Lincoln Continental – New for 2017
Lincoln Continental Concept Makes Splash at 2015 New York International Auto Show Lincoln Motor Company has shown its new Lincoln Continental Concept at the 2015 New York International Auto Show. Kept quiet until the week before the show, Lincoln clearly timed the release of the Continental Concept to coincide with the first public showing of the competing Cadillac CT6 sedan. Ford (Lincoln) used a similar tactic to take the wind out of the sails of the Acura NSX introduction at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show with its striking Ford GT.
The rhapsody blue 4-door sedan will replace the slow selling MKS at the top of the Lincoln sedan lineup. This Continental has presence the MKS does not and abandons Lincoln’s dorky winged grill front end design. The front end is now relatively Jag-esque with a bold grill opening. The grill texture tastefully uses repeating Lincoln stars. The blue interior clearly focuses on the right rear seat where the Chinese CEO will ride as his chauffer pilots the Continental through the streets of Shanghai. It is somewhat incredible that it takes Chinese input to convince a major American car maker to do the right car and abandon it clumsy naming scheme.
The engine is described as a 3.0L EcoBoost V6. The platform was not discussed, but it likely is not the old D3 platform the MKS rides on (Volvo S80/Ford Taurus/Ford Flex/Lincoln MKT) that, while very structurally sound, is expensive, heavy and outdated. We would guess that the Continental rides an lengthened and widened CD4 platform (Fusion/MKZ). While CD4 is front wheel drive, Continental will include an AWD version and this feature may be standard better compete with the CT6 and import brand rear wheel drive luxury marques.
Nomenclature Minutiae A bit about the name. The Continental name has been in the Lincoln line-up on-and-off since the late 1930s. The first Continental (Mark I – 1939 – 1948) was an Edsel Ford creation to give Lincoln an exclusive coupe positioned atop the lineup. It never used “Mark I” officially, but now that monicker is commonly used for the first car. The second Continental coupe was launched in 1956 and discontinued after the 1957 model year. Then “Continental” became a model designator for a few years (1958 – 1960) before finally the top of the line Lincoln Continental Town Car was added. In 1961, the iconic slab-sided Lincoln carried the Continental name. The Continental name would continue on the big Lincoln from 1961 through 1980. During this period, there were Town Car and Town Coupe models of the big Continental. Lincoln developed a derivative of the Ford Fox platform to replace the Lincoln Versailles. This car carried the “Continental” badge and Continental was dropped from the big sedan that became the Lincoln Town Car. It was sold from 1982 through 1987. The Fox Continental was replaced in 1988 with a front wheel drive Taurus based Continental. This generation lasted until 1994 when it was replaced by the ninth generation Continental (1995-2002). Frankly, from 1982 through 2002 the Continental was relatively non-competitive and demonstrated that Ford really did not have its heart in the luxury car business.
Lack of nomenclature discipline led Lincoln to add “Continental” to the newly re-introduced Mark coupe line in 1969 – 1969-1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III, 1972-1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, 1977-1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V, 1980-1983 Lincoln Continental Mark VI, 1984-1992 Lincoln Continental Mark VII, 1993-1998 Lincoln Continental Mark VIII.