Drivers can opt for a “sporty” or “luxury” driving experience with a touch of a button in the new range of Lincoln MKZ cars.
The new line, on display at Gitex this week, illustrates how technological innovation has become one of the main ways that car manufacturers are competing with one another – from purely digital displays and built-in entertainment systems to self-driving, internet-connected cars.
“Cars will become the next personal computers,” said Luciano Alibrandi, director of corporate communications at the regional unit of the tech company Nvidia. “You will be able to talk to your car and ask it what the closest restaurant is and in the future it will be able to drive you there itself.”
Filled with tens of different radar-based sensors and cameras, the Lincoln MKZ lets drivers choose the level of suspension and noise cancellation they want, to get one of two types of rides.
The sensors measure a driver’s input, and surroundings from speed and road conditions, up to 500 times a second to adjust the suspension system to provide the best experience.
Besides being able to self-parallel park, the MKZ also has a lane keeping system. A camera in the rear-view mirror monitors lanes and if the driver drifts outside of his lane, the steering wheel vibrates and automatically brings the car back into line.
Ford, Lincoln’s parent company, is already selling the MKZ in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and will roll it out across the rest of the GCC over the next month.
“MKZ is proof of our commitment of a new breed of Lincoln vehicles for a new generation of Lincoln customers,” said Ziyad Dallalah, chief engineer at Ford Middle East. “The objective is to provide a sporty feeling car that is quiet and comfortable at the same time. There is a system of microphones and speakers that [drivers can select to] generate the sound of the engine and exhaust when needed.”
Sales of luxury cars have risen in recent quarters across the UAE as the local economy and expats fleeing political turmoil in Egypt and Syria have increased demand.
“Lincoln sales were up 86 per cent before we launched the MKZ. Many of the cars are doing very well in the region. We’re now launching the new vehicle, which we expect will accelerate our growth throughout the GCC,” said Paul Anderson, marketing manager at Ford Middle East.
Of the Lincoln cars on sale in the region, the greatest growth has been with the MKX model, which rose 186 per cent year-on-year.
“It [MKX] just caught on like fire. Even the Navigator, which is an older model, has seen double-digit growth. People are starting to rediscover the Lincoln brand and we will build on that momentum in the coming months and year when we will be launching new cars,” Mr Anderson said.
Other cars on show at Gitex included Dubai Police’s Lamborghini, which has been updated with a new security system to help officials catch criminals. The force’s luxury range of cars are driven mainly in the tourist areas of the city.