Last spring’s Lincoln Continental concept was one of the most surprisingly impressive debuts out of the New York Auto Show, and with Detroit right around the corner, Ford’s gearing up to give us a glimpse of the production version. Not surprisingly, someone beat them to it, leaving us with this bigfoot-esque three-quarters shot. Despite the blurriness, it’s easy to see Ford has worked hard to keep as much of the show car’s DNA in the showroom.
The image comes courtesy of Ford Inside News and, shown side-by-side against the concept, the production-suitable changes are just about what you’d expect: no chrome lip and skirt, rationally-sized rims, side mirrors that are actually mirrors, and a lack of Lincoln-logo LEDs inside the headlight cluster. Outside of that, the proportions have been kept largely in check. Great.
Personally speaking though, I must admit I’m slightly disappointed with the final result. It’s much more angular and muscular than the original design, to the point where it looks like the greatest of Bentley intentions have been fused with, well, a Ford Fusion. With that rigid front lip, sharp line from the edges of the grille leading back towards the A-pillars and those reshaped headlights, the flagship that was supposed to revive Lincoln with a proper brand identity (again) has ended up resembling a super-sized Ford sedan (again).
Of course, if you’re going to ape a midsize four-door, you could do much worse than the Fusion. But it didn’t have to be this way. The Continental concept was striking and bold because of its minimalism and restraint, not in spite of it. A tasteful, elegant soft form with nary a hard crease in sight — that’s the car I fell in love with last April. Until Ford releases official images at post-1995 resolution we won’t know for sure if it’s gone, but I sincerely hope it isn’t.
—By: Adam Ismail