By Steve & Tamami Laser
Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Calif., is one of our favorite outdoor malls in Orange County. It’s a shopper’s paradise with upscale stores, boutiques, and fine dining. We often bring our dogs, enjoy a latte, and spend an afternoon window shopping. And now, Fashion Island is the home of the nation’s first “Lincoln Experience Center” that opened last month.
It’s not a car dealer in the traditional sense – it’s a store in the mall where the automaker says “clients and guests can engage with Lincoln products and connect with relevant luxury information, activities and experiences.”
We were sitting outside the Tesla store at Fashion Island last week with our dogs when we decided to visit the new Lincoln Center (no relation to the one in New York City – home of the Metropolitan Opera) just a few steps down the walkway (next to Starbucks).
Check out our video (above) of the all-new 2017 Continental on display at the Lincoln Experience Center. It’s set to go on sale nationwide this fall.
We were surprised to see the 2017 Continental here with folks taking turns sitting inside. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, we identified ourselves as media and asked for permission to take photos and videos of the new car and store interior. A very polite host granted our wish.
The first thing we noticed was the elegant styling of the flagship sedan. Lincoln’s new signature grille is flanked by adaptive LED headlights that swivel with steering input. At the side are new E-Latch door handles at beltline height. LED taillights are integrated into the Continental’s decklid.
Underhood was the top-flight 3.0-liter GTDI twin-turbo V6 engine that puts out an estimated 400 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. This car was fitted with a 6-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission and available all-wheel-drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring.
The small diameter (for a Continental) steering wheel, instrument cluster and center display looked great. The Continental model mix for 2017 includes Premium, Select, and Reserve trim levels plus several option packages.
We noticed the paddle shifters on the steering wheel and lack of a conventional floor-mounted shift lever. Buttons for “PRNDS” are positioned next to the center display screen. The Continental’s SYNC3® system includes Apple CarPlay™ support, Android Auto™, and AppLink™.
We’ll have to wait for an opportunity to drive the new Continental to report on its performance, ride and handling.
While we spent most of our time exploring the Continental, we took a look at some of the features and services that the Experience Center offers. This photo (above) shows the in-store café that serves complimentary beverages including tea, coffee and espresso.
Our second video (above) offers a quick look at the Connectivity Lounge, Story Wall, and Custom Fit Studio inside the Lincoln Experience Center.
In addition to exploring the brand, the store offers the chance for visitors to “customize their perfect vehicle” and also provides test drives. It’s not a dealership in the classic sense, yet if a customer wants to purchase a vehicle, the staff can connect them with a dealer closest to their home of office.
Lincoln is introducing The Lincoln Way™ as a suite of services for customers, including concierge, service pickup and delivery, and a Lincoln app planned for launch later this year.
We hope to return to the Lincoln Experience Center to check out “Center Stage” events held here. If you’re visiting the Orange County area, stop by Fashion Island and experience the new look of Lincoln.
For more information visit the Lincoln Motor Company website.
Vehicle features, specifications, and services are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
CarNichiWa.com thanks the Lincoln Experience Center for granting us access to the new Continental and its Newport Beach facility so we could bring you this story.
Story, photos and videos © 2016 CarNichiWa.com