The Lincoln Continental was meant to be a rejuvenation of the brand. A return to style, and a return to proper substance. I’ll withhold proper judgment until we drive it, but Lincoln has just telegraphed its first disappointment. Unlike its rivals, the new Continental will be all-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive. Only.

Alright, so some say it just looks like a Bentley copy, and others that may or may not be actually me saying it looks like a car made for Elvis. But neither of those are the worst things in the world! And actually, they’re a lot better than whatever the hell this hearse/bird mashup is.

But it doesn’t matter. Because this was the Lincoln that was going to give us hope. The doldrums of ugly Ford-rebadges was heralded to be over. And instead, we’re now getting this news from an interview that company brand manager Imran Jalal gave Car and Driver:

But the most important new model for the brand could be the Continental four-door sedan, which will bow at the Detroit auto show next January. It will be based on a front-wheel-drive platform; Jalal confirmed an all-wheel-drive version. A hybrid is not in the cards any time soon.

Of the three pieces of information there, the latter two are just so blegh. Everything from the Cadillac CT6 to the joys Mercedes has been putting out lately have all been rear-wheel drive. And no, it’s not like you’re going to be drifting a Conti anytime soon, but that sort of thing influences the styling, the packaging, and the overall feel of the car. Front-wheel-drive cars tend to be associated with economy cars, not luxury.

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And furthermore, a lack of a hybrid option is looking backwards, not forwards.

Lincoln is supposed to be American luxury, brought onto the global stage. Cadillac’s been coming around to that idea over the past few years. Lincoln, not so much.

Maybe next time, America.


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.
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