Meet The Lincoln Continental: A New Model For A New Era

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Lincoln introduces the Continental concept just before the New York Auto Show

Ford has marked the last few years by reinventing itself; now it’s Lincoln’s turn.

Mark Fields, chief executive of Ford, came to New York this week for the New York International Auto Show (#NYIAS) to introduce the first new concept model of the new era, reinventing the legendary Lincoln Continental as a concept car poised to pounce on the growing–and profitable–luxury segment, especially the luxury market in China.


The Lincoln Continental’s distinctive wheels and new front grille design

The Lincoln Continental has long ben associated with luxury and heads of state–the convertible limo was the car John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated. The new concept is a nod to the full size luxury segment that Fields says is growing rapidly. “It’s the fastest retail growth segment,” he said, especially in China, where more and more millionaires are buying cars and hiring drivers to drive them. This Lincoln Continental is ideal for that market with a back seat nicer than a first class airline cabin, including sumptuous leather and suede, reclining seats, tray tables and a seat-back amenities case where riders can store their slippers and pillow.

Shhh, this luxury exudes quiet elegance

Lincoln Continental

Door handles that are quiet and elegant

Kumar Galhotra, the president of Lincoln, noted that there are two kinds of luxury customers: those looking for aggressive power, and those Lincoln is targeting, who are searching for “smooth effortless power.” And the concept car is built for that luxe customer experience.

You know those genteel drawing room comedies, where no one raises a voice and a door is never slammed? The new Lincoln brings this to life. Door handles unlatch with a simple touch; even better, they close with a quiet click. There is a drive control that cancels out unwanted noise – though probably just engine and outside noise, not your kids screaming in the back seat.

But then, this car is not really a family car, unless your family includes royal lineage.

Royal heritage, but forward thinking

Ford Ceo Mark Fields

Ford CEO Mark Fields introduces the new Lincoln Continental concept car

Fields said the concept car is “a nod to heritage without wallowing in it.” So the sleek lines of the new Lincoln and the advanced technology let you know you are in a thoroughly modern sedan.

The panoramic moonroof can let the sun pour in, or a tinted cover lets you enjoy privacy (you know, when the paparazzi are bugging you).

The seats are more than place to sit; they offer heated or cooled, options, and a massage feature that extends all the way to your shoulders. Lincoln engineers have also carefully considered how we drive, with the left and right legs needing different support, and a bolster that deflates one side as you exit.

The Lincoln experience: cosseting you in ways you never imagined

Lincoln Continental

Look at that sumptuous seating–fit for a king, or a little prince

Are you the type of person who forgets where you parked the car? Lincoln has an app for that. The Continental experience includes an app that knows where you parked your car; great at the airport, the mall, in the city…

The app also lets you start the car remotely, to heat or cool it. And you can schedule that remote start, so on a cold winter day when you need to drag yourself out of the house, your seat is warm and ready.

The remote key fob senses when you are near – and greets you with a light projection ‘welcome mat.’  Those elegant door handles illuminate, too, and when you enter the car, subtle ambient light helps you see.

Then there is technology to help you parallel park or park in a tight perpendicular spot – AND help guide you OUT of a tight spot. Genius and a great stress reducer.

The first class – rather ultra premium experience – extends to the back seat, where the seats recline, a foot rest pops out and a tray swivels over to hold a laptop or iPad. Princely children in the back seat can use this for their homework or a chauffeur-driven business executive can utilize a mobile office.

Lincoln Continental

The updated Lincoln design language includes chrome on the bumper and along the side ‘rocker panels’

While all this luxury doesn’t come in a diminutive package, if and when it comes to market, it may be competitively priced: the Continental is a full sized luxury car, similar in size to top of the line models from BMW 7-series or the Mercedes-Benz S-class, and while Lincoln execs wouldn’t give pricing, the rumor is that it will be priced more like the BMW 5-series or the Mercedes-Benz E-class.

The Lincoln Continental concept made its debut in New York City at the Harmon store, whose speakers offer a sumptuous stereo experience in the concept car; the Lincoln is also on display at the New York International Auto Show.

Let’s hope concept becomes reality.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell