|The new Lincoln Continental is worthy of your attention. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Full disclosure, I haven’t yet tested the new Cadillac CT6, so I won’t attempt to compare the two. Even if I did I can’t see the Continental falling short, as it completely stands on its own merit. What I mean is, the new Conti isn’t Lincoln trying to be something it’s not, ironically a continental European. In fact, it’s truer to American luxury ideals that any domestic car has been in some time, espousing a unique identity that should be openly celebrated rather than shied away from as if there’s something wrong with big, pampering luxury sedans.
|This unique take on styling really gets noticed. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|Generous chrome joins LED headlamps, multi-spoke alloys and other styling highlights. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
OK, paying $80k for a Lincoln might be difficult to stomach for those not familiar with the price of luxury SUVs such as the Navigator, but the new Continental is no MKZ either.
|These door handles meld into the chrome beltline and feature electric releases within. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|This Continental Reserve’s two-tone interior is downright rich. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Truly, 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 are soft to the touch, whether made from composites or supple leathers. Front seat adjustability borders on the ridiculous, resulting in two of the most comfortable chairs in the industry. The same can be said of those in the rear if upgraded to the $5,000 Rear-Seat Package (RSP). As noted, those in the first row of my tester were Lincoln’s $750 optional 30-way powered multi-contour type (the base 24-way seats aren’t too shabby either). Lincoln registered no less than 50 patents for these, whereas the optional rear seats get 40/20/40-split folding/reclining via powered actuation, four-way powered lumbar support, airliner-style
|Design and quality is much better than expected. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I’ll give you the full lowdown on the upgraded seats in my 2018 review, but take note this 2017 model featured the same panoramic moonroof as a $2,200 standalone option, always a highlight but especially so when brightening up an interior like this. This car also featured the $5,500 Luxury Package, boasting a set of sharp looking LED headlights and a phenomenal sounding 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system with stunning drilled aluminum speaker grilles, while a $4,000 Technology Package added a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree surround parking camera, semi-autonomous
|The gold and black digital theme is classy and certainly not overdone. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Standard features on the $63,900 Continental Reserve 3.0L (the base Select model starts at $57,400) includes 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 (it really needs these as the 18s look a bit lost on such a large car), auto high beams, remote start, proximity-sensing keyless access, ambient lighting, pushbutton ignition, power-cinching doors (not normally seen in this class or price range), a powered tilt/telescoping steering column with memory, a leather-wrapped heatable multifunction
|The optional 30-way front seats can be optimized from the touchscreen, while gear selection is to the left. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
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
|Nice knurled metal knobs add class to the centre stack switchgear. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
My tester was upgraded from the standard 2.7-litre V6, six-speed auto with paddles, and torque-vectoring AWD combination that’s good for 335 horsepower and 380 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 for an extra $3,000. Despite its considerable power I won’t go so far as to call this top-line Continental a sports sedan, but it certainly makes for a thoroughly engaging luxury car. Get hard on the throttle and the turbocharged V6 makes its V8-like presence known by dashing from standstill to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds, aided by grippy all-wheel drive,
|These seats look like they’re straight out of a concept car. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Honestly, during the first portion of my weeklong test I drove it the way a Lincoln should be driven, or so I thought. I enjoyed its plush ride and seemingly countless creature comforts while staying well within posted limits, appreciating its commendable spirit off the line but not tempted to push it too much. I don’t tend to drive fast on a daily basis anyway, and the Lincoln didn’t tempt me like a Mustang GT would. Then I needed to be somewhere quickly and started driving as if it were a BMW. Lo and behold it reacted well, slotting into corners with relative precision and only leaned slightly when pushed hard into sharp bends. What a surprise!
|A big panoramic moonroof like this is always welcome. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Lincoln may just have found an ideal balance of luxury and sport with the new Continental, but more importantly it’s created a car that’s equally engaging to look at, be inside, and drive. Weaknesses would be a six-speed autobox that’s not as smooth or quick shifting as competitors while lacking the marketing excitement of seven, eight, nine or even Ford’s own 10-speed transmission that currently resides
|The rear quarters are very accommodating. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The Continental’s yesteryear meets tomorrow styling could make me look past some of its faults, and I haven’t even mentioned the fabulous winged mirror pedestals, those exposed front door “hinges” just below, the even more artful door handles that follow
|Plenty of room for life’s gear. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
So if thoughts of the Lincoln brand merely conjure up memories of Town Cars whisking you away from airports, you owe it to yourself to change that perception. You may not purchase one, but after spending some time behind the wheel you’ll have a new appreciation for North American design and engineering.
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