That rear seat is clearly in the class of the Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S Class, and BMW 7-Series in terms of room. In the concept, it’s more in the class of the Maybach in terms of features and equipment, with embedded computer workstations, detachable briefcases, reclining executive seats, champagne flutes embedded in the center console, and extensive hand-stitched leather and heavy chromed metal. But the car’s target competition, per Gulhotra, is the Mercedes-Benz E Class and Audi A6.
Lincoln is attempting to straddle two segments, just as it attempts to straddle two markets, as it makes its play for expanded profits. Some might argue a similar strategy worked for Cadillac with the CTS—a move only recently undone with the arrival of the on-segment ATS and new CTS. Cadillac, too, will be entering the Continental’s theoretical space at this year’s New York Auto Show, with its own CT6 large sedan.
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Looking back to the Continental’s proportions, we see that short front end and very small fender-to-door distance, which gives it a somewhat futuristic look. That stubbiness also intimates the powertrain layout: the new 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine will most likely be transversely mounted, with front-wheel drive the standard and all-wheel drive available. For most, this is the rational choice.
For fans of the original Continentals—and for those hoping for a return to some of that old-school engineering on top of the old-school luxury, however, it may prove a disappointment. It does make perfect sense, however, given Lincoln’s access to parent company Ford’s engineering portfolio—and don’t forget, all-wheel-drive sells luxury cars even in states and cities that rarely see true winter weather.
Ultimately, the Continental concept is an emblem, a rallying point, for Lincoln. It previews new commitments and new goals for the brand. It lights a path toward future design. But can it focus these efforts toward the new, toward life and growth rather than a navel-gazing reliance on the past, for a brand that has, for decades, stumbled in a myopic rose-tinted haze?
Hey, don’t ask so many questions. It’s just a concept.