2017 Lincoln Continental

Can Lincoln advance the appeal of sedans in a CUV-centric market?

Can Lincoln advance the appeal of sedans in a CUV-centric market? Or will it find that the MKC, the MKX and the Navigator are going to hold sway in terms of its position in the market? No one knows the answers to those questions—yet—but Lincoln is going to put the flagship Continental sedan on the market this coming fall to see whether it can gain traction in the car side of things.

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Technology, of course, is important in the luxury sedan market, so there’s the obligatory array, with things like an array of cameras on the exterior to facilitate parking, sensors to keep the driver and pedestrians safer, and a large screen on the center stack for purposes of infotainment.

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Increased attention to detail seems to be the approach being taken throughout the execution of the car, perhaps best exemplified by what are called “Perfect Position Seats.” No two people, points out Kumar Galhorta, president of Lincoln, sit symmetrically or even in the same way, so Lincoln engineers devised a seat that allows the cushions to be adjusted to accommodate the left leg and the right, and to cosset people of different sizes and weights.

Engagement with a vehicle seems to be the name of the game, particularly in the luxury space, so they’ve taken particular care, not only with the level of lighting that automatically occurs as a driver approaches the Continental at night, but even engineered the door handles—called “E-latch”—to ease opening. Not overlooking the inside experience, they’ve applied real materials (wood, metal, leather), are offering a Revel audio system, are using Active Noise Control to keep the cabin quiet, and are providing the back seat passengers with the means to control their space.

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There are plenty of competitors in the luxury space that tout their performance characteristics, and while the Continental is available with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that will produce on the order of 400 hp and 400 lb-ft, Galhorta stresses that the objective is not 0 to 60 times as much as it is confidence in acceleration.

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Although many people think of Lincoln strictly in the context of the U.S. market, the company is quite clear that this car has been designed and engineered for the important Chinese market, as well, where luxury marques are doing exceedingly well, where the company wants to gain a strong foothold.

Lincoln is clearly on a journey in the luxury category, and the 2017 is certainly an important waypoint on its path.