20 April 2004

Ford’s Lincoln brand slid the covers off this Zephyr concept car at last week’s New York Motor Show – pointing to a new Stateside rival to German compact execs such as the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-class.

The saloon will go on sale late next year and it’s part of a new family of Ford and Mercury models, codenamed CD3 and based on the Mazda 6 front-drive platform and 200bhp 3.0-litre V6. Four-wheel drive will also be available on production versions.

Styled at Ford’s California Advanced Design studio, Lincoln’s smallest saloon is characterised by a distinctive wedgy shape, bold chrome grille and projector headlamps. Inside, the cabin is swathed with blonde wood and cream leather.

The Zephyr borrows its name from the first affordable model built by Lincoln: the original Zephyr from the 1930s (right). It was credited with saving the luxury brand from plummeting sales during the Depression.

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