Over the past couple of years, the Lincoln section of every auto show I attended was a sad sight. Well-dressed product specialists and salespeople eagerly awaited crowds for them to show off their brand’s newest innovations, but with the exception of a few baby-boomers and curious journalists, the crowds never came. Most people just weren’t interested, or didn’t consider Lincoln as a serious option. Both locally and abroad, Lincoln seems to have encountered a loss of brand identity.
Flash-forward to now and we can see a clear attempt at making the brand resonate with an audience, and now it’s gone further than advertisements featuring Matthew McConaughey. Today we were presented with the revival of a flagship car which has been out of sight for over a decade. Straight from New York, meet the new Lincoln Continental concept. A glimpse into the future of what Lincoln CEO calls “quiet luxury”, but also a tribute to the classic Continental of yesteryear, the concept gives us a fairly good idea of what to expect from the full-size sedan when it hits the market next year. You can read all about it and check out the image gallery here.
The interior is actually rather impressive. 30-way Venetian leather seats for all passengers and fold-out tray tables for the rear are just the beginning. It’s got great looks, high quality materials inside and out, and some impressive luxuries like the SPD SmartGlass automated tinting sunroof and detachable leather carrying cases, but is this new face enough to save Ford’s luxury brand for future generations?
The more I learn about the Lincoln, the more I like it, but I start to realize I went into my research with a bias. As a relatively young car enthusiast (24 at the time of writing this), perhaps I’ve never been given the chance to appreciate Lincoln. Upon hearing of a new Lincoln concept, my reaction was a straight-faced lack of excitement. Herein lies the challenge that Lincoln faces. Will cool wheels, homage to the classic Contintal and hand-crafted carrying cases be enough to make buyers consider the luxury Ford an option over prestigious competitors? Lincoln seems to think so.
The concept appeals to a very specific niche market. With such a strong focus on low-key luxury and focus on the passenger experience, it’s tackling some heavy hitters in the luxury sedan market such as Bentley, Mercedes. Of course, it’s main competitor seems to be the soon-to-be-revealed Cadillac CT6 which has yet to break cover in New York. More on that as we see it.
Going up against Cadillac’s newest creation has to be a little bit intimidating to Lincoln. After all, Cadillac has been on a roll with hot-topic releases for past few years while Lincoln kept things fairly quiet. However, after getting a good look at the new Continental, I think the Ford is poised to be the better buy, but we can only speculate until we see production models and price points. One thing is clear: Lincoln is making a respectable effort.