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Lincoln's Four-Door Convertible

Lincoln is getting a new look.

The MKZ Concept unveiled at the 2012 North American Auto Show is a showcase for the new design direction the brand is heading in as it looks to better differentiate itself from parent company Ford.

Based on the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion, which also debuted at the show, the MKZ Concept combines traditional Lincoln styling cues, like an updated version of its split wing grille, with an almost fastback look at the rear and long, crisp lines on its flanks that Lincoln head designer Max Wolff says exhibit an “elegant simplicity” that will be the cornerstone of upcoming Lincoln design.

Read: New Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid to Get 100 MPGe

LED lighting elements feature heavily front and rear, but the MKZ’s most dramatic styling element is a full-length glass roof that will in the future be engineered to slide down over the rear window, creating a near four-door convertible -- just like the 1960's, but with roof rails and sans suicide doors.

The four-seat interior of the MKZ concept has a clean look that is offset by a few flourishes, including a floating center console inspired by a suspension bridge and perforations on the seats meant to ape champagne bubbles rising in a glass. A 10.1-inch screen serves as the MKZs instrument cluster and buttons on the dashboard replace a gearshift lever.

The MKZ rides on a front-wheel-drive-based platform that can also be fitted with all-wheel-drive. An adaptive suspension system will be offered on the production version, along with a lane-keeping assist feature and active cruise control. Powertrain options have not been announced, but are likely to be similar to those available in the new Fusion, which include a 47 mpg hybrid.

The new MKZ is expected to go on sale next year.

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