The return of the Lincoln Continental, albeit in concept form, has not been without controversy. Bentley chief designer Luc Donckerwolke going as far as to call the car a "copy" of its own Flying Spur, offering to send the British sedan's tooling to Detroit. But while debate can rage over any similarities – you can and should head over and vote in our poll on the matter – can we all at least agree to see something interesting happening with Lincoln design?
Gone are unattractive styling trademarks like Lincoln's winged grille, while less polarizing elements like the vehicle-spanning taillights have been refined. The three-box design, meanwhile, dismisses the coupe-like stylings of the latest MKZ , opting for a long hood, short deck and a more traditional three-box layout.
The advantage of that, of course, is cabin space. The Continental is designed for rear-seat passengers, offering opulent, Venetian leather seats with Alcantara inserts and 30-way adjustability. Just so we're clear, we have a hard time even thinking of 30 different ways to adjust a seat, so well played Lincoln. The headliner is satin, a briefcase sits in each back rest and dedicated tray tables allow for work on the go. It's plush, even in the world of pie-in-the-sky concepts.
Check out our latest batch of live photos of the all-new Continental Concept, live from its stand at the 2015 New York International Auto Show.
– 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.