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LA LIVE: 2020 Lincoln Aviator [Video]

by Byron Hurd

Unlock 450 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque with your smartphone.

Lincoln took the next step in its brand overhaul Tuesday by announcing the 2020 Aviator--a new three-row crossover designed to re-establish Ford's luxury subsidiary as a player in the large crossover segment.

As such, the new Lincoln Aviator is more than just a pretty name attached to an existing Blue Oval product. Aviator's multi-layout platform will eventually underpin the new Ford Explorer, but for now it is unique to the luxury marque. In the Aviator's case, it will be fundamentally a rear-wheel-drive architecture with all-wheel-drive available to boot.

As with most modern luxury cars, the Aviator will be available in an electrified variant. In this case, it'll be the range-topping powertrain. With an estimated 450 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Grand Touring variant of the Aviator will push the performance boundaries of American luxury crossovers.

The base engine will be no slouch either. It's a twin-turbocharged V6 producing 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. All models, from the base, two-wheel-drive on up, utilize Ford's new 10-speed automatic transmission.

To go with its respectable performance figures, the Aviator boasts an exterior design that would almost be right at home in a British dealership. It looks like a Jaguar F-Pace's American half-brother--a little fatter, a little slower, but still pretty damned cool.

Speaking of cool, Lincoln put a heavy emphasis on the technological aspect of the luxury car experience. Aviator debuts the company's new "Phone as a Key" feature, which is exactly what it sounds like. Don't want to carry keys? Just unlock and start the Aviator with your smartphone. Smartphone dead? Fret not. A PIN can be entered as a backup.

There are more traditional luxury tech inclusions as well, such as a suspension that self-lowers to greet an approaching driver and a smart, camera- and sensor-based adaptive suspension that can adjust on-the-fly upon detecting discomforting road imperfections.

Aviator will boast plenty of conventional luxury appointments too, with an emphasis placed on the quality of interior materials and the ownership experience itself--something Lincoln has been working to improve upon ahead of the debut of its new flagship products.

Stay tuned for more on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator and Aviator Grand Touring next year as its release date approaches.

Live photos by Brian Williams.