Talk about a launch flying under the radar. Wow, were we surprised and excited this week to hear the 2017 Lincoln Continental is now arriving at dealers.
The news came via Lincoln Motor Company President Kumar Galhoftra at a media event at AT&T Stadium near Dallas. The automaker was in town to officially kick off its status as the official luxury vehicle of the Dallas Cowboys.
Lucky for us, Lincoln brought another all-new 2017 Continental along for us to check out. It was a different color combo than last one we previewed. We could really see the striking wood inlays and rich, detailed leather throughout the lighter interior.
It’s clear Lincoln spared nothing when it came to designing the revived nameplate, which is making a comeback after ending its last production run in 2002.
Designing the all-new model wasn’t easy. I mean the Continental is the greatest Lincoln nameplate of all time.
“We always knew the Continental name was going to be great, right,” Galhotra told me. “But it just shows the power of the name. The emotional connection of the American public to that name, especially luxury car buyers.”
The early days were a bit rough around the edges. While he wasn’t around initially, Galhotra says Lincoln management wasn’t “wowed” by the first sketches of the new model. But things changed when they let the cat out of the bag.
“We usually don’t name the cars that far ahead. So one day they turned to the team and said you guys do realize you are designing the next Continental,” Galhotra said. “The team’s attitude, the team’s working dynamic totally changed. Within the next couple of weeks the next set of designs that came back were just amazing. So it just shows how emotional a name can be and the responsibility that comes with it.”
The goal was clear. The team needed to build on the Continental’s history, reinterpreted for modern times. (Among other things, think twin-panel panoramic sunroof, new chrome Lincoln-logo mesh grille, and available tech’d out LED headlamps that activate based on vehicle speed and steering wheel position.)
“You can’t wallow in history, you need to look forward, it needs to be a modern car. It needs to deliver the spirit of Continental, the car of Presidents, the car of movie stars, the car that a lot of people aspired to own at that time,” Galhotra said. “So I think the team’s done that very, very well. They’ve delivered the spirit of Continental, but in a totally modern car and we are really excited about it.”
There are three V6 engine options under the hood. The top-of-the-line 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 delivers 400 horses and a matching 400 pound-feet of torque.
So why no V8? Well, Galhotra says it’s not what people want. He says Lincoln research shows its customers aren’t thinking in terms of raw power. They want effortless, smooth, and confident power.
“They don’t care as much about displacement, or cylinders anymore, not even horsepower. They are thinking does the car provide the power I need when I need it,” Galhotra said.
The 2017 Continental is pulling into dealers now starting from $44,560, not including taxes, title and destination.