Ford’s Lincoln luxury arm has battled along behind American rival Cadillac since falling behind the GM marque in 2000, but that may be about to change.
Reports late last year revealed that Ford’s new boss, Mark Fields, had committed the company to a huge revolution for the Lincoln band, promising a dedicated new platform and a major leap in quality and styling.
Little surprise then that the company has revived the Continental badge, last seen in 2002 on the back of a model that launched in 1995.
The new Continental concept, revealed today for the New York Auto Show, is our first genuine hint at that future.
And, while later generations robbed the Continental of its unique styling and premium status, this new concept - a confirmed preview of a coming production model - reveals that Ford is once again preparing to honour the badge.
Speaking at the concept’s unveiling in New York, Ford boss Mark Fields described the Continental as a signal “of what we call quiet luxury”.
“The Concept is a very strong hint, I'll underline ‘very strong hint’, as to what you'll see in the production vehicle."
And, as with its rivals in the premium market, Ford has set its eyes on China as the reborn Continental’s primary market, where the Lincoln brand has been trading for less than a year.
Doing away with the still quite new winged grille of the current Lincoln range, the new Continental concept is fronted by a wide-open, deep and chrome-heavy new mouth.
Long slender headlights flank the grille, filled with LED lamps that each bear the Lincoln cross.
Powerfully muscled guards and a single smooth character line sit beneath a long and low roofline, all coming together to form a suggestively Bentley-like shape.
That feel continues at the rear, where a long deck tapers off to the broad wheel arches and long glowing tail lamps.
The company has yet to reveal full technical details for the new concept, although it has confirmed that power in the concept is provided by an “all-new” 3.0 litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine.
Watch for the Continental to firm into a production car over the next year.