Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: February 29, 2017
Click here for the Chinese (中文) review.
We’ve been driving quite a handful of luxury sedans recently, everything from the up and comers to the established kings, so we have a fairly good understanding of the segment. We spent time with the vastly refreshed Volvo S90 and adored its interior furnishings and meticulous attention to detail. We had the chance to take the Cadillac CT6 on a road trip to Montreal and applauded its on-road manners and ability to feel like you’re driving a smaller car. We even had a go in the new Genesis flagship, the G90, and fell in love with its powertrain and fit and finish.
Which leads us to arguably the last piece of the puzzle in the below-$100k segment: the Lincoln Continental. Resurrected from the grave, Lincoln decided to revive this storied nameplate which began life in 1939, slap it on their new flagship sedan, and load it up to the brim with comfort features, powerful engines, and an attractive price tag.
The new Continental enters the market with a fresh new face, four doors, an enormous trunk, and it comes with a wheelbase just 76 mm shorter than a long wheelbase BMW 7 Series. It’s got clever features too like LED lights that will turn on when you approach the vehicle, ambient lighting to coat the interior in the colour of your choice, self closing doors, and an electric door latch that sits on the car’s belt line, replacing the regular door handle. Oh, and did we mention massaging seats for every passenger?
So Lincoln has brought their Continental up to modern technological standards. Great. But how does it look? Design wise, I think Lincoln nailed it. The sheetmetal is a careful mix of retro and modern, with classic proportions and long rear overhang. Those rear quarters are my favourite – it’s connected light bars scream old school American luxury – and you’ve got to adore those floating side mirrors too. It’s a handsome overall design to say the least.
The interior is a nice place to spend time, though they could learn a thing or two about panel placement and fitment. The standards in the Continental are a few steps below what you would find in the Volvo S90 and Genesis G90.
There are a few features that stand out though, like the push button shifter which is now located next to the center display, unlike the waterfall format in the Lincoln MKZ. This gives people with shorter arms a bit of trouble. However it clears up console space for two large cupholders and a longitudinal slot that will neatly fit even an iPhone 7 Plus.
The Revel Ultima sound system is fantastic and those drilled metal speaker covers look just like the ones in the Genesis G90, which is a compliment in its own. Unique switchgear grace the steering wheel, and Lincoln seems to have taken a page from Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz by relocating the seat controls onto the door panel, freeing up room and offering a multitude of controls to adjust the seats.
The 30-way adjustable front seats are also one of the more interesting designs in the Continental – they almost look like an exoskeleton of some sort, with butterfly panels that swing out, left and right thigh support adjustment, and heated, vented, and massaging choices. Though they aren’t as plush as the ones in the G90 or the BMW 750Li, they are more tailorable to your body style, if that’s more of a concern. The kneading strength from the massaging seats is also, if not, the best in the segment.
The rear seats, shall we say, aren’t so special. Yes they’ve got the massage feature, adjustable headrests, and a center armrest with screens and displays (as part of the $5,000 Rear Seat Package) to control just about everything, the seats just aren’t as comfortable, adjustable, or as well bolstered as the front’s. It fails to come across as anything otherworldly back there, and frankly I’d rather be in the front enjoying that meaty steering wheel and boatload of torque. It makes sense though, seeing as North America is projected to be the Continental’s ground zero market, and most of us drive ourselves anyway.
Nevertheless, the Continental drives like a big luxo-sedan should. There are two powertrains giving motivation: a 2.7-litre V6 producing 335 hp and 380 lb-ft, and an optional $3,000 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that delivers an even 400 hp and 400 lb-ft. Both are mated through a six-speed transmission and all-wheel drive is standard on both models.
Our tester was loaded with the more powerful 3.0-litre, which just so happened to be the same unit in the 2017 Lincoln MKZ we recently tested. However, while 400-hp felt explosive and bountiful in the smaller MKZ, its application in the Continental was a little underwhelming.
The force-fed V6 delivers admirable mid-range push, but in the low and high areas of the powerband, it’s lacking that desirable thrust to the back of your seat. It’s certainly worth ponying up the extra three grand, but let’s just say, it’s no V8. The Genesis G90 on the other hand offers a similar though more refined powertrain that hides its turbo origins and somehow manages to feel more linear and predictable.
The Continental’s aging 6-speed transmission needs a bit of work as well to smoothen out its jerkiness at low speeds – perhaps Lincoln plans to bring over the 10-speed automatic from the new F-150 in the future? Having only six ratios didn’t help the Conti return good fuel economy numbers either, netting at least 2.0 L/100km more than the G90 and CT6 we tested.
On the bright side, the ride was fantastic. The Continental delivers that classic Lincoln “floatiness" that other automakers just can’t seem to replicate. It hovers over surfaces and makes every pothole feel just like a tickle in your seat bottom. Selecting the “S” drive mode on the center console will tighten up the adaptive dampers if you do happen to find yourself on a twisty switchback road. The Sport mode’s perkiness and ultra-sensitive responsiveness didn’t impress us too much, though. Body lean is kept to a minimum but even with a tricked out rear differential stolen from the Focus RS, its front-drive based platform doesn’t hold a candle to the CT6, which applies rear-wheel steering with more aggressive damping.
Now, where does the Continental sit in the luxury sedan spectrum? The base price starts at a bargain $56,900 – that’s E-Class money for S-Class proportions. But loaded with all the bells and whistles and our fully kitted out Conti rang out at $78,450 before taxes and fees. That sits right between the Volvo S90 and Cadillac CT6.
The new Continental is an honest man’s car, one that does its intended purpose without bothering to be something its not, like a Nürburgring-proven sports sedan for example. The Continental is 100% committed to delivering a comfortable, luxurious, and refined ride. Though it shows its youth when perched up against established competitors which had a head start, it’s a darned good first attempt from Lincoln for revamping their brand into relevance, and the Continental stands at the forefront of this American luxury renaissance.
型号 Model: 2017 Lincoln Continental Reserve AWD
顏色 Paint Type: White Platinum Tri-Coat Metallic ($700)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $56,900
試車售價 Price as Tested: $78,450
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,994
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,115 / 1,983 / 1,487
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,916
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 400 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 14.4 / 9.7 / 12.3
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.9