The past ten years will undoubtedly go down as some of the worst in Lincoln’s long history as both its sales and its status as a luxury car leader have plummeted. Even Ford’s venerated former CEO Alan Mulally considered euthanizing Lincoln, but the brand managed to hang on, and it might finally be turning a corner with the Lincoln Continental Concept.
The first thing I noticed is how low the Continental Concept rides to the ground, hovering just a few inches over the blacktop. In a nod to the Tesla Model S, Lincoln designers added pop-out “E-Latch” door handles that contribute to the smooth, uninterrupted lines of the Continental Concept, even while the flared wheel wells give it a broad, muscular look. It’s true to the history of the Continental, without being mired in the past.
One of the major knocks against Lincoln is how it’s been light on luxury features that other automakers are offering buyers, adding to the accusation that the brand is little more than tarted-up Fords. But the Continental could change that with options like a smart-tinting sunroof, reclining rear seats, a “tablet tray” that pops out of the rear center console, and even a champagne storage compartment, because only the uber-wealthy should be allowed to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on the road, apparently. There’s even detachable Venetian leather travel cases that plug into the backs of the front seats.
By now you’ve got to be wondering, “What’s under the hood?” Sorry to disappoint plug-in car fans, but the sole source of motivation in the Continental Concept is the 3.0 liter EcoBoost V6 that is almost certianly based off of the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 that debuted in the 2015 Ford F-150 last year. The Continental offers three driving modes, normal, sport, and comfort, but nowhere is there any mention of weight-lightening materials like carbon fiber or aluminum. That seems like a missed opportunity to me, as is not integrating more sustainability into the Lincoln dealer network.
On the whole though? I love the Lincoln Continental Concept, and the directional shift it seems to indicate for the brand. Let’s drop the crappy three-letter “names” and bring back monikers like Continental, Town Car, and Zephyr that clearly seperate themselves from the Ford lineup. Maybe that $5 billion makeover is finally working.
The only thing missing from the Continental Concept is a plug, and that can only be fixed later.