Lincoln is re-earning its stripes car by car these days — with excellence but a bit of inconsistency. One segment it still owns almost completely even after the Town Car bowed out in 2012 is the livery market. The MKS and MKT are still the default choice for limo companies across the US.
How to springboard this luxury reputation into continued US comfort plus the brand’s biggest opportunity in decades: China.
The Chinese love the Town Car and feel affinity toward the Lincoln brand in general. It has deep roots, back-seat panache and classiness of a premium brand.
To hit these two dual targets and establish a luxury flagship at the same time, meet the next chapter: the Continental Concept.
This ultra-luxury look at the future of Lincoln limo design is a promising glimpse of the brand’s potential. All-new and highly organic styling shows a very Mercedes and Bentley-esque presence, but details all its own.
The deep-set and slightly ovular grille is chrome-tastic, while the proportions are balanced and pure forms. There is serenity in the design, with a matching windshield and rear glasshouse angle, symmetrical glasshouse designs for the front and rear doors, and a super-lux rear end. This taillamp and its full-width LED is the only place that the design feels derivative, sharing a (vague) resemblance to the new S-Class Coupe.
Our favorite design detail is the Lincoln crosshair in the new six-pack of LED Laser headlamps.
Overall, the design is a refreshing look at leaned-back and posh limo style from Lincoln.
Practically speaking, this design promises a new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6. The overall size makes this Continental look like it might be the next MKS — or perhaps a long-wheelbase version of the MKS with a giant rear seat and custom cabin.
The Continental name itself is very likely on the 2017 production model – which will go global to capture Chinese luxury fans, US livery companies and a modest consumer market of superlux and traditional American luxury fans.
2015 Lincoln Continental Concept
Mar 30, 2015 | NEW YORK
Lincoln Continental Concept Shows the Future of Quiet Luxury and Upcoming Full-size Sedan
Elegant, effortlessly powerful and serene, the Lincoln Continental Concept signals the brand’s all-new full-size sedan coming next year and the future of quiet luxury
Lincoln Continental Concept integrates technologies designed to create better drivers, rejuvenate and entertain passengers, including all-new, Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter EcoBoost® engine, patented 30-way seats and premium Revel audio system
New Continental Concept introduces E-Latch door handles, LED matrix headlamps with laser-assist high beams and SPD SmartGlass® tinting sunroof
NEW YORK, March 30, 2015 –Lincoln today introduces the Continental Concept, signaling an all-new full-size sedan coming next year and the future of quiet luxury.
Elegant, effortlessly powerful and serene, the Continental Concept blends meticulous craftsmanship and technologies designed to create better drivers and provide passengers with a more relaxing and entertaining environment inspired by first-class travel.
“Luxury at its best is about simplifying and quietly exceeding expectations, rather than being the loudest statement on the road,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO. “The Continental Concept showcases the promise of quiet luxury from Lincoln going forward. It also is a strong indication of what’s to come next year as we introduce our new Lincoln Continental full-size luxury sedan.”
With a sleek silhouette and a new centered chrome grille, the Continental Concept signals the arrival of a new face for Lincoln. A raised Lincoln badge is surrounded by a span of repeating polished aluminum Lincoln Star emblems.
E-Latch door handles tuck discreetly in the clean vehicle beltline. The door handle technology also provides for elegant entry. The doors open effortlessly with the touch of a button positioned on the underside of the door handle wings and close quietly.
“Some brands talk about ‘the machine,’ ” said Kumar Galhotra, Lincoln president. “Lincoln is different. For us, it is about more than the machine. It is about what our vehicles do for our clients.”
New technology is a hallmark of the vehicle. It starts with the vehicle sensing your approach and lighting up to greet you inside and out.
Outside, signature full-width tail lamps feature advanced light-through-chrome technology. Powerful LED matrix head lamps with laser-assist high beams reduce glare and improve visibility.
Rhapsody Blue metallic paint calls back Lincoln Continental’s signature color.
Inside are the brand’s most sensual materials ever, including Venetian leather seat and door panels, Alcantara® seat inserts and armrests, satin headliner and shearling wool carpet. Rose Gold trim around the instrument cluster provides warmth. Bright chrome trim on the instrument panel adds contrast.
Ambient lighting enhances the interior, creating a serene environment. Soft-gold LED lights glow from the center console and from the halo light overhead.
Patented 30-way Lincoln-designed seats use a new-to-market design that conforms to passengers’ sizes and shapes. The passenger-side rear seat can fully recline by moving the front passenger seat forward with the touch of a button.
From a panel mounted on the through-center console, rear passengers also can control climate settings and the Revel Ultima audio system, which allows passengers to select from three surround-sound modes: Stereo, Audience and On-Stage.
Rear-seat comfort is further highlighted by an SPD SmartGlass® tinting sunroof, which allows passengers to control heat from direct sunlight. With the touch of a button, the glass can cool the vehicle interior by as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit, while blocking 99 percent of UV rays.
Rear-seat passengers also enjoy the convenience of a tablet-supporting lap tray that deploys from the through-center console. It also features a champagne storage compartment. Detachable, hand-crafted Venetian leather travel cases are mounted to the backside of the front seats.
Under the skin, the Continental Concept is powered by a Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost® engine. It also features Lincoln Drive Control ride-enhancing technologies and Adaptive Steering. The car rides on polished-aluminum, painted-pocket 21-inch wheels.
Driver assist technologies include Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Enhanced Park Assist and a 360-degree camera that displays on the MyLincoln Touch™ screen.
“The Lincoln Continental name is associated with iconic beauty and elegance,” said David Woodhouse, Lincoln design director. “Capturing those qualities and building upon them drove us as we crafted this thoroughly modern sedan concept.”
The Lincoln Continental Concept is at the New York International Auto Show, which opens Wednesday for members of the news media.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.