By on December 21, 2015

continental

Three years ago, around this time, I begged the nice people at Ford to build a proper Lincoln. This was shortly after I begged Cadillac to put a V-8 in the ATS. If you put the two articles together, you might get the sense that I have the completely antediluvian mindset that an American luxury car needs a V-8 and rear-wheel drive and main-battle-tank proportions to be completely legitimate. And you would be correct, because that is how I feel and, last time I checked, the nice people at Lexus and BMW and Mercedes-Benz felt the same way because most of the cars that they put on the cover of the Robb Report and the like seem to at least meet those basic criteria.

Well, the spy photos of the new Lincoln Continental are making the rounds. I can see that they have deliberately failed to honor my requests, the same way Cadillac stuck two fingers in my eye by afflicting the ATS-V with the asthmatic blown six when the same-platform Camaro SS has the mighty LT1 from the sublime Stingray. This is a retro Continental alright, but the retro-rockets are only firing back to 1988 instead of 1963.

You remember that 1988 Continental?

contin

It was a spacious, dignified Taurus variant with front-wheel drive, adequate power from the 3.8 V-6, and an emphasis on traditional proportions. I’ve driven a bunch of them — for some reason, they were traded in fairly often on both the Infiniti J30 and the 1996 Ford Taurus, both vehicles for which I happened to be present on the sales floor during their heyday — and you know what, they aren’t terrible. Plenty of room, decent sound systems, low road noise and reasonable ride. What Ford couldn’t quite figure out was how to make them feel luxurious.

Luxury, as we all know, is that immensely satisfying feeling of having more than is required. When it comes to automobiles, however, slightly more is required than the mere presence of excess. We need a certain solidity, a sense of weight, of presence. The mighty Fleetwood Talisman suggested that it could win a head-on collision with a locomotive, but it’s not necessary to have that much size. The original Lexus LS400 wasn’t a large car but it felt as if it had been milled from a single piece of steel then carefully trimmed with leather. The big Volkswagen Group cars, like the Phaeton and the Continental and the A8, have this down to a science, as do both the pre-and-post-W220 S-Class Benzos.

The 1988 Continental, on the other hand, was just a bit too flimsy, particularly when you hit a major pothole and the whole V-6 on its subframe took a fantastic voyage across the relatively limited range of available suspension travel, accompanied by a cacophonous chorus of squeak and creak from every low-grade bolt and bushing ahead of the firewall. That felt Tempo-cheap and, once it happened to you, it wasn’t something that you were ever going to forget for the whole time you owned the car.

The current MKS, which is basically the 1988 Continental just two platforms later, doesn’t have that problem to that degree. What it does have is some genuinely bizarre proportioning and interior arrangements that are a direct consequence of its need to share hard points with the Ford Five Hundred and the Flex. It also has some questionable choices of interior materials, most notably the matte-black panels everywhere that probably looked dynamite in a styling studio but in the real world look like someone’s been rubbing on them just a bit too much when they are new and then look like damaged goods after just a few months in the sun.

Of course, the MKS is still a front-wheel-drive car. After some long and serious thought on the matter, I’ve come to believe that the problem with front-wheel drive in luxury cars is simply the dynamic challenge of controlling all that weight ahead of the front wheels. You could disconnect the rear driveshaft of a 4Matic Mercedes S-Class, or even throw said driveshaft away entirely, and most of the customers would never notice that the motive power was being delivered fore rather than aft. This is true for almost any car where there’s a longitudinally-mounted engine and transmission.

About ten years ago, I took a personal trip to Germany and, while I was there, I drove a V-6 Phaeton for nearly a thousand miles. It was just like my AWD Phaetons, and more importantly it somehow didn’t suffer from that crashy, cheap front-end feeling. The cynical among you might say that, of course, it’s possible to engineer a proper front-wheel-drive luxury car when you have all that money and weight to throw around, but I’d respond by noting that the prices of a V-6 Phaeton in Germany and a Lincoln MKS in the United States aren’t really that far apart once you correct for buying power and the like. No, it’s the north-south engine that works most of the magic. If you don’t believe me, go drive an old Toronado.

If history and early reports are anything to go by, however, this new Continental will be far more platform Issigonis than systeme Panhard (with all due respect to diatribe Torchinsky.), which means it’s starting behind the 8-ball when it comes to over-the-road dynamics and ride control. Still, this is the company that gave us the Boss 302, so I’m not ready to claim that they can’t overcome some inherent disadvantages wherever they might be found. The interior, too, looks about right for the job. There’s a lot of black leather and chrome, just like in the suicide-door spirit animal and nothing like the bland beige rectilinearity that plagued the 1988 model.

It’s the spy shots of the car on the road that concern me. There’s no presence to it whatsoever. Maybe it will be different in the metal, but in photographs it continues to have that MKS-esque dis-proportion of height to length. These proportions work on the Rolls-Royce Phantom, but they don’t work on the Ghost and that’s because you need to have true ocean-liner dimensions to make a car that upright look correct. I don’t think this Continental will be within a foot of even the Ghost in overall length, so the net effect will be a car that gets lost in a parking lot full of Camrys.

I also can’t see how a company that green-lit the stunning Kammback of the MKZ can’t manage to understand the fact that a modern luxury car needs a drooping trunkline and give the Continental a proper one. Even Hyundai understands this. Seriously. Go look at a LaCrosse and then look at an Equus. The difference is the trunkline. And I’m not trying to hold Hyundai up as an example of how to run a luxury brand, but hell, somehow they figured out how to build a full size, V-8, rear-wheel-drive sedan. Apparently, that’s easy for them, but it’s too much for the Ford Motor Company despite the seventy-year head start the latter enjoys in such matters.

With all this said, I’m still going to try to inveigle my way into the media preview of this car. I want to drive it as soon as humanly possible, because I really, truly, want to discover that Lincoln’s finally done it. That they’ve managed to build a car that speaks to the market with at least the authority of the 1980 Town Car, if not the 1963 Continental. That they’ve built a car that feels special, that communicates a true luxury experience. I imagine a world where the country-club parking lots are once again full of Lincolns, where the sight of the crosshair logo inspires respect again. In short, I want to believe. So here’s my final message to Ford on this subject: don’t let me down, okay?

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150 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: I Want To Believe...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    The production Continental seems to be a very close copy of the concept car, but the devil is in the details. It will at least have totally unique styling compared to any Ford cousin, and a unique engine as well. So that’s a start.

    • 0 avatar
      daviel

      It’s no K900

    • 0 avatar

      If you aren’t willing to do RWD/ AWD you are already behind.

      I think the problem is that they want FWD/ AWD so they can put all the computer steering gimmicks in and make a car that can drive itself and park itself should that possibility ever arise. Problem is, this car is going to sell mostly in livery fleets and the drivers actually “drive” it – just as they do the S550.

      A car this size really only needs 400 Horsepower or so to keep it from feeling heavy during 0-60’s. And it need AWD since AWD is the new luxury feature favorite.

      But the interior looks like a typical upgrade over what’s currently on the market and there’s nothing here to be truly excited about.

      Not like the new E-class.

      If Lincoln could rebadge a K900 or Cadillac could rebadge a Equus, they might actually be getting somewhere.

      Hyundai builds the cars that Lincoln and Cadillac won’t.

      This is a game about NAME BADGE RECOGNITION.

      No one – beyond the “professional car reviewers” that absolutely need to write “something” to get paid give a damn about how much the Continental or CT6 weighs. No one cares about “Aluminum unibodies”. No one cares about “sway bar geometry”.

      all they want is a BIG CADDY THAT GOES REAL FAST.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Ford can’t build a V8 sedan as the top Lincoln because that messes up the Ecoboost branding.

    They should be able to build a cool-looking turbo V6 brickhouse though.

    That said, if it is too “special” then my ability to afford it will be in jeopardy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      ajla – one way around it would be to build a big nasty Lincoln around the 6.7 litre PowerStroke. That could be easily tuned to over 500 hp and 1000 lb.ft. of torque. They could then easily make the Lincoln as long and as heavy as they want without any issue with finding a V8 gasser powerful enough to make it move.

      (I thought that would fit in with Arthur Daily’s comment)

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    From Jack’s totally wonderful review of the ’76 Talisman.
    ” Cadillacs didn’t need to be excellent, but they needed to be prestigious”.

    The same goes for Lincolns.

    I took my driving test in a 2 month old early 70’s Lincoln Town Car. The examiner was more interested in the car than what I was doing. Even if I had messed up the parallel parking I still would have passed because he had never experienced riding in a Town Car. ’10 and 2′ forget it, by the time we were finishing, I was demonstrating how that behemoth could be steered with one finger.

    Lincolns in those days (and Caddy’s) had more presence and prestige than anything but a Roller. And in fact they were much better cars than RR’s in every conceivable way, except reputation. The expanse of blank, black plastic that was de rigeur in German cars was considered proletarian.

    Jack is right. Make them bigger than their competition. Give them bigger displacement. Make them as ostentatious as possible. Add chrome, LED coach lights, plush velour interiors, totally isolate them from road noise and make sure that they would crush anything that had the temerity to run into them.

  • avatar
    RHD

    If this Continental is a representative step in the evolution of cars, then we can expect the return of classic British wire wheels in about a decade. This Lincoln has almost as many spokes per wheel as the 10-speed I rode in high school.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The other problems as I recall with this 88 Continental were:

    -Split personality between too techy and traditional. It wasn’t sure if it wanted to be comfortable or sporty.
    -The transmission was the bad AOD one?
    -The air suspension was not as robust as the Town Car one and would go wrong?
    -Overall, it had an abundance of crap-applied trim. It was too trimmed, and looked like it was trying too hard. For another example of this, look at the K-Car Imperial from around 1990. You can’t start with discount Silly Putty, pull it two feet apart and expect to represent anything sturdy.

    The split personality got worse after the redesign in 96 or whenever.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I think that generation Continental was 70% right. If they fixed some quality issues, a few interior changes, and a better engine it would have been ok. When the air suspension was working properly it had a nice ride. It was a great car for cruising down the road. The handling wasn’t going to win any Nurburgring lap times, but isn’t everyone always saying an American luxury car should be way more about isolating you from road imperfections and a quiet sublime ride?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That Continental felt too much like a Taurus. That was the beginning and end of it. And that was a worse thing in 1988 than it would be today. It meant iffy structural rigidity, poorly attached interior components (and the resulting squeaks and rattles), an underdamped suspension (air or not), and a noisy, rough, asthmatic pushrod V6.

      The MKS based on today’s Taurus fixes all of those complaints, but it has a different problem: it’s just ugly, both inside and out. I’m mildly hopeful based on the preview shots that the next Continental will be much prettier. At the very least, it’s got coherent lines, even if the proportions still seem on the tall and narrow side.

      But the price that will be asked for the Continental is also higher. It needs a level of extravagance not seen in anything short of a 560SEL in 1988. Unlike Jack, I don’t think the FWD platform has anything to do with it. People in this segment don’t notice the subleties of FWD dynamics; they notice egregious FWD proportions, which it looks like this Continental manages to avoid. But the interior materials, features, and ambience is the critical part. To succeed, this car is going to need to feel as special as a W222 inside. Ford doesn’t have a good track record in that respect, although the latest Lincolns offer some hope. But the concept’s interior was an absolute knockout. If the production interior looks just like that, the car will find an audience.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I agree. It has to stay almost 100% loyal to the concept. Any beancounting will hurt this car substantially.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        Agreed. I don’t think the average Lincoln buyer will worry about this new Continental’s FWD upbringing, provided it’s able to transfer a good chunk of power to the rear wheels in AWD form, and that torque steer is minimal and controlled. If it’s a nice enough place to be (think Lexus interior quality as a baseline) and retains the concept’s fairly handsome proportions, it has the chance to go somewhere.

        Edit: I figure the volume model ought to be able to stand up to the Pentastar, power-wise – N/A 3.5-3.7 V6 – with the Ecoboost 3.5 or one of its descendants optional (and standard in higher-trim models). I’d love to see a limited-production V8 car as well, particularly if it’s not in a transverse layout as rumored – it may not be worth certifying if Ford only builds a thousand of ’em, but it would be a serious competitor for the Koreans and would show nicely against its American and Japanese competition as well.

  • avatar
    Fred

    My cube neighbor loves his Taurus It’s big, smooth and comfortable, heck he even likes the Ecoboost. Would he like this Lincoln? Sure, but not for what they will charge for it. My Dad rented a Continental and loved it, but all he could afford was a used Grand Marque. So there is my market research for this car. Old people like it, but few will buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      I also love my MKS. I suppose I can bicker about some of the stuff Jack does like the parts in the interior. Sure, the plastic stuff grows old.
      But heck…I still argue there was and is not an equal for the money.
      Not if you wanted to get all the stuff the MKS gave.

      Oh..and I still say the 3.5 eb is one powerful friend on the road.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    You are are pis*ing into the wind, Mr. Baruth.

    Brace for the suck.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Very good article. Your pictures tell the story. The no-talent stylists are the culprits. It looks like a loser for so many reasons.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    But how much fault for ” why can’t Lincoln build them like that anymore” is simply because of CAFE? A big sedan with a powerful V8 is just not really feasible unless it’s offset somewhere else.

    Lincoln has no problem with a Navigator or in Cadillac’s case the Escalade because trucks have a lot more freedom with how big and bad they can make them. And those are the one vehicles in their lineups that actually pay the bills, a very “American” version of luxury that the well heeled have no problem paying big bucks for.

    I personally think Lincoln should just tack on the “gas guzzler” charge and put a larger displacement Mustang engine with 500hp in a big Continental and watch people line up around the dealership to buy them.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      I have suspected CAFE for this engine issue as well. You cannot even choose to get the powerful V-8, but if you are looking at a pickup, you might have 4 engines from which to choose. Gotta be CAFE.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It isn’t CAFE. Ford can make V8 Mustangs work within the regulations they could make a low volume $60K+ V8 Lincoln work as well.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        I disagree, the Mustang is the ONLY V8 in Ford’s lineup that isn’t a truck.

        I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if upcoming CAFE standards are 54.5 mpg, tell me how much you have to offset to have a V8 powered land barge and how much that is going to cost?
        It has to be a real factor that can’t be ignored.

        I love how CAFE apologists that push what great policy it is, but will swear up and down that automakers aren’t changing their vehicle lineup in order to conform to CAFE.

        Isn’t that the entire point of CAFE? Automakers are forced to make less “gas guzzling” vehicles that Americans actually want.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The point of the current version of CAFE is to encourage weight reduction and technological improvements that improve fuel economy.

          Cars today have more horsepower than ever. But automakers need to make sure that the cars have fuel economy that isn’t so poor that it will scare away consumers because car buyers only want to burn so much fuel.

          The OEMs just got clobbered by the effect of rising fuel prices, and don’t suffer from the amnesia that you have. They build accordingly.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            If the people cared so much about fuel economy, the government wouldn’t have to force the automakers to adhere to arbitrary standard like CAFE. The market would do it for them.

            One of the largest sources of profits for Tesla is selling fuel mileage credits to other automakers.

            The automakers clearly believe it’s in their best interest for car sales to exceed the government standard or they wouldn’t be paying those “fines” that get pushed on the consumer.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In its present form, CAFE encourages automakers to go the extra mile to squeeze a bit more MPG from a given package. Ford may not have bothered to make aluminum F-series trucks without it, for example, as that wasn’t a cheap or easy effort.

            In the case of Lincoln, it can’t sell enough dinosaurmobiles to bother. Lincoln is not attempting to compete with BMW or Mercedes, and any money spent on the effort would probably be wasted. Ford doesn’t spend much on Lincoln, which is prudent; at this juncture, GM is probably flushing cash down the drain with its Cadillac plan.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Pch101, this may be your comment that has the most tenuous relationship with reality. How come consumers that only want to burn so much fuel have no problem commuting in three ton trucks and SUVs? OEMs don’t suffer from amnesia? Why did they shake off the oil crunches of past decades and build their business model around trucks and SUVs when CAFE made big cars scarce the first time? CAFE exists because of idiots that hate freedom of choice. If people want efficient cars, they have been available for decades. CAFE is about telling people what they can buy. It’s about reserving the good things for the elite. It’s about harvesting the cultivated idiocy churned out by decades of propaganda, the Department of Education, and pseudo science. It’s codified fascism.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Some consumers care more about fuel economy than others. The transition away from large lower-cost SUVs to crossovers in response to the last oil bubble is one obvious example of this basic reality — the price-conscious buyers do care about their fuel costs.

            I realize that right-wing zealots on the internet can’t cope with concepts as complex as market segmentation. But those who build cars do get it, so it makes no difference whether or not you understand this.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “technological improvements that improve fuel economy.”

            Which has happened with V8s. The new Camaro SS is rated at 20, the ATS-v at 19 and they weigh like 60 lbs different. The M3 gets 19. The GS-F gets 19. The Charger RT gets 19. The Yukon Denali/Escalade have the same rating as the new turbo Expedition/Navigator. The Charger SRT8 has the same rating as the CTS V-sport.

            That said Ford has not invested in fuel efficient V8 tech recently, so I’m not surprised they will use a turbo v6 with Lincoln. GM has worked to increase their V8 efficiency, which makes their engine choices with Cadillac more frustrating.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Aluminum bodies, cylinder deactivation, turbocharging, start-stop systems, etc. are all part of the effort to provide improved fuel economy without any loss of peak power output.

            The easiest and cheapest way to improve fuel economy would be to offer less powerful engines. But OEMs don’t take that approach because consumers would reject them.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Pch101,
            My personal opinion is CAFE sucks. What CAFE has done is created an artifical market for vehicles.

            I totally support all efforts to reduce emissions, so long as the consumer doesn’t have to pay, ie, hybrid/EVs subsidies.

            Rather than CAFE I do believe that an “anything goes” attitude should prevail.

            I would then use a fuel tax to modify vehicle purchasing behaviour. Don’t tax the sh!t out of fuel, but enough to allow those who want a large vehicle to be able to own one, but yet promote the purchase of a smaller more efficient vehicle for the 75% who consider a car an appliance.

            This will also provide funding for road infrastructure, which is badly needed.

            A simple fix, that would also fix the roads.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            @CJinSD What you said! That is the pure unvarnished truth.

            If only more voters would wake up and smell the coffee. However, I had an Econ professor who pointed out why minority (in the quantity sense, not necessarily racial sense) is able to exert a disproportionate effect on political agendas and legislation. Depressing to me when I read and comprehended that fact.

            As to the wheels on that Lincoln in the first photo: looks like a proper sedan, post-donking the wheels.

            New Lincoln ad campaign possibility: Buy here! (Pay here!) No Donking Necessary! We’ve Already Done That!

            But I can’t imagine how anybody got those wheels past any form of design review. Can I get those pseudo-spokes backlit as an option? And how about a spinning axle cap as another special feature? It could be made to spin forward and backwards at varying speeds. Maybe pipe in some whizzing sounds proportional to spinner speed.

            Stay classy, Lincoln.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            @pch101 we right wing zealots (no name-calling there, right?) get market segmentation.

            What we do not “get” in the sense of accept, is the forced promulgation of a non-viable segment by punishing those who prefer another segment, in the name of public good. It is only good for the public that wants to ride around in an underpowered crackerbox like a Smart. If you force people to pay a good bit more for a sedan with a V8, some people will buy a car with a smaller engine instead.

            Some of them may be forced to, rather than choose to, because of the additional economic burden imposed by regulatory attempts to distort free market segmentation.

            And just to see if you are really pumped up today, let me add that a punitive tax on small foreign pickups (the so-called chicken tax) also distorts not only people’s choices, as they would have been made in a free market, but even extends so far as to destroy a segment, in order to shuffle people who can’t afford a large pickup into other, less costly, less powerful and less useful pseudo-trucks called CUV’s, especially those powered by small displancement motors whose lives have been shortened due to the extra stress caused by higher compression and higher heat soak.

            Was that good/bad enough to get you to not reply to my points, and instead just go into pure slander “because I am too stupid to agree with you, and hence my arguments can be ignored and ridiculed”, a/k/a pch101 in overdrive?

            Or would you care to address my point that forced market segmentation is not the only way that the auto market would become segmented. What is wrong with letting people buy what they want without imposing financial penalties (CAFE) on only those buyers whose choices offend the administrative elitists?

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Excellent comment Volando. Consumers just pay more and have less choice because of CAFE. When gas prices skyrocketed in the 70s, people bought efficient, reliable Japanese cars. No CAFE needed. Manufacturers scrambled to give consumers choice.

            Car buyers and manufacurers can figure it out if left alone on the gas mileage issue.

            Still, there is a “segment” of do gooders who think they know best and are more than happy to shove their genius solutions down everyone else’s throat.

            If you don’t like it, it is because you are too stupid to understand what is best for you or too selfish to sacrifice your earnings and choice for the good of the collective.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Pch101,

            I get market segmentation, I’m just not brainless enough to believe that all car buyers care about fuel economy and everyone that doesn’t care about it wants a truck. Read into it what you will, if you can.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            One of the marks of a right-wing zealot is the inability to understand the difference between “all”, “none” and “some.”

            It doesn’t surprise me that someone who only sees things in black-and-white terms would fail to understand market segmentation. CJ and his deficient buddies simply can’t grasp that different consumers have different priorities, including the amount of fuel that they would like to burn. It would more than dumb for automakers to assume that every car shopper is some sort of far-right half-wit with a chip on his shoulder.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @ VolandoBajo, STOP making so much sense! Pch has to preach its liberal BS because that is the only thing it knows, aside from childish name calling and trolling those who dont subscribe to it’s twisted sense of “social justice” or its constant repeating of liberal talking points.

            Here, pch, let me type your reply for you:
            “Youre all too stupid and I am way too smart, which is why I will not address any of your points. Now, everyone turn on MSNBC or Al Jazerra and lets study how everything in the past 7-8 years is GWB’s fault. God (who doesnt exist of course) save King Obama and Prince Gore. That is all.”

            Youre welcome.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            @JohnTaurus Yours was the first really big laugh of the year for me. Happy New Year, and good work.

            Yes, pch is a well-known “player”…every once in a while he says something that makes sense, and if it is good enough, I will even give him his props.

            But more often, he comes off as MoveOn’s “designated poster” to keep the liberal agenda in front of us automotive troglodytes. From time to time, when my more devilish inclinations take hold, I like to toss out a rebuttal to his “party line” automotive social justice crusade, or even toss out a scrap or a tidbit gratis, just to see if he is “biting” that day…sort of like tossing some yarn in the direction of a cat, or whacking a piñata to see what comes out of it.

            He seldom disappoints. In case you haven’t seen him in action as long as I have, may I suggest a few “button press” topics? Chicken tax, the need for CAFE, the religious freedom to obey your conscience if it offends his sensibilities, mentioning “homosexual” and “agenda” in the same sentence, saying bad things about his favorite president (guess who?)…the list goes on.

            I have actually come to respect and befriend a handful of people here, based on my recognition of their awareness of how much of a tool he becomes whenever you challenge an assertion of his…in fact, it is the best way to find out that he has zero argument against you, when he drops into slander and revile mode.

            Oh, and I almost forgot…free market. That must NEVER be allowed to occur…we need the unelected officials who come from Washington, and are here to help us.

            You know the drill…”If you’ve got a business, it’s not your business. You didn’t build that business. Government enabled you to have that business.”

            I am tempted to keep watch during 2016, and to take nominations for the best/worst of pch throughout the year. You know it’s coming, you’re just not sure exactly how and when.

            I’m also tempted to spur on a contest to see which of the B&B can become the first to have pch’s scorn piled on them.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        ajla, Ford makes the Mustang because it’s a big part of the Ford brand identity. Helps that it’s able to share engine development with Ford trucks. In contrast, I think Ford is rather ambivalent about investing in the Lincoln brand. They put some money into reworking existing Ford cars and trucks, but not that much. A $60K+ V8 Lincoln would sell about as well as a 60K+ Hyundai with about as much brand cachet.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Ford has been taking this tack with V8’s and CAFE all the way back to the 88 T-Birds at least…Sportcoupe vs. Turbocoupe. And the latter was NOT faster…that 302 had a HP curve so flat you could set a dinner table on it.

      How much would the CAFE penalty add? I too have always thought that those of us who are dinosaurs and/or wish to be able to drive a dinosaur would willingly pay the differential in order to get a properly beast V8 sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I made a comment earlier about Ford’s 6.7 litre PowerStroke. That engine can get 16-18 mpg in a crewcab 4×4 brick. Why not put it in a car ? The Lincoln that Baruth is lusting after is going to be big and long so why not?

        Ford still makes the 6.2 gasser that was in the Raptor and they still make modular V10. The 5.8 litre GT500 engine could easily be resurrected.

        An Ecoboost 3.5 litre V6 has the power but it does not carry the “snob appeal” of a big V8.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The Germans and Lexus don’t make their flagships share a platform with a downmarket brand, and hence don’t have to make the same cost/volume compromises that Cadillac and Lincoln do. I don’t think a V-8 needs to be standard, but it should at least be an option – and it should NOT be some OHV Chevy motor (Caddy) or detuned Mustang motor (Lincoln), but something high tech and unique to the upscale brand. Unfortunately the Detroit beancounters won’t approve such things so we end up with overpriced clones of the downmarket brand offerings, and luxury shoppers drive right on by on their way to buy a 750i, S-Class, A8, or LS.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I really don’t think Lincoln or Cadillac buyers would care that the engine is shared with a Mustang or Corvette, in fact, my guess is would be a good selling point for the few that cared about such things. At least they don’t seem to care that the Escalade has basically the same engine as Chevy pickup trucks, yet they line up to pay $90,000 for them.

      Cadillac made a mistake with the Northstar, they should have simply put in a modified version of the GM LT or LS V8. The Norhstar engines were junk, and how many Cadillac buyers really knew what a 32v DOHC engine even meant? Probably only after they were told their car was worth scrap value when the head bolts failed on their super advanced engine that shared nothing with a proven design that had worked great for decades.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Mercedes and BMW may not have their cars share chassis with lesser branded cars (though BMW has a line of Mini based FWD BMWs coming) but Audi pretty much shares every chassis with some VW, and the Japanese brands have a lot of sharing between the mass market and luxury brands. It can be done, but it needs to be done right.

      • 0 avatar
        banker43

        The Audi-VW platform sharing is overstated. A4, A5, A6, Q5, A8, are not “platform mates” with any VWs. Engines are longitudinal in orientation with unique AWD systems.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Dwford

        Only Lincoln and Acura actually do without a longitudinal chassis. Everyone else offers two to three cars using transverse platforms. Audi offers the 3’s and the tt, lexus has the es,ct and rx and so on.

        Luxury brands do well selling transverse chassis, but we’re talking about the lowest end of the price point here. They are also notably exposed to down market challengers in this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      There’s nothing about the Mustang engine that would be uncompetitive with any engine in any other luxury car. Platform or component sharing only matters if it has a real effect on the luxury car’s competitiveness. Usually that’s because of styling or proportions too close to the mainstream version or because of obvious deficiencies in driving experience (like you would get from putting a noisy LT or LS engine into a Caddy).

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        You really think a single Cadillac buyer would have thought an OHV was too loud and passed on that basis? 50 cents worth of extra sound deadening and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

        Somehow the most expensive vehicle Cadillac makes is an OHV engine (Escalade) and I hear no complaints about engine noise. It’s also their most profitable offering.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The Escalade sounds like a bass boat. Its audience likes loud and obnoxious. That engine wouldn’t work in a flagship sedan. It’s not just sound, it’s also vibration.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            It sounds loud because the exhaust is tuned that way and buyers love it. It’s not some deficiency in the OHV configuration.

            You can easily overcome any NVH issues with active engine mounts and other solutions that have been available for decades.

            It’s more about marketing and people thinking Cadillac “HAS TO” to have a more European style engine that’s “world class”. And then GM goes on to completely screw it up when they would have had a loyal fan base simply putting in their proven small block.

            Nobody mistakes a Cadillac for an BMW, put an Escalade engine in a sedan and people will toss the Euro trash alternative aside.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Escalades I’ve ridden in as airport shuttles were far from “smooth as glass.” You get both engine vibration and live-axle ride jitters. If you want to see a “smooth as glass” engine, go ride in a Lexus LS 460. You have to look at the tach to know it’s running.

            I’m not necessarily blaming the OHV layout, just GM’s priorities in building the engine. Since they are overwhelmingly truck and Camaro engines, GM prioritizes durability and performance, and doesn’t really care about NVH.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            An Escalade is smooth as glass, I’ve spent time in one.

            Pontiac as a brand is not going to much effort in something like engine smoothness, so it doesn’t surprise me that it didn’t do a great job with the LS. It was supposed to be a 4 door GTO.

            I’ve been in plenty of overhead cam engined cars from non-luxury brands that were absolute nightmares in terms of noise and vibration.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        GM should just accept that Cadillac permanently appeals to a different demographic than the people that buy Audi/BMW/Lexus, offer some OHV V8s, price it between Chrysler and Genesis, and see what happens.

        I doubt they’d fail any worse than the current lineup.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    It will have the Focus RS AWD system (beefier system actually) so while it won’t be a V-8, RWD cruiser it shouldn’t be a FWD under-steering pig either.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    What do the Chinese care about these car guy quibbles?

    As long as the rear seat and its environs are suitably lush.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque

      Rear seat comfort still favors the sedan format over the CUV. Unless your flagship is a Range Rover LWB Autobiography, I haven’t found an instance with any of the luxury brands where the back seat of the topline CUV/SUV was anywhere as good as their flagship sedan.

      I suspect it will be the opposite 10 years from now when the luxury brands realize they can still sell SUV’s at double their existing prices.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Completely agree; I meant no commentary about C/SUVs. Lincoln has recently decided to compete in China and this is a perfect car for it.

        China has had no time to develop a corp of car guy squawkers about engine/drive issues; thirty years ago they were mostly on bicycles. “Understeer” just meant you crashed because there was too much sh1t lashed to your handlebars.

        And the successful Chinese businessman would be insulted if you pressed him for details as to how his car “handled”. He doesn’t handle it; he doesn’t handle anything except his phablets and his nymphs.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    Nice piece. A lot of work went into that. It’s particularly diverting to recall the ’88 Lincoln vs ’89 Lexus.
    I do think Lexus/Toyota still had the advantage in matters of the corporate bank account. Japanese manufacturers had that tremendous advantage in the yen/dollar deal, and after the Plaza Accord rectified that, those yen only became twice as valuable, so they really won out big time.

    But Ford really went through a massive style devolution in the 1980s. The revamped Thunderbird, which was so sweet and promising in ’83, gradually went through hideous grill changes through the decade until a whole new TBird was introduced in 1989. Year of shame! Remember the ungainly greenhouse and tinkertoy lines of that car? Destroyed the brand. The Ford Taurus went through a similar meat grinder in the Ford styling studios. Started out wonderful, was a huge seller, then it was left unattended until it began look ropey. The car that could have been continually developed like an Accord became a worn-out old sock.

    Pretty funky world, that Detroit system.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Totally agree about the beginning of the end of the Thunderbird beginning in 1989. Had an 88 that was really a clean machine, but the 89 with that sloping nose that Ford used as an excuse for not being able to fit a V8 in it was just ugly.

      Ford could have kept the Thunderbird relevant if it hadn’t gone that route, but they were CAFE conscious, and let the brand lapse.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I must be an outlier, but I actually thought the ’89 Thunderbird was absolutely beautiful. I had a ’92 Thunderbird SC, and it has a clean look that still holds up today.

      The car itself was bloated and not very efficient in terms of packaging, but I thought it was great as a nice luxury coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Yeah, I don’t get the hate. If any Thunderbirds should be hated, the truly bloated 60s and 70s models deserve it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The disgusting late 70’s (or new for 1980) Thunderbird Town Landau takes the cake for WORST of them all.

          http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/1980-Ford-Thunderbird-02-03.jpg

          The extra-long late 60’s ones are my favorite, specifically the brougham sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Oh yeah, definitely the worst. As if 1980 didn’t suck enough, with its still depressed economy and crappy soft rock.

            http://www.you tube.com/watch?v=bOm0Dq_kKNU

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            A clumsy transition to modernity – with fuel injection and beginning of the end of disco, classic rock and brougham!

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Ambrosia definitely were no Hall & Oates, I can tell you that.

            Hall & Oates is the only 80s adult contemporary group I’ll admit to liking.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I can’t go for that! No no no!

            Lol, my lines get blurred between adult contemporary and pop, because to me H&O was pretty poppy. You have people like INXS who was pure pop, and then Heart who transitioned to adult contemporary from rock, but wasn’t really ever poppy. And where does Flock of Seagulls fall? And Tears for Fears?!

            Someone like Laura Branigan is between the lines as well.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I have “I Can’t Go For That” on my exercise player. Very tasty intro build if you can stomach plastic instruments.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The song works better with a kazoo solo

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJiCUdLBxuI

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think those sounds were mostly made by a Roland-88, or something. I like the little psst-psst sound that sounds like spraying cologne.

            You can rely on the old man’s money, you can rely on the old man honey.

            Great lyrics all over the place.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            They did have pop success but they were considered an adult contemporary group. Kind of like how Def Leppard isn’t a pop band despite having Top 40 Billboard hits.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Damn, for a skinny girl Niki Bluhm sekksay!

            And I’ve always held the kazoo to be every bit as valid a musical instrument as the saxophone, especially an overblown saxophone.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Ford committed some sort of ritual suicide on the Thunderbird.

            The Old Man got a brand new ’73. Every father and son on the street came over to see it. The brand had cachet up the ying yang. Some sort of association with the Rat Pack and 77 Sunset Strip. Personal luxury at its best. Probably the same sort of idea as showing up at home in an M5 today?

            I got a brand new ’78. Back then it was considered a good looking car and still had cachet. The ’78 tried to kill me multiple times. I have never cursed a car the way that I cursed that one. Turned it in less than 12 months later for a full size Disco Van.

            Ford lost the plot with the 1980 restyle. Nobody liked it.

            Nearly came back with the 9th generation. But the last iteration was the final nail in the coffin. Rather than being able to run with personal luxury vehicles it was merely a try to make money on what was left of the name.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The 1988 Lincoln Continental – the best Buick LeSabre that Lincoln ever built.

    I have high hopes for the new Continental but then I’d be happy in an MKS Ecobost or a Taurus SHO.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Cord, Citroen and Oldsmobile had it right.

    Saab also, until the 9000. Saab fans like to whine about GM, but Saab had already given up on what made its cars great, longitudinal engines, with the 9000.

  • avatar

    I wonder how many of these will be fitted with dealer-installed padded roofs and fake gold trim.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Jack,

    The 1988 Continental rode on an air suspension, perhaps that’s why its behavior seemed odd to you.
    If you only saw trade-ins, they were probably retrofitted to an aftermarket (Monroe?) spring suspension. Ford predictably priced replacement air springs at more than the car’s residual value, and those air springs only lasted a few years.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    “Luxury, as we all know, is that immensely satisfying feeling of having more than is required. When it comes to automobiles, however, slightly more is required than the mere presence of excess. We need a certain solidity, a sense of weight, of presence.”

    So introducing the ultimate luxury car: the Ford F350 King Ranch CCLB dually. Certainly has more presence and feeling of weight, than an S550 and for 99.999% of people is more than what is required.

    I think you need to add “and serves no useful purpose that less expensive products don’t” to your definition.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    I’m not hopeful. One of the buff books has a spy shot on their website showing the interior slathered in a wood trim so glossy it looks fake. The Jetson-era chrome helped make the concept interior something special.

  • avatar

    Ford has always had a distressing amount of ‘Ford’ in your average Lincoln – today, yesterday, the 90s, 80s, 70s…

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Lincolns had unique interior trim, including unique dashboards, up until the…late 70s? I know some late 70s Continentals featured a Mercury Marquis dash instead of the previous Continental specific one.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I don’t understand the angst that has accompanied the most recent spy photos of the new Continental. It was obvious from the start that the concept car was a worked over Fusion inside and out – rightly pointed out here as more 1988 Continental than 1961 – or think Cadillac XTS vs C6 (and maybe not as convincing as the XTS). Maybe it was the return of the name or the paint, but this car will compete more with the Buick LaCrosse than anything from Merc, BMW, Audi et al.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      I think it’s a combination of people being hung up on names over alphanumerics and the massive number of Ford fans on this this site. I agree with this take.

      Coincidentally the new LaCrosse uses this same torque-vectoring AWD system.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The Continental is a cool idea, but on a real note a sedan can’t revive Lincoln. There are enough overpriced semi-luxury sedans out there with lots of tech and tiny back seats.

    What Lincoln needs is a new Navigator based on the new F-150. Maybe even expand the Navigator brand a bit. A Navigator sport or something with a bonkers supercharged V8.

  • avatar

    Another good editorial. It’s always a pleasure to read TTAC. I wish it was print publication too. I’d be able to leaf through old copies indefinitely.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I don’t think FWD is so bad. Audi has been legitimately selling FWD A8s against “real” wheel drive luxury sedans for… 20 years now? It’s far more important that the car look phenomenal in and out. In fact, if they can nail that, honestly not much else will matter. But to get it to have a nice exterior they need to get away from that “SUV with a trunk” platform the Taurus is on, and get the shoulder line down to an attractive height. If they gave it some a PHEV option to cash in on that Tesla/Hollywood green glow that would be even better. But they gotta get away from their old platform. Even if they just move to a new FWD platform that yields better aesthetics they will be in OK shape.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Audi’s cars are longitudinal (other than the A3/Q3 and TT) and in the U.S. something like 95% of them have AWD. It’s really not the same thing at all as a Caddy XTS or a Lincoln MKS.

      • 0 avatar
        never_follow

        Bingo. So were B5 platform Passats, which is why they were universally loved when new. (The love didn’t last for many, but personal experience has them as reliable so long as you maintain them.)

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        How? The front wheels are doing the driving, and the bulk of the engine is ahead of the front wheels. None of these cars are like the Acura Legend for example, which had the engine’s center pretty far back behind the front axle. If the car looks and drives nicely people don’t care about drive wheels.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    “Don’t let me down! Build something I won’t buy anyway!” kidding but-

    The toughest part for Lincoln (and Cadillac) is the transition
    from blue hair to new hair. The imports ate their lunch in that
    department and still do today.

    Looking at the spy shots however, if these are close to the prod
    model, I think it will do well. No bass-mouth grill, nice
    understated rear end and very nice (and I think, classic) proportions
    all around. I did see some fit and finish probs on the rear side.
    Let’s hope they square those away before prime time.
    Even the wheel design is subtle. I like it.

    Still, this car will be aimed at approaching middle age that are
    now in the prime of their income earning years. I just don’t see it
    as a game-changer. Question is, does Lincoln?

  • avatar
    Udo

    It looks like the Talisman is for sale…. or it’s a remarkably similar example:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cadillac-Fleetwood-60-Special-Brougham-/111851034829?forcerrptr=true&hash=item1a0ad758cd:g:TWQAAOSwsFpWS6D1&item=111851034829

    Udo

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I’ll admit to liking the looks of it from the outside. And I like the wheels, too, oddly enough. To me, it *does* look rather imposing.

    The problem comes when I consider what I’d buy if I had the money it cost to get one: There are just too many alternatives that are way more than, “I admit to liking this”. It would take a really stellar interior to pull that off, and interiors are the area where I find Detroit iron really falling down vs. their competitors these days – not necessarily in quality, but in styling. I like the looks of the Chrysler 200, and then I see the inside and think, “Man, I’ll keep my Sonata”.

    That said, I’m probably not the target market. We’ll see.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    “Luxury, as we all know, is that immensely satisfying feeling of having more than is required.”

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The continental is fine for what it is as a car meant for the driver. Let’s talk town car, a car meant for being driven around in…What they should do is build it on the f150 frame in swb, lwb executive, and limo forms, it would be an aluminum bodied taller car like the Queens RR, but not quite cross over height. It will have choice of the 2.7tt, the 5.0 v8 and a new 48 volt mild hybrid system with the 3.7 na v6 to help meet upcoming cafe regs. The focus will be 100% on luxury in both ride and interior appointments, it will have the most exclusive luxury ride and largest trunk ever bestowed on the rear end of a sedan. Sitting in the back of the two across lwb executive will be like riding in the finest first class airplane cabin ever conceived. President Trump will immediately ditch loser GM and mandate he only rides in town cars from now on. Putin will buy one as they are now bffs and the Chinese premier will burn his Buick in public. The new town car will make Germans cry like the fuhrer just died, Japanese commit seppuku, and usher in an era of world peace. President Lincoln will become the new Lincoln logo and his bust, made of solid crystal, will adorn every hood of every head of state.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You aren’t going to get a “most exclusive luxury ride” out of a truck platform. It’s physically impossible. You need unibody structural stiffness and independent suspension at all four corners.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Stiffness on the f150 with the fully boxed ladder frame made of high strength steel is more than sufficient, especially awhen combined with long travel suspension. No reason they cant have air bags or coils like on the ram and independent suspension lkke on the expedition. Body on frame also allows better cab isolation than a unibody…however space frames such as the viper actually seem to be the best if all you want is stiff.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No “mild 48v hybrid” from Ford, they just aren’t a cost effective option. They will have a serious Hybrid RWD powertrain in just a few years though.

      They do already have most of that in the Lincoln Line it is called the Navigator. Yes it sits a bit too high for what you describe but they could lower it if they really wanted to.

      If you want a really smooth luxury ride then you want BOF so that the suspension is fully isolated from the body which of course also needs to be rigid. Yes you can and most do subframes with their unibody cars, at least in the front it ends up with a suspension that is not as good as it could be if the front and rear portions were connected to a proper frame without that extra flexing of the rubber bushings holding each end to the unibody.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The “beast” already rides on a truck platform. Regardless of what you believe what is good for the civilian version it will never become a Presidential Limo ever again.

      President Trump……lolololololololololololol—good one.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “antediluvian mindset” and ” inveigle my way”

    Um…wait, what?

    Perhaps it is me…but I love the 3.5 ecoboost motor. Never have I ever wished for a V8 with this motor.

    Dunno about all this talk about front end weight and front to back weight ratios. This is meaningless to us Detroit ride folks. I wanna drive over rail rode tracks and small animals without knowing.

    And I am not so sure about this lower trunk line look.
    The MKS has 19 friggin feet of trunk. I want large big butted rear ends in my large cars. I want a proper boot.
    And the looooooooong front end be damned if it is there only for the large penis image required by male drivers looking for the glory of yesteryear. See…I like seeing where I am going and the ability to see the corners of my car as I drive around parking lots.

    I like the room inside cars allowed by the FWD design. The RWD is perhaps important for those REALLY in need of tearing around corners…but us large car ride guys want our size and comfort.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      RWD cars tend to have nicer proportions with less car hanging out in front of the front wheels and more sheet metal between the front wheels and the door. Part of Audi’s success is that they understand this issue and work very hard to avoid down-market proportions.

      The other issue is weight hanging out in front of the front wheels. A compact light-weight 4 cylinder engine solves much of the weight distribution issue, but it makes all the wrong noises and vibration for a proper luxury car.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        I don’t like the long hood look.
        Never did.
        I know the look is as old as they have been producing cars, which is where this love comes from. Those long hoods covering those big old engines from the 30s on is the look.
        But not to me. In fact, this look is sort of embarrassing and over the top.
        And the RWD design with the position of the engine front to back forces the interior to be placed back farther.
        With the intro of FWD more room was left for the interior.
        Plus, leaving aside the need for traction when racing, FWD allows for the better traction in wet and snowy weather.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I have seen the future, brother; it is murder.

  • avatar
    raph

    Hah, that FWD Continental had a V8 option, it was Ford’s 32 valve 4.6 V8 ( IIRC called Entech V8 ). One of the reasons Ford choose the narrow bore spacing on the MOD motor was to accommodate a V8 in an FWD configuration.

    Mostly a bad descesion but at least it had the net effect of getting Ford off their ass and improving their engine game. Still it would have been nice if Ford had a proper bore spacing that would allow bigger displacements in combination with its 4 valve heads. They are great with the peak numbers but the big V8’s from GM and Chrysler kill the “little” Ford V8 in average power ( torque for the old timers ).

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Two words…..”suicide doors”. I think that would make a big difference for this vehicle that may make some other shortcomings less noticeable. I love continentals of old, so much so that if I had the money, I would buy a pristine example of one and park it next to the Mercs and Bimmers at the local starbucks every morning to show all the social climbers that their money has clearly not been able to purchase taste. I view most luxury cars these days as nothing more than the Camrys and Accords for those with a little disposable income. Very few are special and lets face it, you don’t need a luxury income to drive away on a lease special of most new luxury cars.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The concept looks good, but so did all those other awesome Lincoln concepts from back in the 2000s that they teased us with but never delivered. This heart can only be broken so many times, Lincoln…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      MKR!!!!!! Noooooooooooo! Build it [email protected]!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      What a Lincoln should look like:

      http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Lincoln/2002-Lincoln-Continetal-DV-10-RMM-01.jpg

      What a Cadillac should look like:

      http://www.kchauto.com/2016-cadillac-elmiraj-release-date-price/2016-cadillac-elmiraj-price/

      Build them bank vault solid, pUt a snarling V8 under the hood, and give them the plushest ride available.

      Until then, both marques can politely STFU.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’d rather have Lincoln double up the next 3.0L V6 for a 6.0L V12.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Long legs, drop dead sexy, unique styling, restrained yet tasteful brightwork – elegance, AMERICANA:

        http://image.automobilemag.com/f/56551300+w660+h440+q80+cr1+ar0/cadillac-elmiraj-concept-driver-side.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’m not going to lie, I like the look of the Continental Concept. However, I never looked at it as something it wasn’t. It was always going to be an MKS replacement on a FWD platform. That’s fine. It’s better than what they had. It’ a step in the right direction.

          Because Lincoln doesn’t have a RWD platform to use, this is all they can do. Until D6 comes out, don’t expect a RWD Lincoln that isn’t the Navigator.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “restrained yet tasteful”

          Conjunction malfunction; “restrained” doesn’t contradict or cast doubt upon “tasteful”; it equals it. “And” would be more better.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Honestly, I thought this was going to be about Hyundai’s new Genesis brand. Even the picture looks like a Hyundai luxury car from the side.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Nooooooo some of you have lost the thread.

    It has to have the largest displacement engine available. At least 8 cylinders, preferably 12. Longitudinally mounted. It needs to float over the road. As @’trailetrash’ so eloquently alluded to, it must run over electric cars without even noticing that they were there.

    It needs to have a hood long enough to land a helicopter on, so that only truly confident drivers will drive it. And chrome. And a hood ornament.

    And to make it truly a cachet vehicle, price it astronomically. Offer no warranty. Who else would pay for that except ‘those who do not care about money and need to show off how rich they are’? Nobody else will buy one. But everyone else will want one.

    Then the manufacturer should offer a guaranteed buy back anytime over the first 6 years. After 6 years, don’t resell them. Just crush them. So there won’t be any littering used car lots or junkyards in the distant future. No run down shoddy examples left to complain about. Just shiny new (or newish) ones that will not sully their prestige.

    Do all of that and every pro athlete, actor and performer will want one. And those who inherited billions. And every 3rd world dictator. Heck, give a couple to Putin to ride around in. Media attention and hype will become astronomical. Limit production so that those who order one will have to wait 6 to 12 months for delivery. A black market will emerge, increasing resale prices. The brand name will become a synonym for luxury.

    And with all that money rolling in and limited production, eventually they might even be able to build an auto that could stand as the world’s standard for luxury.

  • avatar
    derekson

    The spy shots of the production version of the Continental interior were really unimpressive to me. The interior looks like it would be right at home in a Kia Cadenza, not like a true luxury car and certainly not particularly American in any way. The Continental will continue Lincoln’s status as another Buick and Acura fighter rather establishing them as makers of a proper luxury car.

    Said photos can be found here: http://www.autoblog.com/2015/12/18/2017-lincoln-continental-interior-spy-shots/

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Automakers should have journalists drive and publish initial reviews about new cars before they tell them anything about drive wheels or engine size and layout. If the author can figure it out just by driving it, that’s fine, but it would really help get rid of these old-fashioned biases that wobble out onto the pages that the people who purchase cars read.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    Interesting thought about longitudinally mounted engine being important for the “luxury car feel”, instead of the RWD itself.

    In fact, I’ve been pondering about similar thing for quite some time and mentioned it earlier today in an article of mine (which is, unfortunatelly, in the local gibberish that we call “Czech” and thus none of you will be able to read it http://www.autickar.cz/clanek/podle-ceho-si-vlastne-vybirame-auta/).

    My thoughs went in a bit different direction, though. While I won’t argue with the notion that the weight in front of the front axle may have a significant effect on the car’s “luxury feel”, I think even more important is WHERE THE DRIVER SITS.

    Take the LH/LX platform.

    When I drove the Thema/300C or sat in a Charger, there was a vaguely “American” feel to those cars, but still a huge difference compared to, say, 1980s Caprice or a Town Car.

    In LHS, with front seats right behind front wheels, there was none of this feel.

    In Challenger, with it’s long hood and cab-rearward configuration, the feel is all right.

    In my opinion, the ratio of the distances from the front and rear axle to the driver’s head is the key here.

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      Yep! When I drove a Charger in Pittsburgh that was one of the few things I criticized it for. I had to sit a long way back from from my front bumper, so I could never come far enough out to see past parked cars and had to use some fancy maneuvers to avoid getting stuck trying to turn out of a lot or garage. It also stinks when you’re at a stoplight and trying to take a blind turn.

      The perfect American auto review includes a trip to the Steel City. You’ll know everything you need about it when you’re done.

      I’d prefer my knees to be at the front axle line with the pedal box doubling as the bumper closeout panel!

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I feel like the domestics get put into a weird position where if they don’t focus on V8 powered stuff, they’re not building proper luxury cars, and if they do, they’re out of touch and don’t know how to innovate anymore. As Tesla’s proving, going electric could be a suitably bold move. I mean, not exactly for the sake of eco-cred, but it can easily be smooth, powerful, and sidesteps the limitations of both FWD and RWD-oriented layouts.

    As a bonus, even if they did big and brash (it sadly might be too late go mid-century modern even if that jives with classic Lincolns), it still wouldn’t be that hard to get 40MPGe

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    V8s are for peasants. Go V12 or don’t bother. If you must have a base motor, an inline six with a turbo or two makes MUCH nicer noises, and requires the proper proportions just like the V12.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Why remember the ’88 Continental? The ’82 thru ’87’s were far better…in looks and design! Being built on the Fox platform meant they were not only RWD, but also a V8.
    My Mom had a ’85 Valentino edition. It was comfortable, and turned heads everywhere we went. A true class act!
    When the all new ’88 Continental came out, the first thing my Mom said was “Oh great…a stretched Taurus!”. Needless to say, she purchased TownCars from that point on.
    The new Comtinental needs to bring back name recognition, along with proving Lincoln truly CAN come back with great cars once again.
    The MKZ has proven good design is capable…if only they would call it Zephyr!

  • avatar
    Lownslow

    As a former owner of a 61 Lincoln Continental, and current owner a 78 Lincoln Continental, they sure DON’T make them like the old ones anymore. The 61 was the epitome of luxury and class for Lincoln. The quality was second to none, everything in that car had substantial weight to it like the author mentions. The doors felt like they weighed a thousand pounds each! Of course the styling is what made those cars awesome, but it was the quality of its components that nobody ever really talks about. You have to actually sit inside a 61-65 Continental to really grasp what Lincoln used to be and how well of a designed car they were in the 60’s.

    IMO a true luxury car should have some heft to it. Anything that feels cheap and flimsy should not be in it period! Nothing in a 60’s Continental felt cheap or like it was made from Mattel. The window glass could be designated as bulletproof that is how thick they are. All the chrome and stainless trim was metal and top-notch. The body was very tight and rattle free when I owned it, and for a car that weighed almost 5,200lbs, just bumping into the grill or fender could almost kill you! Lol.

    The 60’s Lincs were by far the best and the most unique in every conceivable way from Lincoln exclusive drivetrain components, to the interior itself was strictly Lincoln.

    Onto my 78 Conti. Now this car isn’t the car the 61 was in terms of Lincoln exclusiveness, but what the 70’s Lincolns did was they brought that Big Car, Luxury Cruiser to the fore front in a more traditional practical way. The 61 felt tiny to me and handle and drove more like a sports car than say a floaty comfortable isolated Cadillac of the day. Because of the unibody construction of the 61, you tended to feel more road imperfections and the ride was firm. The 78 on the other is full framed, coil springs in the rear, and had a long wheelbase with a massive interior that makes driving this car, the best riding car I have ever driven! Nothing else compares. It’s not super floaty like some might expect, but very cushy and pillowy. It’s very serene in way and I honestly wouldn’t even dare myself to drive long distance because the comfort level alone would put me to sleep, it’s that smooth and quiet.

    What is so hard to grasp, is that Lincoln used to build beautiful, attractive and great quality luxury cars back then, yet they can’t figure out how to do it now? It doesn’t make any damn sense. This new Continental design is such a rip off in styling from other brands that when one sees the new Conti, you start seeing glimpses of Kia, Jag and Audi all in one. No originality, or anything that Lincoln is currently doing or building that can match the presence, the prestige, the styling and comfort of the Lincolns from the 60’s-70’s. I can’t count how many compliments I receive on my 78 every time I take it out for a spin. Nobody would say anything to you if you rolled up in a new MKS or MKZ. The classics had character and an amazing sense of substance that cannot be replicated today.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      60s era Riviera & 60s era Continental (both absolutely pristine) were two of the most memorable (for good reasons) vehicles that I’ve ever ridden in.

      The Riviera, especially, had a magical quality I could not effectively understand completely, translate, or communicate. You have to experience it to “get it.”

  • avatar
    05lgt

    FMC should do a Ford GT level of investment “halo” Conti. Old school luxury all the way with a fat mid 6 figure price, bespoke V8, and too much style and comfort. A surfeit of comfort, a plethora of horsies, a price most mid level Hip Hop stars couldn’t afford. Somewhere north of Pagani levels of ridiculous opulence. Embrace the robber baron ethos as a style statement. Few would sell, but you’d tell someone if you saw one. Then. And only then. Could Lincoln sell the car Jack wants.

  • avatar
    Slowtege

    [Long reply warning] The first time I saw this concept, the FWD-based proportions immediately stood out to me. Yeah, they tried getting a little dash-to-axle (A-pillar touchdown point to center of the front wheel, or…distance from the door cut line to the wheel opening), but that front overhang leaves nothing to the imagination.

    I think some of the issue with FWD not being optimum, as some have noted, is that the engine is transversely mounted, not longitudinally. The motor can be incredibly smooth, but the rocking back and forth on its mounts due to revving or accessory clutches engaging results in annoying and “not luxury” vibrations. Not to mention inherently poor proportions that result. Though, to be fair, Acura’s 2005+ RL had this layout and had excellent NVH (I drove many for a few years), so it can be done. But Acura doesn’t have a storied history of large, confident, powerful, and “properly proportioned” cars like Lincoln or Cadillac.

    The 5.0 Coyote can be tamed to be smooth, but it would take work. Even uncorked early Lexus LS400 and later Audi 4.2 V8s have a very coordinated, orderly burble over their contemporary American counterparts (though, in raucous Corvettes, Camaro Z28s like my LT1 car, Mustangs, and trucks, glass smooth refinement was never the goal).

    I think Ford is onto something with their EcoBoost. It seems to do well in their F150s and it’s the only thing in the Navigator. This is where luxury comes into play. Rolls Royces and the like have “enough” power to waft or surge away from a stop. No benchmark racing or loud exhausts proclaiming strength, just the smooth and quiet movement that gives sufficient evidence of “it lacks nothing.”

    This concept looks exactly as it does in real life as in pictures, which may sound “duh,” but this is not always the case. Meh front proportion aside, the car looks good. Very smooth surfacing and transitions, with HORIZONTAL LINES as a main theme. Cars today look like plate tectonics had their way–arbitrarily bent creases and big slashing angles everywhere. It’s irritating and the designs will have a hard time standing the test of time. Why do pickup trucks from the 70s, 80s, and 90s still look handsome? Horizontal lines. Also, regular cab-long bed proportions just work.

    The Continental lacks visual presence, in size somewhat and mainly in proportion. That’s starting behind the curve if ever there was something, and it’s unnecessary. Cadillac shows us the stunning Ciel and El Mirage concepts (real names!!)–impressive, properly proportioned, beautifully executed designs that are without-a-doubt, absolute evidence that we (America), or rather, Cadillac, answers to no one in the automotive design realm and that those designs are second to no one. Lincoln has shown flashes here and there in the last 15-ish years, and I want them to succeed here.

    400 hp 3.5L Ecoboost V6, longitudinally-mounted, RWD and AWD, properly RWD proportion with 7-series/S-class length and this same styling (or tweak the headlights, the tail is superb), and you have understated presence, a key definition of luxury.

  • avatar
    DM335

    I agree with your concerns about the new Continental. For a variety of reasons, it doesn’t seem like it will be distinctive in a sea of Camrys and Accords. Lincoln designs, even when they look different from the underlying Ford, no longer have “presence”.

    The ability to stand out is not dependent on vinyl roofs, spare tire humps and acres of chrome. It is an overall combination of style and proportion that a car either has or it doesn’t. Because of the quest for sportiness and aerodynamics, not many current cars have it, but some still do.

    The other day I saw an older couple driving a mid-80s Continental (in 2-tone blue!). The car definitely has “presence”. It stood out on the road and still made a statement about luxury and prestige. It may not have been a great car, but it looked like a great car.

    I continue to hope that Lincoln will rise from the ashes, but I fear it won’t happen with this Continental. It’s is at best a tiny step in the right direction, but Lincoln probably needs to sprint.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    I just remembered what Ford was doing in 1989. They were forking out $2.3 billion for Jaguar! While Toyota was investing a percentage of that in new Lexus tooling, Ford was buying up an old nameplate with a dodgy reputation that only required billions more to make right. There’s your corporate vision.

    As for the new Lincoln, doesn’t it deserve some comparison to the upcoming Cadillac CT6? I saw an early version at last year’s NY auto show and felt that the back seat sure felt stuffy. Very surprising, too, for such a big car. But that’s become epidemic of American cars — back seats that provide claustrophobia.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      To be perfectly fair, and I’m in way shape or form a fan of Cadillac (“/really?” they collectively & rhetorically ask), the CT6 is rwd.

      However, it’s just going to be a stretched CTS based on the info released, manipulated in order to add more rear seat room to the CTS.

      Cadillac teased the beautiful El Miriaj as its new upcoming large sedan, then struck out (typical) with the bland & dreary CT6, aka stretched CTS.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    Furthermore:
    I live in a pretty ritzy town that is pretty much wall-to-wall German cars. The only Lincolns you see are old Town Cars that have been given sloppy paint jobs and turned into taxis at the train station. That’s the downside to building a car that goes 400,000 miles.

  • avatar
    Lownslow

    The imagery of Lincoln’s, specifically Town Cars in the 90’s-2000’s as being taxis/livery service vehicles I am sure still reeks it’s butt from time to time and is part of the reason why nobody truly takes Lincoln serious still.

    90’s-2000’s Town Cars aren’t anything special either. Ford was very cheap at platform sharing during this time, worse than GM when compared to the D-B body full sizers. Sure, Town Cars, might have been good cars, but in no way shape or form did they have a high quality interior and the refinements of a Lexus or a Benz of the similar era. Lincoln sure did know how to make comfy good quality seats though!

    I thought when Lincoln got it’s own design studio, President, and staff that was far away from the Ford guys, they would be using more unique Lincoln “exclusive” drivetrain components and other Lincoln only parts within the division. But it looks like Ford is still being Ford, trying to pull off luxury on the cheap. The only way to prove to people that you are taking this game seriously is to go all out and build the greatest if not a better luxury car than it’s rivals and competitors, or else don’t even bother wasting anyone’s time with half ass attempts at being something special.

    It is mind boggling how Hyundai is able to build the Equus, and Genesis, cars that look decent, are RWD, V8 powered, with an Air Suspension all around (Equus) with rear seat passengers being the primary focus. Yet Lincoln, and even Cadillac have taken so long to respond to what everybody is saying what they need to do in order to become a prestigious legitimate luxury brand again.

    Ford is too conservative, and has been a very conservative automotive company ever since it’s inception. I believe this has a lot to do with their lame, and soft business decisions, even down to the styling of it’s cars over the years.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    The fact that the Town Cars of the 90’s and 00’s have been pressed into service as limo/taxis in no way negates the fact that they are in some real senses a luxury vehicle. Nor does the fact that they shared a (very good for the time) platform with Ford and Mercury detract from that.

    If luxury is the sense of having things that are not essential, but which enhance the experience in noticeable ways, then, as a driver of a Grand Marquis (97), I can say unequivocally that while it may not match all of the finest features of the best ever made versions of say M-B or BMW, it certainly has many features that are luxurious, and those features, plus more (air suspension, for example) are and were present in the Lincoln variant, platform sharing notwithstanding.

    And though Ford may have pinched pennies at times (de-contenting did as much to kill the Panther platform as anything, except for perhaps the benign neglect it received in its final years in the showroom), Ford has never become the crippled shell of its former self that both GM and Chrysler became.

    GM and Chrysler both survived primarily as bait/fuel/food for bankruptcy lawyers for years, carrion and incipient carrion for the courtroom process.

    While Ford may have struck out, for example with the Performance Auto Group concept, they still managed to retain their independence, and have consistently learned from mistakes, and reinvented themselves with new groundbreaking gambits.

    EcoBoost, aluminum truck bodies and flatplane crank muscle motors being just three such examples.

    Bball40dtw, who should know, has pointed out that Lincoln cannot or will not produce a RWD sedan before the advent of the D6 platform, which if I recall correctly, he had earlier indicated was due in MY2018.

    If I were in midcareer, with a full house of family, and looking for an aspirational vehicle, I would be looking forward to see what Lincoln will do in 2018.

    Call me a Ford fanboi if you wish, but Ford has given me many good reasons over the years to remain a fan, in spite of missteps. Better some missteps than some monumental failures. I’m not going to list all the much greater fubars of the other domestic marques, unless asked or pressed to, but they clearly have fallen down much more and much more deeply, than Ford ever has.

    My money is on Lincoln pulling off a phoenix-like return to luxury well before 2020. In fact, Lincoln Phoenix wouldn’t be a bad name for a RWD Lincoln with a large-V8 or V12 new-style high HP, broad torque motor. Give it decent mpg for a large car, and a zero to sixty time around seven, plus good suspension/handling, and Katy, bar the door.

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