Lincoln’s MKZ, its best-selling vehicle in North America, gets a significant mid-cycle refresh for the 2017 model year that is zeroed in on updated quality, performance and style. The 2017 MKZ is the first vehicle in Lincoln’s lineup to adopt the company’s new design language previewed on the Continental concept car. Competitors include the Cadillac CTS and the BMW 3 Series.

The newest model is more understated and classy — a departure from the previous generation’s styling that was more bold and brassy when it debuted in 2013. The 2017 model has gorgeous back-end tailoring that gives it fastback looks from the rear.

The 2017 MKZ is powered by a choice of three drivetrains, including a hybrid. At the top of the line is a new unique-to-Lincoln 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine that produces 400-horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, paired with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system (front-wheel-drive 3.0-liter models are limited to 350 horsepower).

A 245-horsepower, 2.0-liter GTDI four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is a front-wheel-drive model. Both are shifted via a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with a push-button selector on the center instrument panel or steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Available Lincoln Drive Control allows drivers to choose between three drive modes: comfort, normal and sport. The system includes continuously controlled damping and electric power-assisted steering to provide comfortable, confident handling, according to Lincoln.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 70-kilowatt electric traction motor powered by lithium-ion batteries and a continuously variable transmission powers the MKZ hybrid; it has better packaging and lower weight than previous Ford-produced hybrids.

Inside, Lincoln engineers paid particular attention to the sound and feel of new switches and dials that replace slider adjustments for ventilation and audio functions. Commonly used buttons and USB ports are now even easier to access. An active noise control system contributes to a quiet cabin. A fully retractable panoramic glass roof is available, as is a Revel audio system by Harmon that offers concert-quality sound.

2017 Lincoln MKZ

Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality can automatically slow the car, resuming higher speeds when traffic clears. The system activates the brakes automatically to bring the car to a complete stop if the driver fails to apply brakes in time. An auto hold feature keeps the vehicle at a complete stop without the driver having to press and hold the brake pedal — promising a more relaxing drive for MKZ owners, even in stop-and-go driving.

The new sedan is available with two all-new Lincoln Black Label themes, Chalet and Vineyard, as well as the previously available Thoroughbred trim level; each offers unique luxury styling and premium materials. The standard Lincoln MKZ interior color palette includes beautiful shades such as Cappuccino, Ebony, and Terra Cotta, as well as an all-new Jade Gray. Pricing starts at $35,010.