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Lincoln Continental Concept: New York Auto Show

What Is It?

Lincoln knows that me-too cars aren’t going to get it done in today’s hypercompetitive luxury-car market, so the Lincoln Continental Concept is all about signaling the brand’s intention to promote styling that’s like nobody else. In this full-size sedan, there is subtle homage to the lines and proportions of some grand Lincolns of the past, but the Continental Concept is very much its own fresh design. Clearly, a heavy retro play was not part of the program.

Although Lincoln plans to cut a new course as a more boutique-type luxury brand, the Continental Concept also demonstrates that the automaker won’t be left behind in terms of the advanced technology that rivals are introducing at a breakneck pace. Special tech highlights include door handles that emerge from the doors’ upper edge when you approach, but you don’t merely use the handle: Touch a button on the handle, and the doors open automatically.

The Continental Concept also has LED headlights with darkness-cutting laser assist for the high beams, seats that conform to individual body shapes with 30-way adjustability and a sunroof with electrochromic glass that can go from clear to shaded at the touch of a button. The Continental Concept is powered by a unique-to-Lincoln 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Absolutely. This is an early look at Lincoln’s replacement for its current top-of-the-line sedan, the MKS. Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said in a statement before the Continental Concept’s New York Auto Show unveiling this week that the Continental Concept "is a strong indication of what’s to come next year as we introduce our new Lincoln Continental full-size luxury sedan."

Will all that unique (and expensive) technology make the transition from the Continental Concept to the Continental you can buy in Lincoln showrooms next year? Probably, although those far-out doors might not be fully vetted for everyday use.

Why It’s Important

The Lincoln Continental Concept is meant to be the unmistakable signal that the automaker is heading in a totally new direction, escaping its longstanding identity as the seller of fancier versions of otherwise nearly identical Ford models.

Lincoln has long been absent from most luxury-car shoppers’ consideration lists, as its image became hazy and the more established luxury brands rapidly expanded their model lines far in excess of what Lincoln’s limited lineup has offered in the past. With the Continental Concept, however, Lincoln’s saying that it’s done playing the luxury game from the background.


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