Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The current-generation Lincoln Continental carries one of the most storied names in luxury cars. But today’s Continental doesn’t really live up to that great legacy.

For one thing, it has the wrong doors.

Past versions of the Continental were known for their center-opening “coach doors” — better known as “suicide doors” among enthusiasts. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Continental name, Lincoln brought back this distinctive feature in a limited-edition model named Coach Door Edition that it introduced in December of 2018. It took a little over a month for buyers to scoop up the entire initial production run of 80 cars.

“Response from customers has been extremely positive, with interest exceeding the planned production for the limited-edition run,” the company wrote in a statement.

The Continental (not to be confused with the Bentley or the breakfast of the same name) was launched in 1939 as a standalone model within the Ford Motor Company, not associated with any existing brands. The model eventually became part of Lincoln’s lineup, and got its suicide doors in 1961, in what is arguably Lincoln’s most iconic design. But the Continental was gradually watered down, before being discontinued altogether in 2002. Lincoln revived the name for the 2017 model year.

“The center-opening doors became synonymous with the Lincoln Continental, even though they were only featured primarily in the 1960s,” Lincoln design director David Woodhouse said in a statement. “But they struck such a chord that they’re still remembered so fondly today.”

“When you open the doors, it’s like a welcoming gesture,” Kemal Curic, Lincoln chief designer, told Digital Trends at the car’s unveiling. While the Continental name had been used for some time before then, Curic said it was natural that Lincoln gravitated toward the 1961 model for inspiration, as it came from what he called the “most glamorous time” in American history.

While Rolls-Royce still uses them, suicide doors have otherwise fallen out of fashion. They acquired the “suicide” nickname because the force of air rushing past could blow the doors on older cars open. That’s not really an issue with modern cars, but it’s not exactly something the marketing team wants to deal with. On a four-door sedan like the Continental, the arrangement can also be impractical, since the only opening is in the center of the car.

But it’s hard to beat the look of a car with suicide doors. If Lincoln didn’t do it, it’s likely some aftermarket company would have. Lincoln also noted that the 90-degree arc of the rear doors also makes it easier to get in and out of the rear seats. Backseat passengers in the 80th anniversary Continental also get extra legroom, as Lincoln had to extend the wheelbase by 6.0 inches to accommodate the trick doors. The actual stretching of the car is done by an outside company, but Lincoln fabricates all of the parts in-house, Tim Sterling, chief program engineer for the Continental, told Digital Trends.

“It was an undertaking,” Sterling said. He noted that the suicide-door Continental meets all applicable crash-safety standards, and that Lincoln used some 3D-printed parts on the car. That makes sense, given this Continental’s small-batch nature.

Other than those doors, the extended wheelbase, and some upgrades to the interior (including an expanded center console with wireless phone-charging pad for rear-seat passengers), this limited edition is basically the same as an ordinary Continental. It uses the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine as the top-spec model, which produces 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The V6 spins the four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition debuts as a 2019 model. Lincoln has finished taking orders for the initial batch of 80 cars; each one sold for an undisclosed price rumored to hover around $110,000, a figure that makes it the company’s most expensive car. Those sedans were likely purchased by car enthusiasts, or just people who like being chauffeured around, Trevor Scott, marketing manager for Lincoln sedans and crossovers, said. Maybe Lincoln will add suicide doors to the Navigator next.

Buyers who missed their chance to buy a Continental Coach Door Edition aren’t entirely out of luck. Faced with unexpectedly high demand, Lincoln announced plans to bring the model back for a second model year, and it promised that it “will have more to share very soon” in an email sent to Digital Trends.

Updated on January 19, 2019: Added information about a second run of Coach Door Edition cars.

Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Cars

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.
Cars

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Cars

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.