Lincoln Aviator ready for ‘takeoff’ at Los Angeles Auto Show

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LOS ANGELES – Lincoln Motor Co. raises its commitment to the popular premium cross-overs segment with an Aviator with three rows which, according to executives, could become the brand names with the highest volume in the US.

After years of the humble MKT that atrophies at the bottom of sales charts, Lincoln will begin next summer with the sale of an Aviator that is designed on a new rear wheel drive platform and will come in gasoline and plug-in hybrid versions. The electrified model, called the Aviator Grand Touring, combines an electric motor with a 3-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine to deliver the most robust powertrain that the luxury brand has ever offered at 450 hp and 600 pound-foot torque.

Lincoln President Joy Falotico told Automotive News that she absolutely believes & # 39; that the pilot could replace the Nautilus as the best selling American name tag.

"Aviator has the appropriate name, because Lincoln is on the take-off point," said Falotico for the debut week of the vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show. "Our momentum is strong."

The introduction of the vehicle comes after the brand has updated and redesigned most vehicles, including the lucrative Navigator SUV and the crossovers of MKC and Nautilus. US sales have dropped by 9.6 percent in 2018, but Lincoln has achieved global volume gains for four consecutive years and has accelerated to reach its target of 300,000 annual sales by the end of the decade.

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"We want to build a luxury brand for the long term, in a healthy way," said Falotico. "Our stock is up and our transaction prices have risen, we call again on our rental and fleet volumes and we support our strengths."

& # 39; The very best & # 39;

The kite, which was used for the last time in 2005, is ready to become one of Lincoln's strengths.

Executives have described the vehicle, a brother or sister of the Ford Explorer, as the embodiment of Lincoln's design.

The new RWD architecture enabled designers to create a carved look that extends to the rear of the vehicle, similar to an airplane in flight.

Engineers used the new platform to offer a standard 3-liter petrol engine in combination with a 10-speed gearbox that gets 400 horsepower and 400 pound-foot torque. A version with four-wheel drive is optional.

The plug-in hybrid stats, 450 horsepower and 600 pound-foot torque, beat hybrid versions of the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, says Lincoln.

The electrified model Grand Touring has two new driving modes: "Pure EV", where only the electric motor is used and "EV retained", where only the internal combustion engine is used. Lincoln executives declined to provide electric range or other distance in figures, although chief engineer John Davis said it will likely hit at least 50 km (31 miles) of electric range specifically in China.

The vehicle starts with a new air-suspension system that replaces traditional coil springs with air bellows that can raise or lower the vehicle up to 80 mm (3.1 inches), depending on the situation. An adaptive suspension uses the forward-facing camera to scan the road for obstacles such as potholes and to constantly adjust the vehicle.

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"Aviator represents the very best of our brand DNA and indicates the direction for Lincoln vehicles that advance," Falotico said in a statement. "It offers elegance, effortless performance and unrivaled comfort – a faithful representation of Lincoln's vision for the future."

Full of technology

The vehicle is also packed with technology and features for driver assistance.

In addition to the standard Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 features, customers can upgrade to Co-Pilot 360 Plus, which offers new technologies, including file assistance, rear-end support and active parking assistance plus, which can park the vehicle in parallel or perpendicular position without the driver does not have to steer, brake or accelerate.

The Aviator introduces a "telephone as a key" function; customers can download the Lincoln Way app and use their smartphone to lock, unlock and start the vehicle. Up to four phones can be connected. If the battery of the phone dies, Lincoln says that a backup password can be entered on the external keyboard to enter the vehicle, and the middle touch screen can be used to start the engine.

The interior includes 28 Revel speakers, chargers for cordless phones and available 30-way massaging front seats.

The steering wheel has also been redesigned to have a cleaner, simpler appearance with fewer buttons.

The Aviator is built next to the Ford Explorer at the Ford Assembly Factory in Chicago. The next generation Explorer is expected to be unveiled next year.