The 2017 Lincoln Continental is a showpiece of style and technology that does justice to an iconic nameplate. This big sedan has a swaggy confidence for which American luxury cars were once known. And it has the refinement and conveniences of a flagship sedan.
Built in Flat Rock, Michigan, the Continental is sold in front- and all-wheel drive models with a choice of three V-6 engines, including a 400-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged power plant and a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $45,485, including the $925 freight charge. The top-line Continental Black Label AWD tester was $75,960 with $10,120 in options. Among the extras were Perfect Position 30-way seats (priced at $1,500), the big engine (priced at $3,265 — and worth it) and the tech package of advanced safety technologies (priced at $3,105).
The as-tested price is $10,000 to $25,000 less than the European competitors and very close to the Genesis G90 and Cadillac CT6. But the Continental includes a free valet service for service pickup and delivery. The local dealer will pick up a customer’s car at any location, leave a Lincoln loaner of equal or greater value and then return the serviced car, washed and cleaned.
The Continental makes a big statement in a big body style that is formal and stately. And yet, the driving experience can be potent with the 400-horspower V-6 engine. Though Lincoln is the luxury division of Ford Motor Co., no lingering residue of Ford parts are seen or felt with the Continental.
Advanced technologies and safety features are expected in a new vehicle today, and the Continental is well-equipped. There is some glitter to the interior presentation, but it is tastefully done. Some of these features are not exclusive to the Continental or to Lincoln, but they reinforce the brand’s “quiet luxury” tagline.
Soundproofing elements include acoustic-laminated windshield and side glass. Optional 20-inch tires are lined with foam to reduce noise from the tire cavity by up to 7 decibels, Lincoln says.
The Continental looks formal but has no pretenses. It is an easy flagship to drive to run for a quick coffee or tool a crowded parking lot. The turning circle is 40 feet, but the steering geometry seemed to crank at a tighter arc. It is not like berthing the Queen Mary, but it feels that regal inside.
The Black Label tester was a handsome gentleman’s cave with its black Alcantara (suede-like) headliner, black Venetian leather upholstery, and a rich brown contrasting leather dash pad and upper door panels.
With 400 foot-pounds of torque from 2,760 rpm, the turbocharged engine and six-speed transmission provide responsive and forceful acceleration. I sensed no compromise of power for all-wheel drive and seldom felt the need to engage the Sport mode — the power is that strong. Fuel economy ratings are 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined on 87 octane; I was consistently averaging 21.3 to 22.3 mpg.
The electronic suspension (Continuously Controlled Damping) is soft when it needs to be and instantaneous while cornering or making evasive maneuvers. When crossing bumpy intersections or angled driveways, weight transitions were handled with little head toss or heft.
Sightlines are open, and there is plentiful shoulder room. Front legroom is long at 44.4 inches, and headroom is tall at 39.3 inches.
The Continental has three choices for front seats: standard 10-way, optional 24-way with thigh extensions and 30-way Perfect Position Seats, a $1,500 option. Not everybody has a need for seats that adjust 30 ways, but for those who do, the price for the Perfect Position Seats may be a back saver and a stress reliever. Lincoln says the patented design allows the seat to adjust to individual body shapes and weights for optimal stretch and comfort. The seat cushion is adjustable four ways. Thigh cushions extend and adjust independently.
The back-seat area feels spacious, too, and there is adult-class legroom of 41.3 inches. Passengers also have audio and climate controls, adjustable sunshades, and reclining seats that are heated and cooled and offer massaging. The rear-seat package, which costs $4,300, also includes a twin-panel sunroof, “chauffeur” front passenger seatback adjuster, inflatable rear safety belt and puddle lamps in the doors. The trunk is large at 16.7 cubic feet.
I particularly like that Lincoln has embraced an American style of luxury — big, comfy seats, demonstrative power and enough showmanship to engage and entertain without seeming like white-flash gimmickry. The Continental is not trying to be like a European car, as is Cadillac’s CT6 flagship.
The Continental Black Label is an American class act, a solid performer with rich features that create a new marque of prestige.
Mark Maynard is online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage