Lincoln‘s long-sought comeback might begin later this year, when it introduces a new full-size sedan based on the Continental concept seen here.
Ford’s upscale brand has been struggling to find an identity to set it apart from its luxury car competitors: its lineup of vehicles, all based on Ford platforms, has failed to gain traction in the past decade. Meanwhile, GM’s Buick has made significant strides following a similar formula—all but one of its models are based on platforms that underpin other North American General Motors products—so the question of why Lincoln hasn’t enjoyed similar success remains.
But never mind Buick: the Continental appears to have Cadillac’s forthcoming flagship CT6 in its sights, not to mention much bigger game. This is a bold-looking luxury car that won’t drive sales through the roof, but would give Lincoln a serious sedan to park at the top of its range and lead a migration to a new, more distinctive styling language. Inside, the Continental presents a “first-class” two-place rear cabin that, in photos, at least, wouldn’t look out of place in a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, or Maybach, with 30-way(!) adjustable seats, stowable lap trays and, of course, dedicated storage for champagne.
Not that the look is entirely original: the rear-three-quarter view is reminiscent of the late Saab 9-5, the grille looks borrowed from Jaguar, and the slab-sided profile is Audi-esque. But whatever: we like it, and we’d love to see some of this car’s styling cues trickle down to future versions of more mainstream Lincoln models.
Lincoln says the Continental is powered by a new 3.0L EcoBoost V6 (coincidentally, so will the CT6 use a twin-turbo V6) exclusive to Lincoln, adaptive steering and, presumably, all-wheel drive. Other tricks include electronic door latches, a tinting sunroof, ambient interior lighting and custom leather travel cases that mount to the backside of the front seats.
If Lincoln can bring to market a flagship that’s half as luxurious and attractive as this concept, it could be the car that (finally) has what it takes to begin a move into the big-leagues for a brand that has long languished on the luxury sidelines.
We’ll get our first look at the Continental Wednesday, April 1 at the New York auto show.