If the name Continental conjures up memories of the soft-riding luxobarge that was phased out in the early 2000s, then your expectations of this modern-day revival are already set. The Lincoln Continental’s relaxed driving demeanour, restrained styling, and luxuriously appointed cabin make it a pleasant car, one that evokes the traditional American luxury sedans of the past. Unfortunately, it has several rough edges: Many of its interior switches are shared with downmarket Ford products, its on-road dynamics range from unrefined to uninspired, and none of its available V-6 engines is particularly fuel efficient. If you’re not looking closely, the Continental appears to be an impressive sedan, but upon further inspection, its plebeian roots show through.
What’s New for 2018?
Four packages that were optional in 2017 are standard on specific trims: the Select trim now features the contents of last year’s Select Plus package (blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, navigation, and SiriusXM Travel Link), the 13-speaker Revel audio system is now standard on the Reserve, and the top-spec Black Label model now comes with a panoramic sunroof, the Technology package (lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, head-up display, automated emergency braking, a self-parking feature, and more), and the Climate package (rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated rear seats, and automatic high-beam headlamps). All models benefit from the addition of a 4G LTE data connection with an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, an upgrade over last year’s 3G-powered setup. A handful of new colours also join the palette: Ivory Pearl, Blue Diamond, and Iced Mocha; Rhapsody Blue, borrowed from the Continental concept car, is now offered on the Reserve trim instead of being exclusive to the Black Label model.
What Was New for 2017?
In a word: everything. Although Lincoln teased us with the all-new Continental in concept form back in 2015, the production version needed two years to appear on dealer lots. It’s not as deluxe as the Continental Concept displayed at auto shows, but this four-door has many of the qualities that buyers of luxury cars desire.
Trims and Options We’d Choose
Our pick remains the midrange Select model, which sees a $1695 price increase this year due to the addition of navigation, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and SiriusXM Travel Link to the standard features list. These niceties join other luxury features on the Select trim, which include:
- Bridge of Weir leather seats
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with genuine wood accents
- Power trunk lid and soft-close doors
We’d suggest the 335-hp twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 engine for $2250, the 30-way adjustable Perfect Position massaging front seats for $1500, and the $850 Climate package (heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, automatic high-beam headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icer) for a total of $54,895. All-wheel drive is available for $2000 extra.
Engine and Transmission
With three different V-6 engines on offer—two of them boosted by twin turbos—the Continental doesn’t want for power. Harnessing all that power through only the front wheels is a struggle that will disappoint enthusiast drivers but should suit most casual drivers; all-wheel drive is optional. Unfortunately, the behaviour of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that we tested was uneven, with overly aggressive throttle response and some transmission issues.
What’s New for 2018?
The Continental’s three V-6 engines carry over unchanged to 2018, as do its front- and all-wheel-drive arrangements and six-speed automatic transmission. Performance in our testing is expected to remain the same this year as well.
2017 Lincoln Continental
The Continental’s base 3.7-liter V-6 makes 305 horsepower, but further down the options sheet, buyers will find a 335-hp twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 and a 400-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. In our testing of an all-wheel-drive Reserve model with the 3.0-liter, it sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. While swift, it’s too eager to lunge forward when all you want to do is accelerate smoothly in traffic. All Continentals, regardless of engine or driven wheels, shuffle gears through a six-speed automatic that is controlled by a unique, dash-mounted push-button shifter. In our testing, the transmission suffered a sag-then-surge response to our right-foot commands. Considering the refinement issues we experienced with the 3.0-liter V-6 engine/transmission combination, our pick would be the smaller, slightly more fuel-efficient 2.7-liter V-6.