Report: Lincoln Continental to Premiere at Detroit Auto Show
The return of classic American luxury?
Following earlier confirmation that the production Lincoln Continental luxury sedan would debut in 2016, a new report says it could arrive as early as the Detroit show in January. Lincoln has said it will build the new Continental at Ford's Flat Rock, Michigan plant, which is currently home to the Ford Fusion and Mustang.
The report comes from Car and Driver, which speculates that the flashy Bentley-style grille from the New York auto show's Lincoln Continental concept could carry over into production. The new look would help Lincoln distance the forward-thinking Continental from brand's current range, which desperately needs its own identity apart from Ford.
In service of that goal, the Lincoln Continental will get a brand-exclusive 3.0-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 making somewhere between 350 and 400 hp. Yet critics of the Continental bemoan its front-wheel-drive underpinnings, which are likely derived from a stretched version of the current platform used on the MKS and Ford Taurus (all-wheel drive will certainly be offered, although a hybrid version is doubtful right now).
Nonetheless, Lincoln brand president Kumar Galhotra told AUTOMOBILE at the New York show that the Continental's mission is about something other than performance. Lincoln may be taking the opportunity to embrace its all-American heritage as a provider of large, luxurious, comfortable, high-quality cruisers. To these ends, front- or all-wheel drive may not be a deal-breaker when amenities like Revel audio, reclining rear seats, Venetian leather, and a champagne chiller is on the menu.
"We understand that there is a luxury segment out there that is looking for really aggressive machines," Galhotra said, "but we also hear from a very large number of luxury customers who are looking for something very different. They're looking for elegant, beautiful, quiet luxury experiences."
Just what quiet luxury looks like, we'll have to wait and see to find out. A Lincoln spokesperson would not outright confirm the Detroit debut of the Continental, but reiterated that the company had previously announced a 2016 debut for the production car, and we should expect an official announcement on the matter in the weeks ahead.