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr will carry on the tradition. The 2006 Zephyr uses white light emitting diodes (LEDs) lighting to illuminate controls and switches in the cabin. Outside, new projector-beam headlamps and LED taillights are standard, and High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps are optional.

Next-generation headlamps offer consistent lighting and distinctive style.

This integration of white LED lighting with Lincoln Zephyr's interior trim and devices is aesthetically appealing and functional for driver and passenger.

"Passengers can easily view the navigation system, view and operate controls and just interact with the car without having to bother the driver," says Mahendra Dassanayake, Ford staff technical specialist in optical electronics.

At the front of the car, the Lincoln Zephyr team's objective was to find a way to deliver the driver uniform light on the road without sacrificing appearance. A new projector-beam headlamp met the team's requirements.

Unlike the clunky lighting elements in previous generation projector beams, those in the Lincoln Zephyr are more compact with fewer parts, reducing complexity and increasing precision.

At the rear of the car, the team turned to LED taillights. With thinner packaging, they provided new possibilities for signature lighting and allowed more flexibility in design.

LED taillights are more energy efficient and respond quicker than conventional bulbs.

LED taillights also give valuable extra warning time for other drivers when brakes are applied. Conventional bulbs take a fraction of a second to respond to an electrical input, while LEDs respond instantly. LEDs also consume less electricity than conventional bulbs.

Lincoln's rich history in lighting technology and innovation began with the bullet-shaped dual filament headlights on the 1927 Lincoln and was apparent with the industry's first use of halogen headlights on the 1979 Lincoln Versailles. Ford Motor Company holds a long list of lighting patents.

Ford was also the first automaker to introduce aerodynamic profile headlamps in the early 1980s. They debuted on the Lincoln Mark VII. The switch from the then-standard units provided better airflow around the headlight, delivering improved fuel efficiency. Several years later, Ford became the first North American automaker to offer HID headlamps on the Lincoln Mark VIII.

The Zephyr key features integrated buttons that operate the doors and trunk-lid release.

INTEGRATED KEY: Pocket-sized class

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr is all-new – right down to its key.

In addition to being Lincoln's first mid-size premium sedan, Zephyr is the first Lincoln to feature integrated key fob technology.

"Most people won't believe it, but we did some pretty extreme research and ergonomic testing while developing this key," says Design Manager Terry Duncan. "Our goal was to pare down the key and fob package. We also had to design the buttons so they'd be easy enough for older drivers to press, but not sensitive enough that customers would open the trunk every time they accidentally touched the fob surface."

The new fob features three ergonomically spaced buttons, positioned in a U-shaped pattern in a concave recess that's thumb-friendly.

The button placement allows quick access to door lock and unlock functions, and the Lincoln Zephyr's trunk-lid release. A smaller red panic button is located in the lower left corner.

AN INDUSTRY FIRST: THX II-Certified® audio

From insulation under the carpet to reduce road sounds, to aerodynamically optimized side mirrors to cut down on wind buffeting, Lincoln Zephyr's quiet ride is a key enabler for its next-generation sound system, THX II-Certified® audio.

Lincoln first introduced THX Certified® audio systems in 2001 and offers certified audio systems in many of its vehicles: The LS, Navigator, Aviator and Town Car. The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr raises the bar even higher, offering the industry's first THX II-Certified® stereo.

The system was designed by THX, a California company renowned for its movie theater systems. It features a six-disc changer that loads and ejects faster than previous models. It can also read CDs in normal audio, MP3 compressed or text formats. The AM/FM tuner is compatible with the Radio Data Broadcasting System (RDBS) and displays participating radio station call letters, formats and song titles.

The system features a total of ten speakers: six primary speakers deliver surround sound; front and rear center-channel speakers add acoustical depth; and two subwoofers deliver deep, rich bass. The system is powered by two amplifiers.

The system's processor takes into consideration bandwidth, peak audio levels and coverage uniformity to deliver a smooth spectral balance and wide dynamic range. Multi-channel equalization and digital signal processing match the speaker placement to the cabin acoustics to assure this level of performance.

The audio reproduction had to pass vigorous audio testing standards to qualify for the THX II stamp of approval and with this certification, the Lincoln Zephyr has one of the most advanced audio systems on the road

OFF THE MAP: Exclusive Lincoln navigation system

An all-new navigation system, exclusive to Lincoln, is available in the Zephyr. The system is the most advanced Lincoln navigation system ever. Ergonomics and human interface experts specially designed the buttons and control interface to decrease driver distraction.

The system is DVD-based and includes the vast majority of North America on a single disc. The 6.5-inch-wide screen is sharper than most and is up to twice as bright as competitive models. It also warms up more rapidly in cold conditions, which can leave other LCD-based displays with unwanted ghost images and slow response.

The DVD drive, which resides behind a motorized flip-down bezel, and the fast processor work together to compute complex routes very quickly. For example, a cross-country route can be plotted in just a few seconds. The user has up to nine different ways to program destinations and waypoints, using criteria such as shortest route or shortest drive time, and can customize the display and prompt options for optimum convenience.

The system uses text-to-speech technology to read turn-by-turn travel directions aloud. The user can select among English, French and Spanish.

THE FIRST LINCOLN ZEPHYR: The origins of elegance and innovation

The original 1936 Lincoln Zephyr was based on an innovative concept by Dutch-born designer John Tjaarda of the Briggs Body Corp. He drew his inspiration from the aerodynamic "streamliner" trains that were catching the nation's imagination – including the record-setting diesel-powered Burlington Zephyr that helped to end the age of steam.

Ford Motor Company Design Chief E.T. Gregorie, along with Edsel Ford, refined the design and brought into production one of the most beautiful cars of its day.

The Lincoln Zephyr was introduced as an affordable entry point for the Lincoln brand, with prices starting at $1,300, compared with $4,200 for a Lincoln Model K. The Zephyr was a huge hit for Lincoln, bringing luxury motoring to an entirely new group of customers. In its first year, Lincoln sold 14,994 Zephyrs, compared with only 1,500 Lincoln Model Ks.

Lincoln was able to produce the original Zephyr at a lower cost, thanks to its pioneering use of a unit body atop a frame. In an industry first, designers tested Zephyr's chassis using aircraft-type stress analysis, proving its superiority over the then-current method of bolting a piecework body to a frame. At 3,300 pounds, Zephyr was lighter than most of its competitors, yet it proved to be much stiffer.

Lincoln Zephyrs also were noted for spirited performance, with an impressive 110 horsepower from their flathead V-12 engines. In 1939, Zephyr formed the basis of the Lincoln Continental, with a stretched hood, short rear deck and external spare tire.

Zephyr remained Lincoln's most popular model until production was halted during World War II. When peacetime production resumed in 1946, the name Zephyr stayed on the shelf, and all models were simply called "Lincoln." In total, Lincoln produced 131,428 Zephyrs between 1936 and 1942.

Zephyrs are still highly prized. In fact, a 1938 Lincoln Zephyr that had been converted into a street rod – using the original V-12 engine and body panels on a lowered chassis – recently sold at auction for more than $400,000, affirming the timeless appeal of the design.

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