At FoMoCo more so than at General Motors, the unveiling of a model resting on a new platform usually quickly means the release of a corporate cousin which, although different in every other way, will also make the most of the newly available engineering possibilities. And it is from that angle that Ford indirectly answered some of the questions we had about the recently revealed Lincoln Continental Concept.
When the big Lincoln was shown off in New York last month, FoMoCo remained quiet about technical specifications other than the use of a twin-turbo 3.0 EcoBoost V6 exclusive to the brand. Particularly, no details were shared about the platform on which the new Contie was riding: although significantly longer, wider and roomier than that of the compact MKZ, it was difficult to say if it was just an extended/reworked iteration of the midsize CD4 platform, an offshoot of the rather old full-size D3 platform, or even the first use of the upcoming D6 modular platform. Whatever the answer, we already know that all three possibilites are FWD-based but offer significant adaptability to AWD.
And then came the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, which introduced the Chinese public to the new Continental but also set the stage for the release of the 2016 (most likely 2017 in North America) Ford Taurus.
Judging from overall proportions only, it is likely that the 2017 Continental sold in North America -and China- will use the same platform, which appears to be based on the CD4 architecture. The move is probably more cost-effective for FoMoCo (especially since the demise of its Australia-only RWD platform and the Mustang’s downsizing) but rumours suggest that the Lincoln will only be available with AWD to make the most of its exclusive engine and possibly offer some RWD-bias. Other reports suggest the all-new and exclusive D6 platform will only be ready for 2019, in time for the replacement of the MKZ.
Although heavily influenced by the current Fusion and Taurus, the new car does reveal an interesting new C-pillar and roofline which could easily share common hard points with the Continental Concept, although the Lincoln showed off what seemed to be much longer rear doors which incorporated the rear-quarter window.
This new Taurus rides as it is on a 116-inch wheelbase, which is interesting information on its own. Indeed, the current Taurus sold in North America offers a 112.9-inch wheelbase, same as the current MKS. The Continental Concept did not come with any specifications or dimensions, but its interior accommodations clearly put the emphasis on rear-passenger comfort and space: will the North American Taurus also come with the extended wheelbase or will it leave the exclusivity to the Continental? But given that the Continental is also tailored to Chinese tastes, could it offer an even longer wheelbase to trump the Taurus on the luxury market? Difficult to say at this point.
Pictures of the dashboard were not available, but this one picture of the rear compartment is also very interesting, in light of the Continental’s own interior design. Doesn’t the design of the armrest’s integrated control panel look familiar? It reminds me of the Continental’s center console, with its bright metal trim and gloss black applique.
All in all, the new Taurus could provide us with some hints as to which platform will underpin the Continental and how they relate to the few technical details released by Lincoln. Judging from the Concept’s own merits, it seems that Ford is still committed to share engineering choices for the sake of costs and reliability, while truly differentiating the two cars through styling and available features. There is no doubt that even if they share the same chassis, the Taurus and Continental will be much further apart than the previous Taurus and outgoing MKS were.
- Ford unveils new Taurus influenced by China, at Yahoo.com
- Feature: Lincoln’s prospective D6 platform, at TheMarkOnline