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2016 NAIAS: 2017 Lincoln Continental

January 12th, 2016

In the late 1990s when Ford embarked on ambitious plans to dominate the premium market segment, it aligned its purchased foreign brands Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo together in its “Premier Automotive Group.” That apparently left resources spread too thin and Lincoln was left to let the Town Car soldier on, the LS with no successor, and the Continental to vanish into history. Lack of a clear vision in the years after the PAG was sold off to keep the Blue Oval afloat meant Lincoln was positioned more like the orphaned Mercury brand as merely premium Fords. Lincoln is attempting to correct a couple of those missteps with the re-introduction of the Continental as its top model offering. Lincoln executives are promoting this new Lincoln as being focused on premium luxury rather than a performance car. Indeed, sybaritic comfort is something that even Cadillac has chosen to make secondary to performance and handling. The Continental certainly looks the part and the interior is no exception. Lincoln promises a 3.0L V6 with an anticipated 400 hp applied to the pavement through all four wheels. That V6 is mounted transversely so those expecting a Continental in the configuration of your grandfather’s Town Car will be disappointed. It likely won’t matter: the interior appears extremely commodious. The exterior champions Lincoln’s abandonment of the split winged grille that, though distinctive, was largely criticized. A horseshoe shaped grille with a prominent Lincoln logo sets the direction as the brand’s new trademark. The curious winged door handles from last year’s Continental concept have arrived in tact. Though details are mostly scarce right now, we expect a host of safety and infotainment features already offered throughout Ford’s product offerings. Expect the Continental to hit the road in late 2016.

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