The MKZ is a front-engine midsize sedan based on the Ford Fusion platform. (Ford Motor Company)

Bottom line: Poor Lincoln. The luxury division of Ford Motor Co. is in such a hurry to regain what it considers lost prestige, it constantly overlooks the value and quality of what it has in hand. Such is the case with the 2013 Lincoln MKZ AWD sedan, perhaps the most erroneously marketed of all new automobiles. Lincoln needs to stop wasting money and time chasing “prestige” buyers with this one. Instead, it needs to make an acquaintance with the middle class, which appreciates value beautifully rendered. The new MKZ fits that mode.

Head-turning quotient: This one is a neck-snapper supreme. It easily turned more heads than the twice-as-expensive Audi A8 Quattro TDI L. Its “reachable” price — most people who stopped to look at it thought they could afford it — elevated its appeal.

Ride, acceleration and handling: It’s totally enjoyable in all three.

Body style/layout: The MKZ is a front-engine midsize sedan based on the Ford Fusion platform. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an option. It is not Lincoln’s usual “upgrade,” mostly rebadged, of a Ford product. The new MKZ is a distinctively nice piece of work also available as a gasoline-electric hybrid.

Engines/transmission: A 2-liter, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine with variable valve timing is standard (240 horsepower, 270 pound-feet of torque). The model driven for this column was equipped with an optional 3.7-liter, 24-valve gasoline V-6 with variable valve timing (300 horsepower, 270 pound-feet of torque. Both engines get a six-speed automatic transmission that can also be shifted manually.

Capacities: Seats five people. Cargo capacity is 15.4 cubic feet. Fuel capacity is 16.5 gallons of regular gasoline (regular grade is recommended).

Mileage: I averaged 25 miles per gallon in highway driving.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear), four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, and side and head air bags.

The MKZ driven for this column also came with an optional “technology package,” priced at $2,250, that includes forward collision-avoidance, lane-departure warning, and rear collision-proximity warning systems. This column recommends it. Also recommended are optional rear inflatable seat belts, priced at $195.

Price: The sedan has a base price of $37,815, with a dealer’s invoice price of $35,924 for that model. Price as tested is $51,205 including $12,485 in options (3.7-liter V-6, technology package, onboard navigation and Ford MyLink communications system, premium sound system, 20-inch-diameter wheels, power panoramic glass roof, and other items) and a $895 destination charge. Estimated dealer’s price as tested is $48,000.