One of the most prestigious names in the automotive world is the Continental. Lincoln’s famous sedan started life in 1939 and was an immediate success. The most famous model came in the ’60s, which came with the iconic rear suicide doors. The Continental was owned by many famous people including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. It even has a bit of a dark stain on its history, being the car that president John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in. When the eighth generation came out in the late ’80s, it switched to front-wheel drive and was starting to lose its luster. After that, the Continental continued on a downward spiral until it was discontinued in its ninth generation, ending in 2002.
Ever since then, Ford has been sprinkling rumors of a new Continental which was to get back to taking on the best luxury cars from England and Germany. These rumored Continentals never got past the concept phase, and eventually people started disregarding them, not believing Ford and Lincoln would ever make such a car again.
Turns out, FoMoCo proved once again that, I believe the phrase goes, “haters gonna hate”, and just released images of the upcoming Lincoln Continental.
The new Conti is a massive, imposing thing, with its massive wheels and wheel arches and upright grill. Bye, bye is the split-wing grille of current Lincolns as all new Lincolns will ditch the split-wing as well. Instead the Continental will use a much larger, deeper set mesh grille with a Lincoln badge big enough to be on a 90’s rapper’s chain. The headlights have LED “ice cubes” in them, that represent the Lincoln badge, which fade on as you approach with the smart-key. The beltline is high, which gives the Conti a tall, imposing look, and it follows to the rear which almost looks Audi-esque.
The rear has a squat to it that almost suggests Lincoln went back to its rear-wheel drive roots, but sadly that’s not the case. The Continental will be based on the same CD4 platform, shared with the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, so it will be front-wheel drive based and be available with all-wheel drive. The continued use of FWD in luxury cars by American brands (I’m look at you, Cadillac XTS) still baffles me, but I guess if Audi can pull it off, Lincoln can as well.
The Continental will use a 3.0 liter, turbocharged EcoBoost V6 under the hood, though no word on power or economy numbers. There will also be a 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 available as the base engine. It’s understandable to offer a smaller displacement engine as the base, but having a 3.0 liter V6 as the highest level engine in Ford’s most luxurious car is a bit troubling. While it is true that Ford and Lincoln are looking to focus more on “quiet luxury” than performance, it’s the silky smooth waves of torque from big V8s that everyone misses about American luxury cars. Hopefully there will be one down the line.
While the exterior of the Conti is a bit underwhelming, as Lincoln says the car is about being quiet and not shouty, the interior is quite incredible actually. While not nearly as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as, say, a Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series, the Continental’s interior is nothing short of impressive. All of the sumptuous leather and chrome trim brings back memories of the American luxury cars of the ’50s and ’60s yet looks completely modern. Ford has taken out 50 patents for the seats alone. They feature 30-way adjustability with 11 air bladders in the cushions. The seats also have wings that can cradle passengers if they wish. It even has a champagne cooler and two flutes, like a Maybach. Admittedly, the ergonomics and aesthetics look a bit messy and convoluted, but it’s bound to be a luxurious and comfortable environment.
Overall the Continental looks like it will be an interesting car in the luxury sedan segment. No word on pricing, but knowing Ford, it will probably be priced similar to the upcoming Cadillac CT6 and undercut the 7 Series, S Class, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8. At a lower price range and with the prestigious name, it isn’t impossible for Ford and Lincoln to steal some sales away from the big German and English rivals. I just can’t wait for the Matthew McConaughey commercials for it. Alright, alright.