The cool, calm and decidedly continental Lincoln Continental is a large 4-door saloon car that not only looks great, but is also packed with luxury appointments. To accompany the upmarket finishings and impressive tech features, there’s a choice of three different V6 engines, a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration and a 6-speed automatic transmission that, when combined in the various cars, offers up a smooth and quiet drive with a good amount of grunt. The iconic Continental name has been brought back to give a US option to the big German sedans, but it has its work cut out for it.
The interior has the goods to compliment the attention-commanding exterior presence. The seating is the best part of the cabin, in particular the two front seats. The new Lincoln Continental Perfect Position Seat features 30 adjustment points to allow the absolute most comfortable position possible. Rear seating space is good too, although the seats are sprung harder than they look. The multifunction steering wheel is quite busy with what looks like a button for every function, and the rest of the buttons and knobs around the interior look like they’re from a Ford, probably because they are. The overall look with the optioned trims does have the intended luxury feel to it. The optional Black Label package offers up different themes including a two-tone cream and dark grey called Chalet, a brown and wood veneer called Thoroughbred and a blue and silver theme called Rhapsody. The latter is oddly appealing. The cabin’s layout is good though, and the right options have it almost on par with the Germans.
With a car the size of a Lincoln Continental you don’t really expect it to be fast, but you do expect an effortless cruise that doesn’t feel labored. Having an array of 6-cylinder powerplants ensures the power is high enough so that this doesn’t happen – even the least powerful creates over 300 hp. The front-wheel drive version feels good and composed as the body is pulled along but the best is the all-wheel drive version, as it feels a little more balanced. The continuously controlled damping suspension keeps the car rigid on tight bends but longer sweeps feel a little more all over the place, but it does absorb the harsh bumps with ease to keep things comfortable and composed. The ride is good overall, but if the size and spec of the sedan leads you to believe it’s on par with the more popular performance sedans, it’s not really.
There are three engine options for the Lincoln Continental, all of them with 6-cylinders. The range starts off with a normally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 that supplies 305 hp with 280 lb-ft of torque. The next most powerful is a liter down in capacity at 2.7-liters but thanks to twin turbochargers power is up at 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. These two can be had for the front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations, while the last and most powerful engine is only available with all-wheel drive. This is the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and it pushes out 400 hp and a matching 400 lb-ft of torque. All models feature the 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission that’s found in a few cars under the same automaker’s umbrella and offers up smooth operation, even when you want fast shifts.
The Lincoln Continental is a flagship model, and this means it’s been given some great tech and safety. Heading up the infotainment system is the shared SYNC 3 from Ford, which is a great interface with good features and functionality, but it is strange seeing a premium model share the almost exact infotainment as a basic entry-level Ford. Audio linked to it can be optioned as a 19-speaker Revel Ultima system than includes functions for great satellite reception. There’s an Enhanced Active Park Assist System that located parking and parks the car too, linked to a 360-degree camera. Safety comes in many forms; lane-keep assist, driver alert system, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist with pedestrian protection and more.
The Lincoln Continental tries to relive the glory days of the past as a large, luxury sedan with an imposing presence, and it does this quite successfully. It has lots of space, a good level of tech and safety and a plentiful option list, and when configured right will be almost as good as the Europeans. Performance also is good across the range with the least powerful still supplying over 300hp to a choice of front or all-wheel drive, but since the name badge has been dormant, the other luxury sedans on the market have progressed a lot and the Continental just seems to still fall short or being on their level.