I’ll be honest, Lincoln isn’t really a car brand that crosses my mind. Pretty much ever. There was the Town Car, which was a hilarious wonderful car to rent (which I got to do about half a dozen times about 10 years or so ago). The Continental (being relaunched) is iconic. But if you asked me about current brands, I’m not sure I’d have listed Lincoln in the top 20. Assuming I could even name 20 car brands.
On this, the first of the two press-only days at the NYIAS, I found Alex Roy and John DeVore lounging about in the Lincoln demo room, waiting on Kevin Voecks. Kevin, whom you may or may not know, is the designer for Revel Speakers, a brand with several entries on Stereophile’s “Recommended Components” list. Revel was launched by Harman International at some point in the not-too-distant past, but has continued to offer up compelling and full-range loudspeakers to the home audio enthusiast for pretty much the entire time I’ve cared about high-end audio. They’re very good. Enough said.
What I didn’t know is that Revel has been tied to Lincoln, and is part of Ford’s efforts to resuscitate the brand.
Starting with the all-new MKX, announced here at the NYIAS, the Revel system is integrated from the get-go, and not in any way an afterthought bolt-on upgrade. From the press release:
Uncompromising acoustics and award-winning home theater audio quality comes to the Lincoln MKX through the available Revel audio system.
The Revel Ultima system is standard on Lincoln Black Label editions and available on Reserve models. It features 19 speakers with point source architecture, positioning the tweeter and midrange speakers close together for superior audio quality.
Further performance and refinement is provided by QuantumLogic® Surround Sound technology, which offers three listening modes – stereo, audience and on stage; patented Clari-Fi™ technology offering advanced, real-time music reconstruction for all compressed audio sources; and a 20-channel high-voltage hybrid amplifier for class-leading dynamics and optimized transparency.
A 13-speaker Revel system designed for the ultimate audio quality experience is available on the all-new Lincoln MKX Select and Reserve.
We got a chance to visit briefly with Kevin as he talked about his new toy. Unlike most high-end in-car audio systems sourced from, well, wherever, the amplification in the MKX is “hybrid” in the sense that it’s Class D for the bass and Class A/B for everything else. A DSP surround system makes enormous strides in addressing the challenges of being inside a closed space.
My verdict? This is a complex system with an elegant interface and easily the best sound I’ve heard in any Ford brand ever.
No, it’s not perfect. The sound stage (which has options for normal 2-channel “stereo”, an enhanced stereo mode called “Audience” and a full-bore 360° surround setting) was excellent but clearly better from the front-seat but with only a minor drop off as you moved to the back. Bass response was thumpin’ and a far cry from the silliness of most aftermarket sub mods, but whether or not it could have been tighter without rattling bolts out of the subchassis is unknown. All in all, very impressive.
No word yet on pricing or availability.