This is "a concept which for us signals the future of what we call quiet luxury," Ford Motor Company president and CEO, Mark Fields, said during an event Sunday. "The Concept is a very strong hint – I'll underline very strong hint – as to what you'll see in the production vehicle."
There's no other way to say it: the Continental looks stunning. It's a long, low-slung sedan, with a shape that's reminiscent of the Ford Interceptor Concept from 2007. But this thing is all Lincoln, and shows a host of new design cues that will no doubt work their way across the brand's range. Most notably, the split-wing grille is gone, with this new chrome centerpiece showing a "new face for Lincoln" (where have we heard that before?). The Continental also incorporates LED matrix headlamps, with laser-assist high-beams and tiny Lincoln logos embedded inside.
For the doors, Lincoln uses "E-Latch" handles that tuck discretely into the Continental's beltine. The concept rolls on polished aluminum, 21-inch wheels with painted pockets. Up above, the Continental has a SPD SmartGlass tinting sunroof that can keep the interior up to 18 degrees cooler.
Around back, the Continental has a wide, planted stance, with taillamps that stretch from side to side. These lamps have "light-through-chrome" technology, which means they have a chrome look when not illuminated. Rounding out the whole design are slim, wide exhaust outlets that look fantastic.
The main focus of the Continental is luxury, and Lincoln says this car uses "the brand's most sensual materials ever." That includes Venetian leather seats and door panels, Alcantara on the seat inserts and armrests, a satin headliner and wool carpet. Lighting is also a key feature, with an ambient glow that radiates throughout the cabin and "soft-gold" LED lights in the center console.
As for comfort, the Continental's 30-way seats are said to mold to passengers' sizes and shapes. Rear seat passengers have it best, though, with a two-seat layout, tray tables, a champagne storage compartment, and detachable, handmade Venetian leather travel cases. It's the sort of thing you'd expect in a long-wheelbase S-Class, and shows Lincoln's intent to reclaim its historic position among the world's best brands (even if it has a long way to go in the showroom).
Lincoln won't reavel too many details about what's under the hood, only saying that the Continental uses an all-new, 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that is said to be exclusive to the brand. Mum's the word about drivetrain as well, but we're really hoping for rear-wheel drive – in line with long-standing rumors.
No matter, the Continental Concept is a seriously sweet thing, and we can't wait to see how it transforms into a production car next year. Check it out in the videos below, and look beyond that for Lincoln's official press blast.
– Elegant, effortlessly powerful and serene, the Lincoln Continental Concept signals the brand's all-new full-size sedan coming next year and the future of quiet luxury
– Lincoln Continental Concept integrates technologies designed to create better drivers, rejuvenate and entertain passengers, including all-new, Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter EcoBoost® engine, patented 30-way seats and premium Revel audio system
– New Continental Concept introduces E-Latch door handles, LED matrix headlamps with laser-assist high beams and SPD SmartGlass® tinting sunroof
NEW YORK, March 30, 2015 –Lincoln today introduces the Continental Concept, signaling an all-new full-size sedan coming next year and the future of quiet luxury.
Elegant, effortlessly powerful and serene, the Continental Concept blends meticulous craftsmanship and technologies designed to create better drivers and provide passengers with a more relaxing and entertaining environment inspired by first-class travel.
"Luxury at its best is about simplifying and quietly exceeding expectations, rather than being the loudest statement on the road," said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO. "The Continental Concept showcases the promise of quiet luxury from Lincoln going forward. It also is a strong indication of what's to come next year as we introduce our new Lincoln Continental full-size luxury sedan."
With a sleek silhouette and a new centered chrome grille, the Continental Concept signals the arrival of a new face for Lincoln. A raised Lincoln badge is surrounded by a span of repeating polished aluminum Lincoln Star emblems.
E-Latch door handles tuck discreetly in the clean vehicle beltline. The door handle technology also provides for elegant entry. The doors open effortlessly with the touch of a button positioned on the underside of the door handle wings and close quietly.
"Some brands talk about 'the machine,' " said Kumar Galhotra, Lincoln president. "Lincoln is different. For us, it is about more than the machine. It is about what our vehicles do for our clients."
New technology is a hallmark of the vehicle. It starts with the vehicle sensing your approach and lighting up to greet you inside and out.
Outside, signature full-width tail lamps feature advanced light-through-chrome technology. Powerful LED matrix head lamps with laser-assist high beams reduce glare and improve visibility.
Rhapsody Blue metallic paint calls back Lincoln Continental's signature color.
Inside are the brand's most sensual materials ever, including Venetian leather seat and door panels, Alcantara® seat inserts and armrests, satin headliner and shearling wool carpet. Rose Gold trim around the instrument cluster provides warmth. Bright chrome trim on the instrument panel adds contrast.
Ambient lighting enhances the interior, creating a serene environment. Soft-gold LED lights glow from the center console and from the halo light overhead.
Patented 30-way Lincoln-designed seats use a new-to-market design that conforms to passengers' sizes and shapes. The passenger-side rear seat can fully recline by moving the front passenger seat forward with the touch of a button.
From a panel mounted on the through-center console, rear passengers also can control climate settings and the Revel Ultima audio system, which allows passengers to select from three surround-sound modes: Stereo, Audience and On-Stage.
Rear-seat comfort is further highlighted by an SPD SmartGlass® tinting sunroof, which allows passengers to control heat from direct sunlight. With the touch of a button, the glass can cool the vehicle interior by as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit, while blocking 99 percent of UV rays.
Rear-seat passengers also enjoy the convenience of a tablet-supporting lap tray that deploys from the through-center console. It also features a champagne storage compartment. Detachable, hand-crafted Venetian leather travel cases are mounted to the backside of the front seats.
Under the skin, the Continental Concept is powered by a Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost® engine. It also features Lincoln Drive Control ride-enhancing technologies and Adaptive Steering. The car rides on polished-aluminum, painted-pocket 21-inch wheels.
Driver assist technologies include Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Enhanced Park Assist and a 360-degree camera that displays on the MyLincoln Touch™ screen.
"The Lincoln Continental name is associated with iconic beauty and elegance," said David Woodhouse, Lincoln design director. "Capturing those qualities and building upon them drove us as we crafted this thoroughly modern sedan concept."
The Lincoln Continental Concept is at the New York International Auto Show, which opens Wednesday for members of the news media.