Monday, March 30, 2015
The Continental Treatment: Lincoln Revives Historic Name
Through much of Lincoln's history, Ford Motor Company's luxury brand best vehicles came when they were deliberately competing against General Motors' premium car make Cadillac. The 1950s and 1960s had Lincoln attempting to boldly define itself from its main rival creating memorable designs. Diagonally-stacked headlights and suicide doors were some eye-grabbing features used by Lincoln to present their idea of luxury. With Cadillac preparing a super-luxury CT6 sedan for 2016, it appears the time has returned for Lincoln to directly attempt to best their old American luxury foe. At the New York International Auto Show, the Continental Concept will debut as a production-ready vision of a new luxury flagship sedan.
A strikingly modern, high-class four-door, the elegance on display with the Lincoln Continental Concept is crafted with great purpose. Years ago, the Continental name one of the cornerstones of luxury in North America. First appearing with Lincoln in 1940 spawned from a personal luxury convertible prepared for Edsel Ford, the modified Lincoln Zephyr was a high-end vehicle. A symbol of luxury and power, part of the Lincoln Continental's early legacy was pacing the first post-war Indianapolis 500 in 1946. From 1956 to 1958, the Continental name stood alone as a super-premium Ford vehicle. The hand-assembled 1956 Continental Mark II was squarely aimed at the Cadillac Eldorado and Chrysler 300. Priced at $9,695, Ford lost $1,000 per vehicle simply to outshine their competition. The Continental name was reintegrated into the Lincoln line-up in 1959 where it first became known as a four-door sedan. The Lincoln Continental's was last produced in 2002.
Back to 2015, the Continental Concept car glimmering in its Rhapsody Blue metallic is set to be the latest attempt of outdoing the high-luxury competition domestically as well as internationally. The long body is stunning without being overly ornamental. “Luxury at its best is about simplifying and quietly exceeding expectations, rather than being the loudest statement on the road,” said Ford Motor Company president and CEO Mark Fields.
The Continental Concept's shape is carefully engineered to project a sleek, smooth appearance. Even the door handles have been discretely located requiring just a touch of a button to open. LED matrix headlights with laser-assist high beams exhibited on the concept car flatters BMW and Audi through the art of imitation. That being said, the Lincoln Continental Concept wears the high-tech illumination technology nicely separated by a patterned chrome grille. Chrome also accents the rocker panels along with the lower part of the front and rear valance of the Lincoln concept car. Polished aluminum 21-inch wheels with a painted-pocket appeared is also hard to miss.
While Lincoln says their intentions of the Continental Concept is not to project the loudest voice of luxury, the interior appears to be a lively scream in the name of extravagance. Venetian leather and Alcantara are used for the seating alone. Shearling wool carpeting and a satin headliner excel in the presentation of fine luxury. Equipped with patented 30-way adjustable front seats, the rear seating layout of the Lincoln Continental Concept has a two-passenger rear seating area divided by a large center console. Providing passengers with access to climate and audio controls, a champagne storage compartment, tablet-supporting lap tray as well as detachable Venetian leather travel cases are in easy reach for the backseat occupants. An sound system prepared by Revel Ultima (a high-end audio brand of Harman) is used to fill the cabin area with rich acoustics.
SPD SmartGlass tinting sunroof can be control to block sunlight in order to cool the interior at the press of a button. A similar system has been available on Mercedes-Benz vehicles under the name Magic Sky Control. At night, the interior is illuminated by soft gold LED lighting.
Lincoln's Continental Concept is powered by a production-ready 3.0-liter V-6 engine based on Ford's EcoBoost technology. The engine will be exclusive to the luxury car division of Ford and will be married with Lincoln Drive Control featuring three selectable driving modes.
The concept car making its debut in New York in early April, the sedan is rolling out the red carpet for the Lincoln Continental's return to the marketplace next year.