2002 Blackwood Overview
"Blackwood is going to help Lincoln sustain the product-led momentum created
by the Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln LS because it represents a uniquely American
interpretation of luxury. It takes some of the best qualities of Lincoln luxury
cars and the sport-utility vehicle and blurs the distinction to create something
— Mark Hutchins, President, Lincoln Mercury
- The production Lincoln Blackwood remains true to the visual promise of the concept that debuted in 1999. Blackwood's gloss-black finish, signature Lincoln grille and low-profile 18-inch tires contribute to the vehicle's dramatic stance.
- Production will be limited to less than 10,000 units per year, in order to maintain exclusivity.
- Blackwood's most striking feature is its 4-foot, 8-inch cargo trunk, which recalls the craftsmanship of classic wooden motorboats. The trunk interior is visually arresting with its stainless-steel trim and LED accent lighting.
- The industry's first manufacturer-installed power tonneau cover and side-hinged Dutch doors enhance the appearance and functionality of the Blackwood's trunk.
- Blackwood's passenger cabin provides a visual link to the exterior cabin through its monochromatic black interior trimmed in Connolly leather and dark-stained crystal oak wood. It is exceptionally quiet, roomy, comfortable and luxurious.
- A powerful, refined 300-horsepower engine and a load-leveling hybrid air and leaf-spring rear suspension provide impressive towing capability - up to 8,700 pounds.
- The Blackwood's nearly perfect front-to-rear weight balance, careful suspension tuning, acceleration-sensitive dampers; speed-sensitive power steering and 18-inch wheels and tires combine to provide a comfortable, controlled ride and confident, balanced handling.
The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood
The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood is the latest product in the total transformation of the Lincoln brand, a transformation that began nearly four years ago.
In 1998, Lincoln Mercury relocated its headquarters from Detroit to Irvine, Calif. - in the heart of the largest luxury vehicle market in the country - in order to establish a unique culture built around the brand's American Luxury signature.
Prior to the move, Lincoln launched the Navigator sport-utility vehicle, as a 1998 model, followed in 2000 by the Lincoln LS luxury sports sedan. These two products, which expanded the brand's product range beyond the traditional full-size luxury market, have been enormously successful in attracting new customers and in growing Lincoln sales. Lincoln sales in 2000 were the best since 1990, and fully 70 percent of Navigator customers and 60 percent of LS customers had never owned a Lincoln before. In addition, the median age of these customers is in the mid-50s - substantially lower than the median age of Lincoln's customers in the traditional luxury segment, which is in the mid-60s.
In 2000, with the success of the Navigator and LS in attracting new customers to the brand, Ford Motor Company vested Lincoln with its own design, product development, purchasing and manufacturing organizations to complement its strong sales, marketing and distribution organization. Today, these resources are 100-percent dedicated to fully developing American Luxury in product terms, through marketing channels and through a premier sales and service experience.
"German cars have a distinctive character, so do British and Japanese cars. American Luxury and Lincoln are about having products that are equal to the best in the world in engineering and quality terms, but totally unique - and unabashedly American - in the way they drive, in they way the look and feel," says Hutchins. "With all of the resources now dedicated to growing Lincoln - and judging by the public's reaction to the Blackwood - I know we can achieve this."
The Lincoln Blackwood makes a tremendous impression on people of all ages and from all walks of life. "Every time we took a prototype on the road, we seemed to spend more time talking to people than actually driving," says Lisa Bacus, Blackwood brand manager. "It's the kind of vehicle people dream about owning," Bacus continues, "and having an aspirational vehicle like Blackwood in our showrooms can only support the rest of the Lincoln range."
Bacus said Blackwood will attract affluent and accomplished consumers who are attracted to its design and interested in buying a luxury vehicle with exceptional cargo-carrying and towing ability.
"Blackwood is an image and lifestyle vehicle, but one with great utility and functionality," she says. "It can easily tow a large boat or horse trailer one day, and take a foursome to the golf course the next."
Blackwood's deep-gloss black-paint finish, signature Lincoln grille, 18-inch wheels and low-profile tires contribute to the vehicle's dramatic stance. Bright, tightly focused complex-reflector headlamps, fog lamps and taillights stand out against the black paint, as do the chromed door handles, side mirrors and fuel-filler door. The Lincoln star insignia decorates the front-door cladding and the tonneau's latch cover.
To contribute to Blackwood's sleek appearance, the radio antenna is concealed inside the rear-window glass, which reduces wind noise.
The exotic, heavily striated African Wenge wood of the show vehicle's trunk is interpreted for production in an extremely durable, three-dimensional composite surface for better longevity, maintenance and insurability than wood. The photo-laminate process used to create the panels accurately records the image of wood bands, each of which is defined by a brushed aluminum stripe. The composite panels - like the rest of Blackwood - had to pass stringent durability testing. The panels were able to maintain their color after seven simulated years of advanced weathering.
The cargo area is protected by the first manufacturer-installed power tonneau cover, which nests into the rear doors and becomes a structural member when latched at each rear corner. The Dutch-style rear doors bear the Blackwood name in widely spaced, chrome capital letters. The doors allow easier loading and unloading of the cargo area by eliminating the need to bend over a lowered pickup gate.
Blackwood's 26.5 cubic foot trunk is unique inside and out. Side-hinged Dutch doors and a tonneau cover that opens at the push of a button - either from the key fob, interior overhead console or through a code on the driver's door keypad - allow easy access to the interior of the trunk. A lighted handle inside the trunk offers an emergency release, and a separate, locking manual override - intended for service use - is housed within the rear, passenger-side wheel housing.
Electric controls silently lift the tonneau to a height of 6 feet, 8 inches, and close it as well. Safety sensors built into the unit reverse the motor if an obstruction is detected.
The trunk's interior walls are clad in a durable .032-inch stainless steel that lends a luxurious appearance, with PVC rub strips to ward off dents and scratches. Cool-to-the-touch LED light strips on either side provide an accent along the junction between the sides and cargo floor. Flush tie-down rings help secure larger items. A storage bin is built into each side, and additional open bins are located in each Dutch door.
Blackwood offers numerous comfort and convenience features for both driver and passengers as standard equipment. The only optional luxury feature is a console-integrated satellite-based navigation system that uses data CDs to provide street-level detail, and can be programmed to guide the driver to a specific address.
Interior highlights include perforated black Connolly leather-faced seats that offer a wide range of heating and cooling settings for the driver and front seat passenger. The climate-controlled seats circulate heated or cooled air through the perforated-leather surfaces using a dedicated fan and compact heat pumps. The seat surfaces begin to heat or cool within seconds.
Blackwood also offers a tilt steering column with steering wheel-mounted duplicate stereo and climate control buttons, a seven-speaker Alpine audio system with subwoofer and six-CD changer, automatic climate control and auto-shutoff headlamps. The interior is trimmed in dark-stained crystal oak, and has a wood-and-leather trimmed steering wheel.
Blackwood's four bucket seats are packaged in a space large enough for six
adults, so each occupant is afforded exceptional hip and shoulder room. Both
driver and front passenger seats are power adjustable, with extended power lumbar
support. The driver's seat, mirrors and adjustable brake and accelerator pedals
have a memory feature, which can record three drivers' preferences.
The front seats and rear seats are each separated by full-size consoles with hinged, leather-clad lids and deep molded-in cupholders. In addition to the dash-mounted cigar lighter, there are four 12-volt power points: one on the instrument panel, two in the rear passenger area and one in the cargo trunk.
An overhead console offers an electronic display that includes a compass, distance to empty and average fuel economy readings. Controls on the console operate the power moonroof and the power tonneau cover. The Homelink System™ located on the driver's side visor controls up to three remote-control devices, such as garage door openers.
Blackwood is designed to offer superb handling and a smooth, quiet and controlled ride over a wide range of road surfaces. The suspension was carefully engineered to optimize its nearly 50/50 weight balance. Tuned spring rates and stabilizer bars help maintain a level ride during maneuvers.
The independent short- and long-arm (SLA) front suspension uses coil springs and shock absorbers with acceleration-sensitive damping. The shocks allow quick suspension travel in response to sharp bumps, such as potholes or pavement edges, while offering more resistance to slower movements, such as body roll. This provides the smoother ride of soft-rate shocks, with the control of firm shock valving when maneuvering.
The rear suspension uses acceleration-sensitive shocks with a hybrid of leaf and air springs that virtually eliminates the abrupt spring rate transitions common to conventional leaf spring designs. Such transitions could produce a jarring ride over large bumps. Blackwood's single leaf spring has a parabolic cross-section, designed to handle the weight of the unloaded vehicle on the rear axle - about 3,000 pounds at normal deflection.
As passengers or cargo are added, the extra weight is taken up by the air springs. Air pressure in the springs - which are shaped like flexible vertical cylinders - adjust automatically to maintain ride height. The air springs are progressive, meaning they are able to generate a plush ride in the normal operating range, but offer increasingly stiff resistance as the axle approaches the limits of travel, which helps to prevent bottoming.
To improve stability, the rear shocks are staggered - one toward the front, one angled rearward - for better control of the solid axle over road irregularities. At the extreme of axle travel, micro-cellular urethane jounce bumpers provide a more progressive halt than solid rubber bumpers. The more they are compressed, the more resistance they offer, in order to keep the axle from striking the frame under an exceptional load, which can occur when striking a deep, sharp-edged pothole. Anti-windup bars attached to the rear axle help to prevent wheel hop under strong acceleration, and maintain traction on wet or loose surfaces.
Tires developed specially for the Blackwood – P275/55R-18 Michelin Cross-Terrain tires mounted on 18x8-inch machined aluminum wheels – make a major contribution to its ride characteristics.
The recirculating-ball power-steering system uses a new variable-assist power-steering control that very closely matches the characteristics of the Lincoln LS rack and pinion, which was the team's benchmark. In low-speed situations, such as parallel parking, it provides more power assist to reduce steering effort. At higher speeds, power assist is reduced to contribute to a tighter, more precise steering feel.
Blackwood's 5.4-liter, 32-valve dual overhead cam V-8 engine produces 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 355 foot-pounds of peak torque at 2,750 rpm. It has aluminum heads and a 90-degree cast-iron block in a deep-skirted design that adds stiffness and reduces noise. Sequential multi-port injectors deliver fuel to the cylinders through a tumble-port cylinder head configuration, which enhances power and fuel efficiency. The engine is calibrated to run on 91 octane (minimum) regular unleaded gasoline.
Blackwood's engine is rated for 100,000 miles before the first tune-up, under normal driving conditions, with regular fluid and filter changes. It features fail-safe engine protection designed to minimize engine damage in the event of a catastrophic coolant loss. If the engine controller detects overheating, it shuts off fuel to alternating banks of cylinders, which allows cool air to pump through the cylinder bores. In fail-safe mode, the vehicle can be driven a short distance under reduced power, depending on speed, load and outside temperature.
Blackwood's engine is mated to a 4R100-model four-speed automatic transmission
with overdrive and a locking torque converter. A 3.73 final drive ratio and
a built-in Class III/IV hitch contribute to Blackwood's muscular tow rating
of up to 8,700 pounds. To enhance traction, Blackwood uses a combination of
mechanical and electronic strategies. In situations where power exceeds available
traction, and the rear wheels spin, Blackwood's traction control system reduces
engine output by retarding the spark and reducing fuel flow until traction is
restored. To improve system smoothness, Blackwood doesn't use the braking system
to reduce wheel spin. The driver usually won't notice the system in action at
all, which is consistent with Blackwood's goal of quiet powertrain operation.
In situations in which wheel spin is required, such as in deep snow, the system can be overridden via a lighted dash-mounted button. When the system is turned off, an indicator on the switch lights up. The system is automatically reset the next time the vehicle is started.
Blackwood comes with a standard limited-slip differential. Later this year, it will offer an enhanced rear axle equipped with the Visco-Lok torque transfer system. This hydraulic system offers seven times the torque transfer capability of a conventional limited-slip differential, and transfers more torque as it senses increasing wheelspin.
Safety and Security
Blackwood's standard safety features include second-generation front air bags, seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and front seat passenger, front shoulder and lap belts with pretensioners and energy management system, childproof door locks and child seat tether capability for the rear seats. For comfort, all four shoulder belts are height-adjustable.
Blackwood also features BeltMinder™, which sounds a chime and flashes a red warning light on the dashboard as a gentle reminder to buckle up once the vehicle is moving. This is especially useful to those who get in and out of their vehicles frequently, such as during the course of business.
To enhance visibility, the side mirrors have built-in turn signal repeaters. Blackwood also has a Reverse Sensing System that is activated when reverse gear is selected. It provides an audible cue to obstacles behind the vehicle, beeping with increasing frequency as the object nears.
Blackwood has three-channel, four-wheel antilock (ABS) disc brakes. Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), in concert with ABS, helps to shorten stopping distances by continually monitoring wheel slip and allocating braking forces front-to-rear based on available traction. In practice, this allows the rear wheels to supply more braking as the load on the rear axle increases, such as when the cargo trunk is full, or during towing.
Like all Lincoln vehicles, Blackwood is fitted with the SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system that requires the use of a coded ignition key to start the vehicle. A perimeter alarm also is included in the system. A valet feature allows the driver to disable the release buttons for the tonneau cover on the overhead console.
Assembly and Pricing
Blackwood will be built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo. Production will be limited to less than 10,000 units per year, in order to maintain exclusivity.
The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood has a manufacturer's suggested price of $52,500, including delivery and dealer preparation charges. The optional navigation system is priced at $1,995. Like all Lincoln vehicles, Blackwood will be covered by a four-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Lincoln also provides complimentary scheduled maintenance, including oil changes and tire rotation, for the first three years or 36,000 miles of ownership.