The Continental is the most upscale-looking Lincoln in recent memory.

Lincoln has unveiled the new 2017 Continental at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

As expected, the Continental has changed little in its transition from a concept to a production car. Its front end retains the arch-shaped grille with mesh inserts, but it gets more realistic-looking headlights and a new lower bumper with less chrome trim. Door handles cleverly integrated into the belt line create a clean profile, while the rear end is fitted with an elegant strip of chrome trim that connects the thin LED tail lamps. All told, the Continental is the most upscale-looking Lincoln in recent memory.

The cabin reflects the efforts that Lincoln is making to re-position itself as a credible alternative to Cadillac and German luxury brands. It offers 30-way power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery on the seats, the steering wheel, and the dashboard, as well as either real wood or aluminum trim. Notably, the company explains stitching on the seats is limited to no more than six or seven stitches per inch to create a couture-like look.

The Continental will be offered with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine developed specifically for the Lincoln brand. Also found under the hood of the 2017 MKZ, the six-cylinder sends 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque to all four wheels via an automatic transmission in its most powerful configuration. Other engines will be offered, but full technical details haven't been announced yet.

Lincoln's Drive Control technology lets the driver choose from three driving modes called comfort, normal, and sport, respectively. All-wheel drive models come with torque vectoring, and an adaptive steering system is offered at an extra cost. The list of available driving aids includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, and a 360-degree camera.

The 2017 Lincoln Continental will go on sale in the United States and in China this fall.

Live images by Brian Williams.