Continental highlights Lincoln’s luxury push

The styling is not trendy or excessive, but offers a classical look to it that should withstand trends in automotive cycles.

  • CIAS-2016-lincoln-continental

Lincoln introduced its new flagship model at the Canadian International Auto Show, and this 2017 luxury car carries a name long associated with class, style and luxury.

Fortunately, Lincoln chose to return to its heritage with this Continental rather than continuing with an alphabetic designation similar to the rest of its lineup.

“The Continental name has a lot of good heritage,” noted Lincoln Product Marketing Manager Carole Wilson during the car’s Canadian debut. “This is the flagship vehicle and the name invokes that feeling. This name made sense with our journey to bring it back.”

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The Continental project began in 2011 and this model is the 10th generation to receive this name, which was first used in 1939. The name was last used on the 2002 version.

All Continentals through the decades have denoted subdued luxury, and the 2017 car is true to that heritage. The styling is not trendy or excessive, but offers a classical look to it that should withstand trends in automotive styling. The strongest design statement is made with the large rectangular meshed grille with the Continental badge, but it is certainly tame compared to front end treatments on some of its competitors.

The Continental’s interior continues with this understated elegance. Huge doors allow easy entry and exit. Supple leather beckons. Materials on the dashboard and door panels are contemporary but not outlandish. There are wood and aluminum finishes inside the car, but to a small degree.

With the owner/chauffeur market in mind, the rear of this Lincoln’s interior provides all the comfort, climate, and audio controls in an attempt to coddle the passengers as they are whisked down the road. Lincoln’s Perfect Position Seats offer up to 30 separate adjustments.

A unique feature of the Continental is getting in and out. No more pulling on handles, as the outside handle uses an innovative e-latch that releases the door electronically while the door opens from the inside with the push of a button.

The Continental will be powered by a 2.7-litre turbocharged V6 or 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, While U.S. versions will be available with the 3.7-litre V6 and either front- or all-wheel drive, Canada will market the all-wheel drive version only using the smaller engines. The 3.0-litre engine is reported to produce 400 horsepower.

The new Continental, which is assembled in Ford’s Flat Rock, Mich. facility, will be available to the public this fall. Other than engine availability, Wilson would not divulge specifications on the new Lincoln’s mechanicals such as its platform, and the car’s price has yet to be determined. Industry reports say the car will start at around $50,000 (U.S.).

Lincoln presently sells six models in Canada, and sales have been on an upswing. Ford reported total Lincoln sales increased 41 per cent in January over the same period last year, the brand’s best increase since 1990. Also on display at the auto show are Lincoln’s MKZ and MKX models.

Freelance writer Tim Miller contributes to Toronto Star Wheels. To reach him, email and put his name in the subject line.

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