Lincoln is reaching into its past in hopes of enriching its future here at the North American International Auto Show with the 2017 Continental flagship sedan… with a moniker full of heritage, a turbocharged V6, rounded body lines and enough chrome to make Guy Fieri blush.
The new Continental is emblazoned with the new Lincoln grille, which is a far prettier sight than the baleen whale grille slapped across some of its current models. Behind that chrome-y facade lies a new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.
The chrome story is carried into the sidelines that bulge out slightly by B-pillars, which create the door handles. Unlike traditional handles, the ones on the 2017 Conti don’t move. Instead, they feature an E-latch that releases the door when you touch it, and when you close it, the door features power-cinching technology to automatically secure it.
Once you’ve opened the door, you’ll find a Lincoln take on a modern American luxury interior with a big, bright infotainment screen, an optional panoramic glass roof and new “perfect position seats.” Audiophiles will find the Conti especially compelling with its optional Revel audio system and the Active Noise Control that cancels out unwanted road noise.
Although I am rather fond of the exterior and performance figures of the all-new Continental, I am a bit underwhelmed by its interior. The Continental concept shown in New York last spring had a decidedly retro blue interior that could have been taken directly from a 1972 Lincoln Continental. I hoped this one would have it, too — but as you can see, it doesn’t.
It’s missing the retro style that makes me wonder about the Conti. The German carmakers own luxury, and Cadillac is doing its darnedest to redefine American luxury. Heck, even the new Cadillac CT6 has its own 400-horsepower turbocharged V6. So what has Lincoln done to separate itself from the crowd?
A retro flare, especially on the inside, would have made the Conti more compelling — or at least made a unique statement. This one just doesn’t. It feels like just the next thing we were expecting to see from Lincoln. I worry that simply following its own preset path won’t be enough to draw buyers into showrooms when the Continental arrives this fall.
So while I applaud Lincoln for trying, they clearly need to try a bit harder. Because there’s almost nothing about the Continental worth fawning over.