Coming to the 2015 New York Auto Show: The New Lincoln Continental Concept

Growing up, my Dad had one of these, a 1964 Lincoln Continental:

Lincoln-Sedan-800

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The one he had came with a black tonneau cover. And we didn’t live in or know people who lived in places like that.  And we were Black.

Other than that, it was an absolutely awesome car, especially for a 7-year old.  The backseat was it’s own country.  I remember playing with the backseat lighting, the cigarette lighters (it only takes one time to learn), and generally had a blast back there.  It was also before child car seats.

He also had one of these, a 1974 Lincoln Continental:

1974 Lincoln Continental

1974 Lincoln Continental

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A few years after he passed, the movie “Star Wars” premiered.  I re-dubbed the car “The Death Star” because it was so big.

Clearly my Dad was a Lincoln Man.  And were he alive today, he’d want one of these:

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Actually, I think his reanimated skeleton is now patiently waiting outside a Lincoln dealership.

All fun aside, this is one helluva reincarnation of an iconic vehicle, introduced just before the 2015 New York International Auto Show.  The car is nothing short of epic.  Here are the 3 leading bullets in Lincoln’s press release:

-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

 

The phrase “quiet luxury” jumps out to me.  Even more than “EcoBoost”.  There is so much in those bullets that should signal to the market that Ford is 100% behind the future of Lincoln.  That Lincoln is going to leap ahead and engage with the executive luxury nameplates of Mercedes and BMW instead of staying with it’s blue oval brethren.  And it should signal that Lincoln is 100% heading to the Chinese market, where terms like “quiet luxury” go a very long way.

If this is built as well as it looks, Cadillac is now marginalized to chase after the 5-Series and E-Class.

The Continental’s bodywork is breathtaking, but the inside is what really energizes me:

Interior of the Lincoln Continental Concept, courtesy of The Lincoln Motor Company

Interior of the Lincoln Continental Concept, courtesy of The Lincoln Motor Company

 

If you didn’t know this was a Lincoln, this could easily be the backseat of a Maybach (yeah I’m stretching, so what), a S550, 750IL, or a few other executive luxury cars.  If this look is 95% of the production model, to me, this new Continental could make some noise.

“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.”

 

A nice choice of underdog-style words.  But within this market niche, the Continental will be an underdog.

An Underdog with a cape.

The EcoBoost engine will save on fuel costs, and the Continental probably won’t come in anywhere near the stickers of Mercedes and BMW.

This may not mean much for the CEO that buys the car and pays a chauffeur to drive him or her in from the hinterlands of their humble 62-gazillion square foot home.

It could mean much for a black car fleet owner, a Uber Black entrepreneur, or a corporate fleet manager who is always under pressure to save.  The Continental could be the value that provides the bells and whistles–without the Merc or Bentley cost.

All of this rests on build, fit, finish and reliability.  I hope I’m not errantly projecting that Lincoln is going to introduce a new heir apparent to a historic nameplate and deliver a turd.  It’s not the 70’s anymore.

 

 

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Sebastian James

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