The Lincoln Continental is back. The concept car that sparked our imaginations at the New York Auto Show back in the spring of 2015 has evolved into the production-ready car that you see here. And thankfully, the styling has stayed largely the same.
In an interview with Road & Track, Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra explained that the 2017 Continetal embodies the luxury automaker’s new philosophy of “quiet luxury.” That means pampering over performance, and a focus on a pleasant and elegant automotive experience over all else.
Lincoln’s designers made sure to sweat the details with the Continental. Start with the doors: The solid, chromed handles rise from the window sills, as they did on the concept car. The handles have no moving parts; rather, a button hidden on the back side of the handle operates an electric latch system that pops the door open and cinches it closed with the push of a button. As a side benefit, this E-latch system frees up space within the inside of the door, which Lincoln says allowed the door-mounted stereo speakers to be positioned ideally in a spot where traditional door latch mechanisms wouldn’t allow.
Inside, the pampering continues. Lincoln’s “Perfect Position” seats offer 30-way adjustment, an astounding number of degrees of freedom meant to cater to nearly every body and seating style. For example, the upper and lower halves of the seatback can be adjusted separately; the bottom cushion is split longitudinally to allow your right and left thigh to be supported at different angles. Front and rear passengers enjoy heated, cooled, and massaging seats.
Lincoln engineers also wanted that target effortlessness to extend to the part of modern cars that’s so often the most infuriating: The infotainment system. Chief Program Engineer Michael Celentino explained to R&T that most options in the touchscreen-based software can be accessed with a maximum of three taps, minimizing both distraction and frustration. The instrument panel (which we have not yet been able to see up-close) was designed for ease of reading and overall simplicity—readouts like turbo pressure don’t show up unless you select them in the dashboard configuration.
Since this Lincoln is meant for the global market—with a particular eye on China’s booming luxury car segment—the rear seat was designed for the enjoyment of the chauffeured passenger. The rear central armrest folds down to reveal audio and climate controls; the rear seats recline, and the rear windows are sunshade-equipped.
This may not be a sport sedan, but in the name of what Galhotra called “effortless performance,” it’s got some oomph: A projected 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, provided by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. Available all-wheel-drive features rear-axle torque vectoring; lesser models make do with front-wheel-drive. A drive mode selector offers three options (Comfort, Normal, and Sport), each with tweaks to the suspension and optional adaptive steering systems.
Continental gets a whole host of advanced safety and convenience features. Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection nails the brakes if a crash is imminent; adaptive cruise control can pace the car in front at a safe distance, even in stop-and-go traffic; and autonomous parallel and perpendicular park-in and park-out are bolstered by a 360-degree perimeter camera system.
Lincoln’s newfound focus on quiet luxury seeks to recapture some of the opulence and charm that’s long been missing from the automaker’s lineup. Whether that recipe can lead to success in a highly competitive luxury market remains to be seen. Pricing has not been announced, but Lincoln says the Continental will go on sale this fall.