The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is a sharp new luxury sedan that offers drivers a couple of cutting-edge new active safety systems that, when combined, take us one step closer to a world of fully autonomous cars.
Making use of a forward-facing camera mounted in the rearview mirror, Lincoln’s Lane-Keeping System promises the ability to correct the vehicle’s path within the lanes if the driver falls asleep or otherwise begins to wander. Other automakers offer tech that makes similar claims, but here’s the difference. Instead of simply using the stability control system to brake the inside wheels, Lane-Keeping System actually turns the steering wheel autonomously. The result is much smoother in its operation, especially mid-corner.
Add the Lincoln Motor Company’s Adaptive Cruise Control to the mix and we’re one step closer to fully autonomous driving. Using radar to keep tabs on the car ahead, the advanced cruise control system can maintain a preset distance, even applying the brakes when necessary to avoid a collision.
Combine the two systems, and the 2013 MKZ can technically make short work of navigating everyday highway traffic without any input from the driver. Note that these technologies aren’t designed to replace driver control just yet, but as proof of concept, Lincoln’s self-driving luxury sedan is one advanced piece of engineering.
Though evolving not without some growing pains, SYNC has stayed ahead the competition through a continuous rollout of cutting-edge features, as well as pioneering the use of standards like USB and Bluetooth that mean your iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III smartphone of today will still play nice with a 2008 Focus running the platform’s first version. Since consumers upgrade these devices much more often than cars, developing a platform that didn’t become obsolete immediately was key to Ford’s success.
Today, SYNC has grown to include full voice control using natural speech; AppLink, which can run internet radio and other in-car apps by piggybacking your smartphone’s data connection; and MyFord Touch, which replaces many in-car control systems with an intuitive touchscreen interface. Ford recently led all automakers in ABI Research’s OEM Automotive Infotainment Competitive Assessment, followed by BMW and Toyota.
2013 Flex and Taurus shoppers will see the updated MyFord Touch installed from the factory, with Ford beginning to send updates to current customers in the mail via a USB flash drive. Other upcoming 2013 models will come stock with the newest software.
Here’s some key changes:
Bolder text and simpler graphics for ease of control
Improved touchscreen response time and system stability
Ford will start sending out the USB drives this week, along an SD card containing the new nav system maps. Customers can update their vehicles themselves in around an hour, or take their vehicle to the local Ford or Lincoln dealer to have it done for them. The update will affect around 300,000 model-year 2011-2012 Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
It’s Oscar season again, and we thought it would be fun to take a look at the cars, trucks and bikes driven by this year’s Best Actor and Best Actress nominees. Here you’ll find some cars the celebs drive (or are driven in) in their Academy Award-nominated films, plus some of the stars’ real-life rides! Tune in to watch the 84th Academy Awards this Sunday, February 26th, 2012 at 7:00pm EST/4:00pm PST. Check your local listings for more.
Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir – “A Better Life”
Ford F-150 (10th Generation) in “A Better Life”
“A Better Life” is a film about a father and son, the American dream, the struggle to survive… and a work truck just like the one millions of Americans depend on every day. Carlos (Bichir) buys the F-150 and the business it represents, only to have the truck stolen. Much of the rest of the film covers the quest to get it back (spoiler alert!).
Best actor nominee George Clooney is a big proponent of the electric car, counting a black Tesla Roadster among his rides. Clooney used to drive an all-electric Tango, and is known to be a motorcycle fan as well.
*The Tesla Roadster is no longer available, but the bigger and better Tesla Model S is.
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Circa-1930 Lincoln Model K in “The Artist”
Jean Dujardin plays silent film star George Valentin in “The Artist.” Valentin is the type of man who is driven rather than drives, but then must give his chauffeur Clifton his Lincoln limo in lieu of back payment. The film was criticized for using cars that did not appear until after the time period it attempted to portray.
Chevrolet Camaro SS
Pitt is a motorcycle lover at heart, having been spotted riding numerous Ducati, BMW and other bikes as well as a custom chopper. As for cars, Brad prefers this Chevrolet Camaro SS with wild orange racing stripes.
Lexus RX (2nd-Generation)
Ms. Close, one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood and Broadway history, posted this photo on her official dog lover blog, Lively Licks. The pic clearly shows her two adorable pups in a second-gen Lexus RX, and we’re willing to bet it’s the hybrid model. Nice choice!
Davis and husband Julius Tennon live in this low-profile Granada Hills, Calif. home, shown here with 2 rides parked in the driveway. While we don’t know for sure who they belong to, the cars appear to be a 2000′s BMW and… a 1980′s Toyota Corolla? Davis told USA Today her car is “7 years old.”
Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Custom Honda CL350 in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Rooney Mara’s Lisabeth Salander in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is not to be messed with, and her blacked-out, custom Cafe Racer-style Honda CL350 fits her perfectly. The bike was custom-built for this film.
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
2011 Toyota Prius
Streep has long been a champion of the Toyota Prius, BMW Hydrogen 7 and alternative-powertrain cars in general, once famously saying: “If everybody that had two cars had a Prius instead of an SUV, we wouldn’t be in the Middle East right now.” In 2009 Streep showed up at the Oscars in a 3rd-gen 2010 Prius, not even yet available to the public.
1952 Rolls Royce Phantom Wraith Limousine in “My Week With Marilyn”
Expertly portraying Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn”, it is only fitting that Michelle Williams’ Monroe would be driven about in a Rolls. The Phantom Wraith limo used in the film is a 1952 model, which won the gold medal at the 1953 Earls Court Motor Show.
In what was likely the L.A. Auto Show’s flashiest debut, the new 2013 Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan wowed showgoers with its attractive new face and upscale features as part of Lincoln’s commitment to further differentiate its products from the Ford models with which they share some components.
Under the hood, the base 3.7-liter V6 now makes 300 horsepower while returning 19 city/28 highway mpg. The EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 with 355 horsepower remains optional.
Taking a page from the industry’s top sport sedans, Lincoln will offer driver-selectable settings for engine response, suspension firmness and damping, transmission mapping, traction and stability control and steering response, which helps the car change personality between its “Normal” and “Sport” modes.