After selling more cars in the USA than it has since 2008 – 100,000 in 2015 – Lincoln is looking to the rebirth of the Continental to increase its market share. The Continental name has not been used since 2002, and Lincoln’s adoption of a heritage car has car dealers excited. Their aim is to attract new buyers to luxury vehicles, since Lincoln’s luxury sales have been woeful.
Continental originated from Edsel Ford’s personal, custom 1939 Zephyr Convertible. Friends loved the car so much, more models were built, with a full-scale launch of the Continental in 1941. That car is considered one of the greatest examples of American car styling. Since ’41, the Continental has undergone many iterations, some stylish, some much less so. When the car was taken to the woodshed back in 2002, that marked the third time Lincoln decided to retire its venerable sedan.
By bringing it back, the company hopes to inspire both classic car enthusiasts and today’s savvy car buyers. The luxury sedan version that Lincoln is rolling out this year lacks clear nods to its stylish history and seems a bit bland for our taste. The interior seats and steering wheel, however, have enough comfort and design to compete with top luxury brands.
The new Continental has many exclusive features for the brand. This includes an unusual 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that builds up around 400 horsepower and 400 lb-feet of torque. The 2017 Continental suddenly gains all-wheel drive plus Dynamic Torque Vectoring, which adjusts the torque between left and right wheels to create more balanced handling. Unfortunately for long-term fans of Lincoln, thee will not be a V8, since the company stopped making 8-cylinder engines with the 2015 Navigator.
The Continental will also have some fun high-tech features, like electrically opening doors. The use of Lincoln Drive Control offers drivers the ability to use three different suspension settings. The brand’s all new Sync 3 infotainment system is also a standout that is easy to control from the Lincoln Drive Control. In the interior, the ride os comfortable thanks to Perfect Position 30-way adjustable seats and a Revel Ultima 19-speaker sound system.
Production of the car starts in Flat Rock, Michigan, later this summer. Sales are expected to begin in the fourth quarter. A spokesman for Lincoln said “We’re very excited about it because I believe it will bring a new buyer into our showroom and be very good for conquest sales. It’s been one of the most searched terms under the Lincoln brand name over the past year. I think that just gives an indication of how excited people are to see the vehicle and hopefully to buy it.”
Lincoln is in the midst of a four-year relaunch of its key vehicles. The Continental revival follows on the heels of the newly designed MKZ in 2013, the new MKC in 2014 and the redesigned MKX in 2015. There will reportedly be two additional nameplates to the brand by 2020.