2017 Lincoln Continental Will Offer Unique Seat Design for Unrivaled Comfort | Edmunds

2017 Lincoln Continental Will Offer Unique Seat Design for Unrivaled Comfort

LOS ANGELES — After unveiling the Lincoln Continental concept at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the vehicle's designers and engineers are now moving ahead with plans to put it into production. Much of the work is centered around migrating the concept's bold styling into a production model that is equally striking.

Just as important as Continental's styling, however, is comfort. We attended a discussion with Lincoln seating specialist Dan Ferretti, as well as non-automotive experts that included private aviation expert Lisa Senters-McDermott and wellness expert Jeannette von Johnsbach.

Von Johnsbach shared her insights on how physical stress like poor posture and a lack of proper support can trigger pain as well as emotional stress. Conversely, a seat that is comfortable can be a stress reliever and understandably lead to a more favorable driving experience.

The real centerpiece of the discussion was a demonstrator display of the 30-way adjustable seats that will likely debut in the 2017 Lincoln Continental production vehicle. Similar to a handful of premium luxury vehicle seats, the Continental features an articulating upper and lower seatback that allows occupants of any size and shape to find their optimal position.

Unique to the Continental concept's seat is the split thigh supports that can be individually adjusted for extension (but not height). This permits drivers to select their preferred level of support for each leg, since most drivers in a vehicle with an automatic transmission have their left leg in a variety of positions.

We were initially critical of the concept's aggressive lateral bolstering, but those elements actually aren't as rigid as they appear. There is a surprising amount of flex and deflection in those bolsters, as well as the thigh supports, allowing the driver to shift positions and operate the pedals unimpeded.

Thoughtful design was also carried over to the headrest, which was developed with the assistance of ponytailed female test subjects and what Ferretti described as a ponytail hat for the male designers. With a deep cove between the shoulder supports and headrest, there's no need for those occupants to compromise comfort by having to lean forward.

Being no stranger to ultimate luxury, Senters-McDermott equated the difference between the Continental's and conventional seats as significant as the disparity between coach and first class on a commercial jet. With this early concept giving us an idea of what to expect, we're inclined to agree. At the very least, Lincoln may be competitive against Nissan, Lexus and Volvo in regard to long-distance comfort.

Edmunds says: If the attention being paid to seat comfort is any indication, the Lincoln Continental may be more than just a styling exercise when it debuts as a 2017 model.

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