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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Lincoln MKZ has been talked here on the Q50 forums quite a bit, but I don't believe anyone has done a direct compare between the two. Well since I have done just that - and quite extensively, I thought I would share my thoughts and observations here. I'll warn you though, this will be in-depth (aka “LONG”).

First, a little history/disclosure. I've had a Dodge Durango 5.9L V8 4x4 for the last 15 years (custom ordered it new from the factory in early 98). And though it is a big, heavy 4x4 (with a mid-size lift on it & larger than stock tires), I still drive it like a darn sports car. Of course that is probably due to the fact that before it, I had a 1984 Toyota Supra 5 speed that I drove for 14 years. That was a FUN sports car. But the D is getting up there in age (though not too bad in mileage). And for the past year or so I've been searching for a car that interests me and is more on the luxury side of things but not too far up there (love the Tesla S, but only want to spend half that $$). And it has to be a sedan instead of a sports car coupe due to now having a kiddo (car seats in coupes are no fun). Plus I’m tried of cringing after every 25 gal fill-up that stings my wallet to the tune of $80-$95+ (and more often than I'd like thanks to 10-12 avg mpg in my 4x4 beast). Therefore I set my mind on getting something that also returns double to triple or more my current sad, sad mpg.

I thought I found my answer when I first saw the Lincoln MKZ concept. It looked cool and stylish. The design really spoke to me. It was a modern 4 door sedan with boat-loads of modern tech & features, AND it was going to be offered in a HYBRID that got 45 city AND 45 highway MPG?? Cool! Then after seeing more and more photos and details about the car, I thought for sure this would probably be the car I would buy. Just after release late last year I started hearing about the production issues due to not only the new model, but also the new MKZ plant starting up in Hermosillo Mexico. Lincoln had to pull the initial run of cars back to Detroit to address "quality control" issues. Those issues along with poor inventory at dealerships led me to wait a few months for them to work out those bugs. Later this summer I heard those things were about resolved (finally at the end of the 2013 production year and just before 2014 production would start). I also was getting impatient and just couldn't wait any longer. So I decided to go out to my local Lincoln dealership and test drive the MKZ for myself and get the ball rolling.

Nearest to me here in DFW is the Grapevine Ford/Lincoln dealership (currently in the process of splitting apart - Lincoln mandating dealerships be their own stand-alone entity to improve their luxury brand image (a-la Lexus & Infiniti). So I walked into there one day and happened to meet the new Lincoln Director - Sam De La Garza (an uncanny look-alike of actor/comedian Ray Romano). I don't think I've ever met a nicer, more laid back, super-knowledgeable, classy car dealer/salesman (though not really a salesman as he came from Ford Corporate marketing). He has been super to deal with and extremely accommodating with me. If I was going to buy an MKZ, I would have zero qualms and would certainly make it a priority to buy one from him & his dealership. Anyway that very day I test drove all 3 engine variations of the MKZ in as loaded-up configurations as possible. I drove the Hybrid model first (my choice), the 2.0L 4cyl "Ecoboost" second, and the 3.7L V6 last. From that very first test drive, my initial main impression of the Hybrid was that the motor was underpowered and felt "sluggish". Especially when compared to the other two regular, full gas motors. Both felt like way more powerful and though the V6 felt like it got up and accelerated a tad bit faster, it wasn't by much. The Ecoboost thanks to its turbo was very peppy. The 2.0L Ecoboost has 240hp and 270 lb-ft of torque and the V6 is 300hp with 277 lb-ft of torque. The Hybrid sadly is just 188hp and 129 lb-ft of torque and you can definitely feel it. While it is not a Prius, it just doesn’t compare to the other motors with double the torque.

Of course since my initial test drives that day were short, around the dealership area trips, I thought I might feel differently driving it again for a longer duration. And I REALLY wanted to like the Hybrid due to that 45/45 mpg! Enter the Lincoln "Date Night" program with the MKZ. Lincoln had been sending those of use that had signed up/shown interest early on various direct-mail marketing pieces and one was for an "extended test-drive" opportunity they called "Date Night". So I worked with Sam to set that up where my wife and I could take the car out and drive it for 24-48 hours. Of course I chose the Hybrid to see if my initial impression was wrong - and to learn more about the car and all its features. My main goal was to drive it like I am normally used to driving to see if the Hybrid was something that would work for me.


Here's some photos from that car:






From that 2 day extended test-drive, I found that I "could" drive the Hybrid like it is designed - as a luxury Hybrid. The in-dash LCD screens provide great feedback on when the electric motor is running vs. the gas engine and how well you recoup energy while in regenerative braking mode (complete with a brake "score" after each full break/stop). And after each trip in the car it gives you a score on how well you did with mpg, break energy recovered, etc. Very cool and fun - almost like a game you can play while driving and doing things like going to the grocery store or your work commute each way. And the tech of the car was awesome - BLIS, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping, Collision Avoidance, Auto Parallel Park, etc.. Most of all, the combination of the comfortable, rich leather seats, and the MKZ's "Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) suspension" makes it probably the most comfortable riding car I've ever driven in a modern car (outside of my parents early 70's Buick & Mercury barges I grew-up riding in)! You just don't feel road bumps and surface imperfections in the MKZ. Those are smoothed out without making the car feel "floaty" or overly disconnected from the road. But even with all of these good things, I still felt like the torque was too little. While I “could” drive the Hybrid, “hyper-miling” way, it just didn’t feel right. I’m an “aggressive” or “spirited” driver. I want to get from point a to point b in a quick, get out in front manner. J

This lack of power impression really hit home after my two days in the Hybrid MKZ and I got back to driving my old brute V8 Durango. I was bummed that the Hybrid felt so sluggish and underpowered. So to compare and see if a regular gas MKZ would be a better fit for me, I asked Sam if I could do an extended test of the 2.0L Ecoboost MKZ next. He said sure and set it up for an upcoming week day. Instantly upon driving it away from the dealership I felt way more power and torque - more like the car needed and should have. Plus it had (not available on the Hybrid) a "Sport" driving mode that tightened the suspension up and altered the shift points for more a more "Spirited" driving experience (yeah, my kind of driving ). Of course with the Ecoboost 2.0L turbo, the MPG drops down considerably from the Hybrid's lofty numbers. In FWD it is 22 city, 33 highway, 26 combined - AWD drops the highway to 31 and the combined to 25). Still it seemed to have plenty of power and got up and moved when you wanted it to. Again the ride was super comfortable and slightly more dialed in when put into Sport mode. Of course you can custom adjust the dampening suspension settings in the on screen menus to different points for each driving mode. I played around with them and could feel the difference yet even in full-on Sport mode and the stiffer suspension setting, it was still a very comfortable ride.

When I took the Ecoboost back he offered the V6 to also take out and test/compare - in the exact color/config I was the most interested in (Tuxedo Black ext, Light Dune int. with Pano Roof & everything else). How could I say no? Plus he said he had quite an excess of V6 models in his inventory and that he could really lower the price even more than my corporate, standard "X-Plan" pricing. So off I went in the loaded up V6 black, pano roof bad boy. Yes the 60 extra HP could be felt - especially up at highway speeds accelerating to pass and get ahead of traffic. But the V6 motor also has much more of an audible growl that you can hear - especially in spirited "Sport" mode driving. I liked it, but not that much more than the Ecoboost turbo. The V6 is only $1230 extra. But the MPG numbers do drop further down to 19 city (18 AWD), 28 highway (26 AWD) and 22 combined (21 AWD). It was fun to drive, but I don’t know if it offers that much more for the extra money, greater weight, and ultimately lower MPG.


Here's photos of the black V6 MKZ I had:











THEN....

I found out about the new 2014 Infiniti Q50 AND that it was also offered in a HYBRID model. Immediately went out and did a build & price through the Infiniti site and asked for a local dealer quote. I got two quick emails from my closest dealer - Grubbs Infiniti in Euless, TX. Where my sales contact pointed out that Grubbs did a "Valet Plus" test drive where they brought the car you wanted to test drive TO YOU for a 24 hour, no obligation test drive. VERY COOL! I was interested in either a Hybrid Premium or a Hybrid S so my salesman (a super nice, guy by the name of Jeff Armstrong) arranged a time the following week to bring me one. He brought to my work place a shiny Liquid Platinum Q50S Hybrid with Graphite Interior, Nav, & Deluxe Technology packages. Nice! Then in getting ready to leave he said that the next day was his day off so he'd just come back out the following day. SCORE! Another 2 day extended test-drive!!


Here's some pics of the Liquid Platinum/Graphite Q50S Hybrid I drove:










First impression - THIS Hybrid is certainly not underpowered! WOW! The label Infiniti gives it - "The High Performance Hybrid" is no lie. It is a sport sedan in the truest sense of the term! It was an absolute blast to drive. The acceleration, handling, and pure fun of driving was leaps and bounds greater than the MKZ. The way it drove and handled reminded me much more of my old Toyota Supra. But that also comes at a price. The first being MPG. Though a Hybrid, the 28 city, 34 highway, 30 combined MPG is much closer to the MKZ 2.0L Ecoboost numbers (though a little better) than the MKZ Hybrid 45 mpg numbers. The second was the ride. The MKZ is pure comfort in driving (in all 3 engines) and various suspension settings & drive modes where as the Q50S felt very rough in comparison. You feel any and all little road imperfections in the Q50S. Now I'm not totally sure if it is just the Run-Flat tires (as has been discussed greatly here in this forum) or is the full-on sport-tuned suspension system (also discussed in threads here). But my best guess would be that it is a combination - maybe something like 40% suspension and 60% tires. (Recently I went back to Grubbs and did a brief drive in a Premium Q50 with 17" tires vs an S with the 19” tires and RFT and it felt much smoother - though not as fun or sharp looking.)

The advanced “Safety Tech” between the Q50 and MKZ is VERY similar. Both have BLIS, Collision Avoidance, Lane Keeping, & Adaptive Cruise systems. Both have a great stereo system with SIRUS, HD Radio, & Bluetooth streaming. Both have the ability to run Apps (though Infiniti’s seems more integrated). Lincoln's THX System might have slightly better speaker placement and overall tonal balance, but the Infiniti Bose system is right there with it in sound - maybe a smidge better at bass reproduction (probably from the dual subwoofers). But I like the Infiniti In-Touch features better than the My Lincoln Touch. Plus having TWO touch screens vs. just one gives a nice edge to the Q50 there. Gages and readout are comparable – I like the slightly larger size and crispness of the Q50 gauges a little more. The MKZ has better Hybrid feedback/info and the brake score is a big plus for the MKZ - wish Infiniti did that as well. Fit and finish on the inside probably edges toward the Q50 slightly. Though the clean interior design of the MKZ is VERY sleek, a little less cluttered, and more pleasing to the eye IMO. Sure some will be turned-off by the push button gear selector instead of the traditional center stick. But I had no issues with it. In fact I got quite use to it - especially after having 6 days total in an MKZ. Not to mention that because of that, the center console area is really opened up for extra storage all through it. The S sport seats really gripped you and kept you in place (especially when throwing the car into sharp cornering) with its side bolsters (which again reminded me of my old Supra seats). But in comparison with the MKZ seats, they just were not as comfortable. They were fine – just less “cushiony”.

While there are many features where both luxury sedans are comparable (e.g. safety technology), when it comes to fully-loaded amenities, the MKZ really outshines the Q50. Here’s the amenities specific to each - or what one specifically has/offers that the other does not.

Q50 Amenities/Tech over the MKZ:
- Very cool 360/all around Camera System (only rear/reverse in MKZ)
- Auto tilt-down side mirrors in reverse
- Memory steering wheel pulls up and retracts when off (MKZ only goes up)

MKZ Amenities/Tech over Q50:
- Air Conditioned Front Seats (in addition to being Heated)
- Heated Rear Seats
- Heated Steering Wheel on ALL models (Q50 is only on AWD)
- Giant motorized Panoramic Glass Roof ($2900 option to where the whole top of the car roof can slide back/open 2-3 feet)
- Auto Parallel Park Feature
- Power Trunk Open/Close (remote key-fob or with buttons on car)
- Hybrid has MUCH bigger trunk WITH 60/40 fold down rear seats
- Remote Start
- Inflatable Rear Seat Belts ( $195 option that helps with child collision safety)
- 110V Power Point Plug/outlet
- Color selectable & dimmable Ambient Lighting included as standard option (single color, non-dimmable $240 add-on option with Q50)
- Lighted aluminum Door Sills included as a Standard Option ($400 add-on option with Q50)
- Massaging Front Seats (new 2014 $590 option)

Yeah, that’s a lot! As SimpsonTide has said here on the forum, the Lincoln MKZ is “an amenities machine”. All of that and the price-point can be UNDER $50,000. A fully loaded 2.0L 4cyl Turbo gasser or the Hybrid (currently their Hybrid motor has the same price as their base gasser) have the same MSRP of $48,185. The V6 version of that would be $1230 more at $49,415. AWD would add $1890 to either model (n/a on Hybrid) – pushing the 2.0L to $75 over $50K and the V6 to $51,305.

So the question (at least for for me) is if you like the looks of both cars, why would I pay more for a fully loaded Q50S Hybrid that has an MSRP from $51,255 (base Premium Hybrid) to $57,655 (AWD S Hybrid with everything you can put on it except for the bright wheels)? Well my answer in even considering it is because with the MKZ Hybrid off my list due to being underpowered, I believe I can get two things that are important to me with a Q50 Hybrid. The first is the fact that MPG in a Q50 Hybrid appears to return higher numbers than either MKZ gas engine. And from the get-go of my car search, I wanted to get closer to triple my current sad SUV 10-11 mpg. And secondly, is the fact that IMO the Q50 is just plain more fun to drive – especially in a S model. Yes it doesn’t ride as comfortably, in fact a little on the rough side with the RFT's in my estimation, but it just performs & handles like a locked-in sports car. I really like that since it reminds me of my old Toyota Supra days. Sure some of the difference in handling between the MKZ and the Q50 is just from the basic physics/geometry that comes from the MKZ being a FWD car and the Q50 being a RWD car (though you can make either AWD as an option). My Supra was RWD so that is part of it too. But a lot is due to the raw horsepower and torque differential. The Q50 Hybrid’s greater HP & torque is VERY appealing.

Bottom Line: The MKZ is an awesome car. You just can’t beat it for the amount of luxury and tech amenities that are there for the money. If the Q50 had some of those (esp. AC seats, heated rear seats, power trunk, pano roof option, remote start, bigger Hybrid trunk space with pass-through/folding seats), I’d have already put in an order. It really boils down to the fact that the MKZ is more of a “comfort” mid-size luxury sedan that is a little sporty to drive (at least in the 2.0L Ecoboost or V6 motors in Sport mode). Where as the Q50 is more of a Sports Sedan that can either be somewhat comfortable (Premium with 17” tires) or super sporty driving on rails (S model).

My issue is that I want my cake and eat it too. I want it all with having comfort, sports handling, AND great MPG – around the $50K price point. I guess that’s why I still have not bought a new car - yet. :confused:
 

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I think Lincoln did a better job at designing the interior, it actually represents what a real luxurious interior should look like. Infiniti has improved, but can still do better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
i don't
the Q50 isn't some slow pig like the MKZ and the last think a Q50 needs is some heavy glass panoramic roof.
i rather see the M get a panoramic roof.
A "slow pig"?? Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And as I detailed, "slow" might be an appropriate descriptor for how they MKZ Hybrid performs - why I didn't like it. But that's not the case in either of the gas models. The 2.0L Turbo and 3.7L V6 move that car pretty darn quick when you want it to.

Now your point about that big of a glass roof being heavy is legit. That alone on a hybrid could cut the mpg down a smidge. Don't know if it would be enough to cause a full mile per gallon less or more, but it might with its weak hp & especially weak torque. That said, if you have enough torque in the motor, then the extra weight would be a non issue. Unless of course you're looking to race the Q50 and need every once of weight reduction. ;)
 

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I drove an MKZ rental car in Florida, and I didn't care for it nor did the rear passengers. The suspension would knock teeth loose for back seat passengers over the smallest parking bumps. The rear seat is ridiculously tiny while the rear shelf behind them extends about 3 feet to the glass, clearly showing the preference for trunk space was given over passenger space. The trunk is absolutely enormous in depth as well as height. The car is basically a giant hatchback coupe with rear doors as a cruel joke.

The MyFord TooMuch system was so slow and convoluted I never could get it to go anywhere or do anything I wanted. I'm sure there were suspension adjustments buried in that bird's nest of icons and menus somewhere, but nothing was where it belonged. Also, resting your hand casually on the center console leads to you accidentally touching invisible buttons/sliders embedded in the sloping console, changing settings you don't know exist without looking.

Fuel economy was admirable on my loaner though, and the headlights were perfect. Rear design was distinctive but Optimus Prime designed the front grille and it is too gaudy, even for a Lincoln.

Soft touch surfaces inside were deceptive. I'm a very tall guy and my knees end up resting on whatever is to the left and right of the steering wheel. To the right, lining the left side of the console-to-dash transition curve, there's a nice rubberized surface WITH A GIANT METAL PIPE UNDER IT. Not pleasant to have a steel wire digging into the side of your leg thinly veiled with a rubber skin.

With the driver's seat in the lowest position, slightly reclined (again, I'm 6' 7", this is how I fit), the dash dominated my view to the point that I couldn't determine where the sloping hood ended. I felt like a kid driving that car, with the curve of the dash taking up roughly 50% of my outward visibility forward.

All in all, it is still a Ford, and compares well against other US marques but not well at all against foreign competition. It's nice to see Lincoln trying now, but they have to try a lot harder than this. Maybe, just maybe, the stripped loaner I got is radically different than what most people shop for and buy, but if the stripper is this bad, how much better can a loaded model be? Most of the problems I had with it can't be addressed with options packages.
 

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Great writ-up! Somehow both cars look much better in your photos than in real life...

Note that both Hybrid Q50S and premium have the same sport suspension, so the ride difference is due to wheel/tire combination.

If you plan to purchase the car, Infiniti would have a better resale value to
compensate for slightly higher msrp.

Lincoln's MPG ratings for the hybrid are a joke, expect mid 30s at best.
Hopefully Infiniti did not overate the Q50.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ITo the right, lining the left side of the console-to-dash transition curve, there's a nice rubberized surface WITH A GIANT METAL PIPE UNDER IT. Not pleasant to have a steel wire digging into the side of your leg thinly veiled with a rubber skin.

With the driver's seat in the lowest position, slightly reclined (again, I'm 6' 7", this is how I fit), the dash dominated my view to the point that I couldn't determine where the sloping hood ended. I felt like a kid driving that car, with the curve of the dash taking up roughly 50% of my outward visibility forward.
Afrosheen I'm only 2 inches shorter than you at 6'5" and I didn't have any seat or dash/hood issue. Perhaps you're longer in the upper torso than me. Most of my height is in the length of my legs so it is always an issue of having enough distance in the seat travel backward for me (nobody likes riding behind me unless its a huge car). My head rubbing the headliner is rarely an issue.

But what you mention about the right side of the center console is somewhat of a shared issue. But I found that in the Q50 as well -albeit a smidge less. Of course I've been driving a big SUV forever that has nothing near that side of my right knee since it is all open. I'm having to get use to the feel of something right there along my right knee and I'm not keen on it! :eek:
 

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Because of the full size sliding roof that would otherwise cover/chop the
fin type antenna. I'm sure there is a more elegant solution but remember that this is a Ford:D
No kidding! I saw that and was teleported back to the late 80's, early 90's. :eek:

I remember watching a review that Jeremy Clarkson was doing on a Jaguar XKS a few years ago and the car still has an external antenna. You can imagine Clarkson's comments about that. haha He crucified them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Because of the full size sliding roof that would otherwise cover/chop the
fin type antenna. I'm sure there is a more elegant solution but remember that this is a Ford:D
You're correct. All Panoramic Glass Roof MKZ models will have that left rear "stalk" antenna. (A way you can instantly tell if an MKZ has the pano roof from the side/rear.) It is because they put the radio antenna in/along the headliner of the roof and when it is that glass pano the ability to do that is gone.

But yes, it seems like somebody could have come up with a better alternative than that. It seems like an after-thought, oh-crap I guess we'll have to do an antenna here solution.
 

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You're correct. All Panoramic Glass Roof MKZ models will have that left rear "stalk" antenna. (A way you can instantly tell if an MKZ has the pano roof from the side/rear.) It is because they put the radio antenna in/along the headliner of the roof and when it is that glass pano the ability to do that is gone.

But yes, it seems like somebody could have come up with a better alternative than that. It seems like an after-thought, oh-crap I guess we'll have to do an antenna here solution.
I actually love that rear stalk antenna, is should become a standard feature on all MKZ's just for the cleaner and more premium look across the whole line
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great writ-up! Lincoln's MPG ratings for the hybrid are a joke, expect mid 30s at best.
Hopefully Infiniti did not overate the Q50.
ikagan,

Thanks and yes the real-world MPG numbers for the hybrid for the most part are not hitting 45/45. From being on Lincoln forums and checking numbers on Fuelly.com there are a few people getting 41-43ish, but many more are in that 35-39mpg range. And some of those are even after Lincoln did a software update to make the EV motor run longer and at higher speeds. The original cutoff for the Hybrid EV motor was 63mpg and they raised it to 85mph (though I've only heard of owners getting it into the 70's before it goes all gas motor).

I KNOW that the way I would want to drive it (if it had double the torque) would net me low 30's at best. And there you're in Q50 Hybrid, Super Torque area!! :D


Speaking of "super torque". I think I'm gonna go check out a pre-owned 335d (Diesel). The 2011's are now coming off 24 month leases and that twin turbo motor puts out 265 HP with 429 LBS-FT of crazy torque. All while offering up 23 city, 36 hwy and a combo around 30 mpg. Lot of folks on Bimmerfest forums reporting high 20's - low mid 30's mpg in normal mixed driving while doing fairly spirited driving. Hmmm....
 

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The 335D is a rocket! I drove one 2 years ago after test driving an M3 (V8) and
it felt faster for daily driving. If you can find a certified preowned with a sport pkg its a cheaper alternative to Q50. Unless you do lots of hwy driving expect mid to hi 20s (same as 2.0 328i).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The 335D is a rocket! I drove one 2 years ago after test driving an M3 (V8) and
it felt faster for daily driving. If you can find a certified preowned with a sport pkg its a cheaper alternative to Q50. Unless you do lots of hwy driving expect mid to hi 20s (same as 2.0 328i).
That's what I hear from everyone that has owned one or driven one. The combination of insane torque and good diesel fuel economy makes for a great daily driver. I just wish I was a little more of a fan of the sparse/utilitarian interior design. That's where the Japanese really liven things up! :)
 

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True about the interior. Its a driver focused car, much better than current BMWs (specially steering feel). It has no luxury and very cramped back seat.
I'm sure it would feel very dated compered to the Q50 Hybrid.
 
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