The traditional American luxury car is big, boxy, supremely comfortable and awesomely powerful. But when the last Cadillac Fleetwood is built this year, only the Lincoln Town Car will be left to champion the old standards. The future belongs to a new breed of prestige models like the Lincoln Continental and its archrival, the Cadillac Seville. These are cars that recognize how the extraordinary popularity of European and Japanese sport and touring sedans has redefined what many affluent younger Americans want in a pricey car. They're trying to take what many Americans liked best about our traditional luxury cars--the power, the size and the gadgets--and marry that with what we like most about the new breed of foreign luxury cars--the performance, the handling and the style. The new Lincoln Continental, which was completely redesigned for the '95 model year, is an intriguing step in that direction. There's a lot of traditional American luxury car here. It's more powerful. The first V8 Ford has ever offered in a front wheel drive boosted the Continental's horsepower 62 percent. It's bigger. The Continental is longer, wider, taller and heavier--a hefty 3911 pounds, just 120 pounds lighter than the Town Car. It's gadget heaven. An unsurpassed array of wizbang electronics allows you to customize 13 aspects of the car to your personal tastes. But the new Continental also offers better performance and handling--not great performance and handling, but definitely better--cutting-edge technology and sophisticated styling. Is this progress or what?