Well I’m feeling fortunate this week. Not only do I have another new 2017 Lincoln Continental at my disposal, but this version is even nicer than the 3.0 GTDI AWD Reserve I drove back in April.
Don’t get me wrong, as that previous Burgundy Velvet painted example was stunning, especially inside where its Cappuccino leather-lined interior was downright opulent. This time around the exterior colour is Midnight Sapphire Blue and the cabin is once again finished in the new Cappuccino theme, which is only a shame because I’d have liked to try its saddle brown Terracotta leather, or maybe Jade Grey.
More traditional luxury buyers can opt for Ebony black, but this ain’t no Town Car so why be normal? In fact, the new Continental is unlike anything Lincoln has ever produced before. Truly, I haven’t liked a Lincoln four-door as much since the opening scene of Thunderball, the Lehmann-Peterson crafted ‘64 Continental Executive Limousine being Albert R. Broccoli’s chosen ride of Colonel Jacques Bouvar’s bereaved widow (and Jacques/Spectre Number 6 himself, we’ll later learn), a car I could get used to having in my personal collection. The four-door ‘65 Continental Convertible that James pulled up to Emilio Largo’s Nassau waterfront estate in halfway through the film was even prettier, although I like the original front end design of the version used to drop 007 off to Fort Knox in Goldfinger better.
That’s how cool Lincoln used to be, and while I highly doubt we’ll see a four-door convertible version of this new Continental anytime soon (although it would be sweet), I could certainly see the likes of modern-day Don Drapers pulling up to their wannabe Manhattan offices in one of the two new Continentals I recently drove. While behind the wheel I find myself contemplating the purchase of a classic Brooks Brothers ‘60s-era styled suit of my own, and of course something along the lines of an Omega Seamaster Deville or Tudor Oyster Prince for the wrist.
While sporting a vintage watch and classic styled suit won’t likely leave you stranded on the road or cause any bodily harm if you get in an accident (unless the watch makes you late), living with a classic car might. They’re just not good daily drivers, lacking the reliability, safety, comfort, performance, and technology of today’s machinery, but the new Continental combines all of the above in a respectful homage of the early-to-late ‘60s model that previously bore its name.
Maybe homage isn’t the right word, as the new Continental’s chromed mesh grille, available bejeweled LED headlamps, single-piece LED taillight cluster, and many other finely crafted details are nothing like that early car, but its big blocky upright three-box luxury sedan lines and its commanding overall presence conjures the spirit of classic Lincolns better than anything in the brand’s recent past. In other words, I like it. I like it a lot.
Details worthy of closer attention include the artfully shaped metal side mirror posts that provide a perfectly flat base for the housings’ power-folding pirouette when approaching the car, the unique exposed hinge-like chrome fender/door trim just beneath, and the gorgeous chromed door handles that perfectly align with the side window beltline trim until protruding outward to meet your hand. It’s features like these that make this new Continental the Jaeger LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface of cars.
OK, I’m having a little fun with this one, but that’s only because the new Continental makes me feel different than most others in this class. Maybe I’m a bit bored of the usual Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, etcetera, and want to spend time at the wheel of something with a little more majesty. If you feel the same, you should consider the Continental, as it pours on old world charm in a similar way as a Bentley or Rolls-Royce, albeit with better electronics and a much more approachable price tag.
The Continental Reserve interior is fabulous, with equal parts elegance and technology. Most surfaces that aren’t genuine open-pore hardwood, chromed metal, or digital interfaces are soft to the touch, whether made from composites or supple leathers. Front and rear seat adjustability borders on the ridiculous, and they’re four of the most comfortable chairs in the industry. Those in the first row of my tester are Lincoln’s $750 optional 30-way powered multi-contour type—seriously. Lincoln registered no less than 50 patents for these, whereas the two outboard passengers in back are treated to the $5,000 Rear-Seat Package (RSP) that includes 40/20/40-split folding/reclining via powered actuation, four-way powered lumbar support, airliner-style head restraints, heated and cooled cushions, side window sunshades, a twin-panel panoramic moonroof, rear-duct B-pillar registers, inflatable safety belts, and a flip-down centre armrest with an impressive set of integrated audio, climate, and sunshade controls, plus cupholders.
Our tester also includes the $5,500 Luxury Package boasting premium LED headlights and 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio, as well as a $4,000 Technology Package that adds a 360-degree surround parking camera, active park assist semi-autonomous parking, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision alert and assist with pedestrian protection, active braking, brake support, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, a driver alert system, and more.
Standard features on my $63,900 Continental Reserve 3.0L tester (the base model starts at $57,400) include most anything you can think of not yet mentioned, with some highlights being a beautiful set of machine-finished 19-inch alloys with black painted pockets, auto high beams, remote start, proximity-sensing keyless access, ambient lighting, pushbutton ignition, power-cinching doors, a powered tilt/telescoping steering column with memory, a leather-wrapped heatable multifunction steering wheel, a fully configurable TFT colour gauge cluster, Lincoln’s trademark pushbutton shifter, 24-way heated and cooled front seats with independent powered thigh extenders and driver’s side memory, Bridge of Weir Deepsoft leather upholstery, tri-zone auto climate control with rear seat controls, heatable rear outboard seats, Sync 3 infotainment with a 8.0-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen featuring swipe capability, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice-activated navigation, and a rearview camera.
Additional Continental Reserve features include an embedded modem, Wi-Fi, 13-speaker Revel audio with HD and satellite radio, a universal garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview and driver’s side mirrors, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, front and rear parking sensors, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, active noise cancellation, a powered rear window sunshade, power-folding rear headrests, a hands-free powered trunk lid, and plenty of active and passive safety features.
My tester was upgraded from the standard 2.7-litre V6, six-speed auto with paddles and torque-vectoring AWD combination, the engine good for 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, to a 3.0-litre V6 with 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, plus the same gearbox and AWD.
I won’t go into any driving dynamic info in this garage overview, as that needs to be saved for my road test review, but suffice to say it feels a lot more substantive than the MKZ that shares much of its chassis architecture components. Where the MKZ is mid-size the Continental approaches full-size, which is easy to easy inside and out. Some chassis highlights include continuously controlled dampers to simultaneously improve ride quality and road holding, while its adaptive steering is designed to enhance turn-in and high-speed stability.
Come back to check out my full road test review soon…