Lincoln Motor Company unveiled its 2017 Continental on January 11 at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.
Lincoln Motor Company unveiled its 2017 Continental on January 11 at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, which the company will begin selling in America and China this fall. The Continental will be available in sedan configuration only. Stretch limousines will continue to be built off the MKT Town Car under Ford’s qualified vehicle Modifier (QVM) program.
The return of the company’s flagship full-sized sedan brings with it a “thoroughly modern” new design that intends to appeal to “culturally progressive clients who define luxury on their own terms,” according to a Lincoln media release.
“The Continental name has long been associated with the ultimate in Lincoln beauty and luxury,” Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln, said in the media release. “With the all-new model, we are focusing on creating more human, personally tailored experiences for our clients – providing what we call quiet luxury.”
Moreover, the new Continental represents a moment for which the chauffeured transportation industry has been waiting for more than 5 years. The Lincoln Exec L-Series reigned as the limousine industry’s mainstay large sedan up until 2011. The 2017 Lincoln Continental is being hailed as a much-anticipated replacement of the Town Car Exec L.
Understated elegance certainly resonates with the Continental’s brand history, and while the 2017 model is “brimming with luxury features,” according to a NAIAS press release, Lincoln has managed to marry contemporary wow-factor with low-key luxury with this revival.
Elegant Design Features
A stand-out design feature of the new Continental is the “Lincoln Embrace,” which illuminates a brand-exclusive flowering sequence of LED signature lighting in the lower front fascia, rear tail lamps, and headlamps when it detects a driver approaching. Mat lights also brighten the ground area around the front doors to improve ease of entry, and interior lighting aims to create a warm welcome to passengers.
“This car greets you as you approach it,” Galhotra said in the NAIAS press release. “As you get near it, this car comes to life.”
Door handles are built cleanly into the Beltline and come equipped with E-latch electronic door releases, which pop open the doors with the touch of a button. Additional design features include an available panoramic sunroof that almost spans the entire roof, the front half of which slides up and over the rear and a customizable instrument panel. All models feature new design details, including couture-like seat stitching and laser-cut center console door slats.
Craig Hall, Ford’s Limo/Livery Manager, states, “Lincoln took the livery industry needs into consideration when designing the new Continental. In addition to generous rear seat legroom, Lincoln Livery will offer the Continental with a livery package chock full of rear seat passenger amenities that will be sure to be a hit for both chauffeurs and transportation company customers.”
The livery package will include features such as rear heated and cooled seats, rear audio, and climate controls, rear window and back window sunshades, chauffeur-passenger seat forward/back switch and a hands-free opening trunk.
Optimized for a quiet ride
A quiet and “serene” interior is an important element of the design of the 2017 Continental, according to the media release, and the model is thus equipped with several features aimed at optimizing the sonic experience of the ride.
First, acoustic laminated side glass helps insulate the interior cabin from exterior road and wind noise.
Very notable is an Active Noise Control feature that listens for undesirable noise throughout the cabin using microphones, produces opposing sound waves through the speakers to cancel them out, and at the same time enhances desired sounds.
Performance and safety enhancing technology
While Lincoln has loaded the new Continental with technologies aimed at enhancing the luxury aspects of the vehicle, a variety of technological features also aim to improve performance and safety.
The base engine on the livery Continental will be a 3.7-liter V6 with standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive, and with approximately 305 horsepower.
Also designed to improve handling is an adaptive steering feature called “Lincoln Drive Control,” which provides three settings – comfort, normal and sport – to tailor steering and suspension for improved steering response. “Advanced sensors in the continuously controlled damping system monitor the road 23,000 times per second and automatically adjust to provide a smooth and comfortable ride.”
Similarly, a lane-keeping system is available, which alerts the driver if the vehicle is drifting from the driving lane and applies steering torque to help direct it back into the appropriate lane. Finally, SYNC 3 technology allows the driver to make calls, play music and read texts on the center display without the need to take his hands off the wheel.
An upward trend in luxury for Ford
Mark Fields, CEO of Ford, said Lincoln is steadily making progress in the luxury vehicle market, with global sales up 17% last year according to the NAIAS press release.
“2016 will be an inflection point for Lincoln. It is the largest ever portfolio of the brand,” Fields said in the press release. “With the Continental, we are delivering the last of the four new [Lincoln] products that we promised.”
The 2017 Lincoln Continental will be produced at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, and will be available for purchase in the fall of 2016. Additionally, Hall emphasizes that the MKT Town Car continues in the Lincoln product plan as the anchor of the livery vehicle fleet line-up.