Lincoln’s cruiser returns to the market in a big, luxurious way

An all-new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine produces up to 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque in the 2017 Continental. Photo by Metro Creative Graphics
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An all-new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine produces up to 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque in the 2017 Continental. Photo by Metro Creative Graphics

Reinventing the Continental

My tester this week is a throwback to the days when families would go for Sunday drives, family in tow, no electronic devices, and cruising the country side. Don’t get me wrong, this week’s tester is loaded with technology and is thoroughly modern. But it’s been 15 years since we’ve seen a Lincoln Continental and a lot has changed since then.

Thankfully, the 2017 Continental has changed too. The Continental name was synonymous with big, American luxury sedans. Now in 2017, Ford’s luxury brand reinvents the Continental which is still plenty luxurious and is still a full-size cruiser.

The luxury sedan market is competitive with European competitors and Japanese competitors flooding the market. Honestly, with a 15-year absence, Lincoln has their work cut out for them to re-engage in the market, but truly this 2017 Continental is the car to do it. It has the stout appearance and high-end luxury to go toe to toe with Mercedes and BMW as well as Lexus and Infiniti. But, the Continental is really a standalone. It doesn’t have a European flare or exhilarating driveability and doesn’t have the same vibe of a Lexus either. In the case of the Continental, it’s an island – its own private, luxurious island.

On looks, it’s stout and elegant. The grille is pristine with an understated elegance to it. Five vertical LED lights and a curved swoosh headlight offer distinction to the Continental. The back end is far less boxy than the previous incarnation as the C-pillar has a sharp angle.

The door handles are a designed to part of the car, rather than something ugly and utilitarian. It’s subtle features like this that make the Continental special.

There are three engine options for the Continental which is good for the consumer. Despite two twin-turbocharged options, the Continental won’t be the car for enthusiasts to choose. The German rivals would be more performance-based than the Continental, which focuses on comfort and ride quality. My tester was the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 (there’s also a 3.0-liter V6 turbo as well as a 3.7-liter V6). For those impressed with horsepower, the 3.7-liter is the best option as it boasts 400 horsepower. However, my tester had plenty of power at 335 horses. However, this engine was refined.

All-wheel drive is an option, but my tester only had front-wheel drive. All three engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Driving the Lincoln Continental is like gliding on a cloud. That sounds cheesy, but it’s so refined and comfortable and smooth that it’s just the ultimate in luxurious driving. There’s no raw power, no purring of an engine. Leave that for the Germans. Rather the Continental is ideal for cruising comfort.

That comfort is exemplified with a phenomenal interior. Where Lexus is more conservative and doesn’t go far enough and the Germans focus more on racing seats and over engineering, the Continental’s interior cloaks you in comfort with leather and real wood trim. The door panels have a modern-looking swirling pattern that covers the speakers. In this regard, this is not your grandfather’s Continental. In fact, the overall interior quality is as good as any car in the segment. Other nouveau features that impress include heated and massaging seats, ambient lighting that can be changed in a variety of colors and 30-way seating options.

The Continental is a large sedan and therefore interior space is cavernous including rear legroom and head room. Rear passengers will enjoy 41.3 inches of space and 37.7 inches of head room. The trunk has 16.7 cubic feet of space. All of this adds up to incredible amount of cargo and passenger room for long drives or daily commutes.

The technology is good for the Continental as Ford’s new Sync 3 is integrated, which is vastly improved and now integrates with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. All of this is powered through a responsive and intuitive 8-inch touchscreen.

There are four aptly named trims for the Continental: Premiere, Select, Reserve and Black Label. My tester was the Reserve trim which includes blind spot monitors, rear traffic alert, advanced navigation system and tri-zone climate control (where rear passengers can control their own heating and cooling. MSRP for the Continental Reserve is $53,915 while my tester with additional options like an advanced audio system, technology package and 30-way seat positioning (with massaging) had a final price tag of $61,270.

The 2.7-liter Continental with FWD has an EPA rating of 18 mpg/city and 27 mpg/highway. The AWD version one mpg less. This version is the most fuel-efficient iteration of the Continental as all other engines/options have slightly less fuel economy.

It’s great to see Lincoln reinvent a vehicle like the Continental. The Continental represents how luxury cars used to be, and now it’s back to show the younger, hipper luxury sedans how it’s done.


2017 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL RESERVE

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $53,916/$61,270
  • Mileage…………………………………… 18 mpg/city; 27 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 2.7-liter twin turbo V6
  • Horsepower…………………………… 335 hp/380 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 6-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. Front-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Flat Rock, Michigan