Big copycat? It's Lincoln's Continental

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This is the Lincoln Continental Concept, a glitzy design study previewing Posh Ford's upcoming range-topping saloon. It's big, and it's generated some appropriately XXL controversy at its unveil at the New York show.

We'll come to that in a second, but first the basics. Speaking to in NY, Lincoln's Scott Tobin told TG this car "is a strong indication of where we're going next year when we bring out the new Lincoln Continental."

‘Strong indication', eh? He's not being obtuse, but diplomatic. What you see is, watering down the concept lines, pretty much what you'll get. And what you'll get is a Continental that references its illustrious past, with promises of top-quality luxury.

"This one is all about elegance, the effortless power and serenity of it," Tobin says. "It's all about what it does for the customer - not just numbers - but the experience. People don't care about nine menus, they care whether their car recognises them, how easy it is to get in and out, if the screens ‘awaken' as they turn it on..."

Tech details are, naturally, scant at this early stage. But, we can confirm that it'll sport a new 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 engine, with an unspecified power output. "We don't have power figures yet, but it's not about raw power - that happens at 6,000rpm. I want you to feel the power when it's 1500rpm or 2000rpm," Tobin adds.

Lengthwise, we're told it weighs in at over five metres in length, with more rear space than a BMW 7-Series; a rear package that will appeal to its dual-markets of the US and China.

It won't, however, be a hoon-machine. "I'm not trying to out-German the Germans," Tobin laughs. "I'm not going to the Nurburgring and I'm not trying to go faster than anybody else. But it's also not about being floaty or lazy or slow. It's about being controlled, quiet and comfortable. Responsive. And exhilarating."

Aside from that, the Continental boasts the usual plethora of concept/luxury detailing: masses of leather, hugely configurable massage seats, noise cancellation technology, lots of buttons and thick, rich carpet.

That controversy we mentioned? Well, it appears the Continental has rather incurrred the wrath of Bentley's chief designer, Luc Donckerwolke. The Belgian, it seems, saw rather too many similarities in the Lincoln's design to his own Flying Spur, and unleashed a tirade of abuse on, um, Facebook.

"Do you want us to send you the product tooling?" Donkerwolke raged, posting a (swiftly deleted) comment to Lincoln's designer David Woodhouse. Donckerwolke, who's also penned the Lamborghini Murcielago and Audi A2 in his time, continued: "I would have called it Flying Spur concept and kept the four round lights..."

That's pretty heavy-hitting stuff in the usual genteel world of car design, but Tobin brushes off the controversy.

"Let me put it to you this way," he says. "We think this product is reminiscent of the Lincolns of the past, and has a modernity that looks forward. And we think it represents Lincoln and where we're going.

"And that's all we think about..."

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