Mercury  - MC4
The Mercury MC4, an innovative concept car that combines precision technology and sleek looks with the practicality and versatility of a family car, makes its world debut at the 1997 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
"The MC4 redefines our ideas about sports coupe design," said Jack Telnack, vice president, Corporate Design. "It is designed with the needs of today's diverse and active lifestyles in mind and shows that sports coupes can be practical when it comes to carrying passengers and their belongings in comfort."
While the car's dynamic exterior unmistakably takes sports coupe design as its inspiration, the MC4's large interior cabin can accommodate four adults and a child. The trunk is large enough to handle suitcases, golf clubs, a child's stroller and other items.
The rich gray-green body surface combines smooth, sculpted lines with clean, crisp intersections. This reflects the Ford-inspired New Edge approach to automotive design. The overall result is a sharper, more defined image that results from MC4's emphasis on precision and fun driving performance.
"The MC4 looks as good on the outside as it feels on the inside," said Jim O'Connor, Ford vice president in charge of Mercury. "This car is perfect for Mercury customers who don't want to give up design style for their active lifestyle. The MC4 can handle it all with flair."
A novel feature of the MC4 is its quad-door entry system. The innovative reverse door system incorporates two front doors, which are shorter than those on a traditional sports coupe and are easily opened in tight spaces such as garages and parking lots. Behind the front doors are two half-doors that open out toward the tail of the car. These half-doors cannot open until the front doors open. The result is a practical solution, providing easy entry to and exit from the rear seat area while maintaining the sleek lines of a sports coupe.
Attention to detail and precision engineering are hallmarks of the exterior design. The distinctive grille features a nickel chrome-plated bar that provides a unique appearance.
High intensity discharge headlamps ensure excellent visibility even on the darkest roads. The large red taillamps use a laser design.
The MC4 is equipped with cast 19-inch five-spoke wheels. The wheels, in combination with 255/40 R19 Goodyear low-profile tires, are pushed to the edge of the body, giving the car a dramatic stance that underlines its performance character. Large Brembo brakes with slotted rotors can bring the car to a rapid stop.
Flexibility also is a major theme of the MC4. It features twin, parallel sliding glass sunroof panels that can be opened individually.
A "gull-wing" style trunk lid adds a new level of versatility to trunk design. The half-lid, gull-wing sections of the trunk lid are raised from just above either wheel well to allow easy access.
Inside, three-point safety belts are integrated into each of the four front and rear bucket seats, eliminating the trailing safety belt. Thanks to the MC4's structural integrity, the car does not require a B-pillar, allowing easier access to the rear of the interior cabin.
The bucket seats take their inspiration from aircraft seats, blending hard and soft forms. The sense of safety and solidity is enhanced because the seats are an integral component of the car. Exposed brushed metal structures house the fully integrated safety belt system.
These qualities are balanced by the comfort of the seats. Soft leather is used on all surfaces that come into contact with the passenger. The seat wraps itself around the occupants for a snug, secure feeling and to provide strong lateral support.
An integrated front-facing child seat unfolds from the center console and snaps securely into position between the two rear seats, eliminating the need to carry a portable unit.
A center console running the length of the floor features cup holders for hot or cold beverages and includes an integrated television for rear seat passengers. The screen pops up from the console and can be used to watch favorite programs or as a game unit.
With the child seat folded away, the rear seats also can be folded forward, providing a cargo-carrying load space that extends from the trunk to the back of the front seats.
"Touch areas" -- those that come into contact with the driver or passengers -- are executed in soft leather and fabrics for comfort. Functional items, such as button controls and instrumentation, and trim details use metals for a solid, engineered feel. The intent is to merge style and advanced technology in an unexpected but practical fashion.
The MC4 is a driver-friendly car. The driver sits behind a retractable steering column that adjusts to his or her personal preference. The leather- wrapped steering wheel provides a comfortable grip and extra control. It also includes the buttons for the speed control and CD/radio system.
The instrument panel has electroluminescent analog gauges that feature black numerals on a white background for clear, precise information. The main gauges are housed in a moveable cluster that adjusts with the rake and angle of the steering column so that they always are in easy view of the driver. Foot pedals and a footrest are adjustable.
Pushing a button located on the console starts the MC4's engine. In theory, the MC4, equipped with a V-8, could be powered by a variety of powertrains.
The engine prime button also activates three video-imaging cameras, which are designed to improve rear visibility. Two cameras, located in each of the sail panels, extend out from their protected flush pockets. Images are displayed on two screens that rise from the instrument panel at the base of each A-pillar. A third camera is mounted underneath the rear spoiler, and its image is projected on a screen that replaces the center-mounted rearview mirror.
The MC4's driver-focused technology also includes an advanced global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation system. The GPS screen appears in place of the center-mounted rearview mirror at the touch of a button to give the driver the latest information needed to plan a journey. Driving safety is enhanced by use of intelligent speed control that automatically adjusts the speed of the MC4 as it approaches vehicles from behind. The car also features RESCU, the Remote Emergency Satellite Cellular Unit, which can alert emergency services when required.
MC4 is equipped with a 12-speaker CD/radio unit that was designed by Ford's Automotive Components Division Advanced Audio Group. The system features two sub-woofers located underneath the trunk floor along with two center imaging speakers directed toward the passengers from a position behind the center console. The other speakers are placed throughout the interior of the car for optimal audio enjoyment.
"The MC4 appeals to people who know life as a participation sport," said O'Connor, "and will need vehicles that offer a total transportation solution to facilitate their wide range of interests. The Mercury MC4 concept offers customers fun and flexibility with flair."
source: Ford Motor Company