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Lincoln Motors unveiled the 2017 Continental at the Detroit Auto Show’s press preview Wednesday, reviving a brand with a lengthy legacy in Hollywood, from Goldfinger to the opening credits of Entourage.
Introduced as a concept car at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the production Continental keeps most of the distinguished styling cues from the concept, which was so well received that designers from Bentley sniped that Lincoln had poached from the Bentley’s storied Flying Spur.
Lincoln hopes to differentiate the new Continental in a luxury field rife with state-of-the-art models from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW by emphasizing “quiet comfort” with special acoustic glass and soundproofing to attenuate road noise, and seats that adjust 30 ways. Rear-seat occupants get deeply reclining seats with massage — a nod to the car’s crucial market in China, where business executives expect to be driven in chauffeured luxury sedans.
Lincoln CEO Kumar Galhotra said the economic upheaval in China would not harm the car’s prospects. “We’re there for the long term,” Galhotra told The Hollywood Reporter.
Rather than build a near-limousine length derivative for the Chinese market as have BMW and other German luxury brands, Lincoln opted to outfit a large cabin onto a smaller wheelbase. “We’ve provided a [BMW] 7-Series sized occupant environment on a 5-Series footprint,” said David Woodhouse, the Continental’s designer.
Galhotra said the Continental is aimed at customers referred to internally at the company as “creative elites. These are people who are not too worried about showing off. They’re tuned into their style, their image, their needs.”
With Lincoln sales up 7 percent last year and its Hollywood footprint expanding — Lincoln cars are featured on Empire, and television spots with Matthew McConaughey went viral, with parodies from Jim Carrey to Ellen Degeneres — Galhotra didn’t rule out a reprise with McConaughey pitching the Continental.
As for who among Hollywood’s “creative elites” would drive the car, Galhotra half-joked, “Probably Matthew.”
The 2017 Continental will go on sale this fall starting at about $50,000.
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