When I offered Ford some unsolicited admonition apropos its admiration with ephemeral-tech, I ample that I’d get some active acknowledgment on the matter. What I did not apprehend was to get an affronted bulletin from a Ford cabal apropos the Lincoln Continental. According to this insider, the kinda-big Lincoln auto was appointed to accompany the Aviator SUV on the new RWD-biased belvedere that additionally underpins the accessible Ford Explorer–but it’s been canceled by a administration that, according to my correspondent, “is block allowance at all costs.” Goodbye, Continental.
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This actuality Road & Track rather than Retirement & Tennis, I’d brainstorm that actual few of you will afford a breach about this–and that is a absolute shame, because the accepted Continental is actually one change abroad from actuality a high-water mark in American luxury.
“Well, duh,” you ability be thinking. “It needs to be on a longitudinal-engine RWD platform, aloof like two of the three big German sedans, additional the LS500 and the Genesis G90.” Wrong answer. Sure, aback in 1984 it was accessible to betrayal the shortcomings of front-drive affluence sedans; aloof drive over a cavern and accept for a locomotive-force blast of an active subframe, accompanied by a big agitate of the dashboard. That’s no best the case, as anyone who has anytime apprenticed the old Bentley Flying Spur can attest. That car was about a front-driver, although the agent was army north-south. Added recently, the Volvo S90 makes a actual able case for axle luxury.
No, this isn’t a powertrain issue. In fact, you don’t charge to be an engineer, or alike an enthusiast, to see the Continental’s big problem. It’s calmly bidding in a distinct number: 201.4. That’s the car’s length, bidding in acceptable old American inches, and, as Marshal Lucky from the blur Used Cars would say, that’s too… freakin’… short. The blow of the ambit are analogously parsimonious. As a result, the not-so-big Lincoln lacks artery presence. Since that’s the alone acumen anybody buys a full-boat affluence car, it’s no admiration that sales accept been a bit, ahem, modest.
Cadillac’s CT6 ability accept a abandoned twin-turbo V8 on the way, but it, too, is miniaturized for no acceptable reason. Anchored abutting to an S-Class, it looks actually Cimarron-esque. The CT6 is three inches beneath than the old DTS, which itself was added than a bottom beneath than the 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood. My added admirable readers may bethink the 204-inch breadth of the accepted CT6 as actuality about identical to that of the “international-sized” first-generation Seville. Suddenly… it’s 1976!
This adamant affirmation on the allotment of both Lincoln and Cadillac on mid-sizing their full-sizers would accomplish a lot added faculty if appealing abundant every added authority agent on the bazaar was not in the action of acceptable bigger and/or added imposing-looking. The accepted S-Class is a leviathan, as are its absolute competitors. Rolls-Royce is currently fielding the massive Phantom and about as massive Ghost, both of which attending like they could fit a Silver Adumbration in their aback seats.
You don’t alike charge to leave the dealership to see aloof how baby both the Conti and the CT6 are, because both of them are awash cheek-by-jowl with three-ton extended-length SUVs. The Navigator L covers added city than a 1980 Town Car; abutting to it, the Continental ability as able-bodied be a retirement-village golf cart. The CT6 is of advance askew by the Escalade but it additionally has to sit abutting to the front-drive XTS, which calmly outsells it because, one suspects, it looks bigger.
There’s article acutely acrid about the actuality that Lincoln and Cadillac are actually afraid to advertise the one blazon of artefact that meshes with their alleged “brand DNA.” It would be like BMW eliminating the 3-Series from the lineup, or Honda abandoning the Civic. The boilerplate luxury-car client is article like 52 years old. That being remembers “Cadillac” and “Lincoln” as purveyors of Iowa-class sedans, but a quick cruise to the exhibit will about-face up annihilation of the sort.
A 225-inch Continental, ample like a avant-garde S-Class, would beating the luxury-car bazaar on its tailfeathers. The aforementioned would be accurate for a full-sized deVille. Unfortunately, cipher in Detroit has the adventuresomeness to body a car like that. They’d rather abort with bisected measures than accomplish with a able effort. The affliction allotment of it is that neither the accepted Continental nor the CT6 were bargain to develop. Both of them are brimming of bespoke and big-ticket technology. And both of them are actually ablaze to drive. They’re aloof too baby to accomplish an impression, period, point blank.
I’ll absence the little-limousine Lincoln aback it’s gone. Aback the CT6 follows it into oblivion, the era of the alike accidentally acceptable American affluence auto will be over for good. At that point, alone Tesla will be larboard to backpack the flag–and while the Model S is an assuredly absorbing device, the adumbration it casts is added Chrysler 300 than Fleetwood Brougham.
There’s one comedy larboard to make, if anybody at GM or Ford is afraid to actually abandonment the affluence battlefield to Germany and Japan. Take the Navigator or next-gen Escalade. Drop it to the ground, lower the seats, add a continued and steeply-raked C-pillar. Style the accomplished affair afterwards the mid-Seventies Fleetwood or Continental. Stretch it 235 inches bonanza to bumper. Accomplish abiding you can’t see a Maybach 560 anchored on the added ancillary of it. Give it 550 horsepower. Base amount of $100,000 minimum.
Such a agent would accept no agitation analogous the bashful calm sales numbers of today’s mini-luxoboats, but it would absolutely flash on the consign side. All of that Gulf State business that goes to Bentley and Benz now? It already belonged to Cadillac and Lincoln. It could appear back. The Chinese would dig the abstraction as well. I bet you’d alike advertise a few in Germany; the aftermost time I was there, I noticed that F-150s and Silverados seemed a lot added accepted than the “international-sized” Cadillacs.
I’ll abutting with a adduce from an old John Updike book: “If you accept the audacity to be yourself, added people’ll pay your price.” Acceptable as the Continental and CT6 are, they’re missing that courage, the alertness to be aboveboard super-sized in a apple area alike Honda sells adipose trucks. If there’s annihilation that the Big Two could apprentice from their final forays into affluence sedans, it’s apparently this: Go big or go home. And you apperceive which one they’re activity to pick, right?
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