One of the most famous names in the automotive world is about to make a comeback.
The Lincoln Continental, an icon of US car culture for decades, will return to roads in 2016 as a full-size sedan that signals a “future of quiet luxury” for the brand — a brand that has struggled against German luxury brands in recent times but is in the midst of a multi billion-dollar overhaul.
Reading between the lines, it appears an American rival for the long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class is on the cards. As well as the US, China would appear to be a key country for the road-going model, given its market-wide predilection for chauffeur cars.
Whether Lincoln will get even braver and bring back the famous four-seat convertible Continental remains to be seen. We can hope.
To tide us over until this production sedan, Ford’s luxury arm has revealed a concept car that will take a bow at the 2015 New York motor show on April 1.
The show concept features a bold chrome grille that serves as the new ‘face’ of the brand, and a sleek and classical overall design with clean and uncluttered lines and the short front overhang and long bonnet of a classic rear-drive large sedan.
It’s worth remembering that Lincoln’s exterior design chief, Max Wolff, is an Australian graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, so there’s a local touch to boot.
New technology is said to be a hallmark of the vehicle. It starts with the vehicle sensing your approach and lighting up to greet you inside and out. Outside, powerful LED matrix head lights with laser-assist high beams reduce glare and improve visibility.
Inside are the brand’s “most sensual materials ever”, including Venetian leather seat and door panels, Alcantara seat inserts and armrests, a satin headliner and shearling wool carpet. Rose Gold trim around the instrument cluster and bright chrome trim also feature.
The cabin also ports ambient lighting, while soft-gold LED lights glow from the centre console and from the halo light overhead.
Patented 30-way Lincoln-designed seats use a new-to-market design that apparently 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 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 tinted sunroof that apparently 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 8 degrees while blocking 99 percent of UV rays.
Rear-seat passengers also get a tablet-supporting lap tray that deploys from the centre 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 3.0-litre V6 EcoBoost turbo engine. It also features Lincoln Drive Control ride-enhancing technologies and Adaptive Steering. The car rides on polished-aluminium 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 touchscreen.
The Lincoln Continental badge was in use across staggered periods between 1939 to 2002. In recent times, the US company has instead relied on ‘MK’ nomenclature on its various vehicles.
Whether the MY16 Lincoln Continental luxury sedan ever makes right-hand-drive production and — either with Ford or Lincoln badges — Australia, remains unclear, though we’d be surprised if it did.
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