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Lincoln's Stunning Continental Concept Marries Luxury, High Tech

Over the past decade Lincoln has slowly become an afterthought when it comes to luxury car brands. But with the debut of its Continental Concept, the almost 100-year-old brand has raced back to the front of the pack.

The Continental Concept represents the last of Lincoln's four-new-cars-in-four-years plan, following the MXZ, MKC and MKX. But the Continental Concept is much more than a car to fill a segment in the market. The Continental is the flagship of Lincoln's stable, and every detail was carefully re-imagined to change how people think about a luxury car.

The Tech

According to Lincoln Director of Design David Woodhouse, the brand doesn't want to hide new technology but embrace it and integrate it seamlessly into the car. This includes a full digital instrument panel and a built-in touchpad (like you would find on a laptop) to control the entertainment system.


While all Lincolns can be paired with the MyLincoln mobile app, there's a bespoke app for the Continental that can be used to control almost everything in the car. A nearby Lincoln rep showed off the app's ability to simultaneously recline the back seat while pushing the front passenger seat forward, mimicking the kind of legroom you might get from a first-class plane seat.

The Outside

On the outside, the Continental is a swirl of smooth flowing lines bathed in rhapsody blue, a nod to the Lincolns of old and its long history with the Ford family. While the Continental Concept has drawn a few comparisons to Bentley's Flying Spur, upon closer examination that claim begins to break down.

The Continental's headlights have a more distinct look with its sharp rectangular housing featuring 10 LED lighting elements. The grille was redesgined from the ground up to create a new signature look for Lincoln. When asked about the process of creating a new identity for the Continental, Woodhouse said with this concept he hopes to "personify elegance and beauty that's forward thinking while still connecting back to the beautiful design language inspired from legends like Frank Lloyd Wright."

The Inside

The cabin is where tech and luxury meet, bathed in a dark blue sea of leather, Alcantara and sheep's wool. There's also a fair share of polished chrome, including a sweeping center console and a rear tray that slides out to reveal fold-out entertainment screen. Additional luxuries include a travel suitcase that detaches from behind the front seats, and a chilled champagne compartment between the rear seats.

Outlook

If the crowds for the Continental Concept were any indication, Lincoln has exactly what it needs to compete with the Mercedes and Bentleys of the world for supreme luxury auto making. Unfortunately, eager sultans or captains of industry will have to wait until sometime next year to get their hands on the final production model. 

Sam Rutherford is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide. Follow him @SamRutherford on Twitter, and Tom’s Guide on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.