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The Lincoln Continental is a powerful but understated executive car with unique proportions that optimize space for the elegant, sophisticated and supremely comfortable interior. The design embraces features from LincolnÃŒs past, such as centre opening doors, but the execution is thoroughly modern.
Continental embodies the qualities that define the design direction Lincoln has chosen: elegance, simplicity, precision and an overall restraint, says Design Director Gerry McGovern.. Someday, a flagship like Continental could join LincolnÌs showroom, he adds. But the emphasis on package efficiency, the approach to surface development and detailing, and certain Continental design cues absolutely will see production.
Two important goals of the Lincoln design team were to maximize interior space and optimize ingress and egress. This led to the creation of a unique proportion, in which the ContinentalÌs cabin is centered within the wheelbase.
The Lincoln Continental is lithe and alive, but simplicity and elegance define the design, McGovern says.
The ContinentalÌs bodywork is finished in a color called Silver Sea Spray. Its surfaces are clean and uninterrupted, and a strong horizontal emphasis defines the front of the car. A signature Lincoln grille milled from aluminum incorporates four round headlamps that use an innovative remote light generator technology developed by Ford Motor Company in partnership with Philips Lighting.
In this system, light generated by a single source is transferred to each lamp by fiber optic cable. The technology requires less power than conventional halogen bulbs but produces two and a half times more light. Glare is reduced substantially because light dispersion is well controlled and the beam can be aimed precisely.
The headliner and the Eames lounge chair-inspired seats are covered in full-grain aniline leather dyed a creamy hue called Rhode Island Sand. A translucent silk panel shades the overhead fiber optic light strip. The instrument panel and doors are trimmed in a combination of Rhode Island Sand and Midnight Blue leather. The dark leather helps mask the transition to the window glass.
Research and development of the Lincoln Continental concept began in early 2000, shortly after dedicated Lincoln design, engineering and manufacturing organizations were established. The Lincoln design team began by exploring LincolnÌs heritage.
Between the 1940s and the 1960s, Lincoln Continentals were about beautiful proportions, elegance, sophistication and restraint. These all are qualities that are relevant today, McGovern says. As Le Corbusier said, Îsome pasts are the liveliest instigators of the present and the best springboards into the future. ThatÌs an apt description of the role LincolnÌs heritage played in the development of LincolnÌs new design philosophy.
The exploration continued with the Lincoln MK 9 coupe, which was unveiled at the 2001 New York Auto Show. The MK 9 was developed concurrently with the Continental to demonstrate that the new design philosophy could be applied to different types of vehicles.
The MK 9 is overtly sporty and the Continental is formal but both are bound together by Lincoln design cues, a common approach to surface development and an absolute obsession with precision, McGovern says. These two concepts, as well as the work we have done in-studio with sport utilities and other types of vehicles, have convinced us that our design philosophy is stretchable, and that we have completed our roadmap for the future.