by: Mike Ginsca,
The Lincoln Continental was created back in the late 1930s as a luxury sedan to rival the European vehicles of the time. In its hay days during the 1960’s, anyone who was important or could afford it, had one. But along the way, the Continental became a boat on wheels through the 80s and 90s and was bought mainly by retirees in Florida. In 2017 however, Lincoln decided to try to recapture the glory of the 60s with a redesigned Continental.
Engine – You can get the Lincoln Continental with a 2.7L twin turbo V6 that produces 335hp or with a more powerful 3.0L twin turbo V6 that produces 400hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. This test vehicle comes with the aforementioned engine. It is a very good engine that is responsive and produces a very strong pull at low to mid-range rpms. Despite the Continental tipping the scales at almost 2,000 kg, all of the occupants inside will get pinned to the back of their seats under hard acceleration. However the engine starts to run out of “puff” at higher rpms and the transmission tends to shift early before reaching the redline. And there’s also a price to pay for all that power. During my week with the vehicle I struggled to get better than 17.5 L/100km of fuel efficiency in mostly city driving.
Transmission – A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission offered with the Lincoln Continental. During everyday driving scenarios, it is smooth and quick enough to where you don’t pay attention to it. When driving more aggressively, it is slow to react to inputs from the paddle shifters and shifts are unbelievably jerky both when going up or down through the gears.
Braking – With 18” front brake rotors and 17” in the back, stopping the big Continental takes almost no effort. The brake pedal is firm but also easy to modulate under normal driving conditions giving the occupants in the back a smooth drive.
Handling – Weight is the enemy of all vehicles as it hampers performance, fuel economy, and the overall fun-to-drive nature of the vehicle. Due to the hefty weight of the Lincoln, it’s not particularly enjoyable to drive quickly around corners. Then again, it was never meant to be a Lotus Elise but compared to its European rivals, it falls short. The adaptive suspension is too soft even in its stiffest setting and the large tire sidewalls don’t provide a lot of rigidity around corners.
Ride Comfort – This is what the 2018 Lincoln Continental was designed for and it does not disappoint. The adaptive suspension glides over bumps and although at times the car may feel like a boat in the ocean with the suspension in “Comfort” mode, leaving it in “Normal” mode will mitigate that feeling for the most part. The front seats luxurious and you’d expect them to be as they are 30-way power adjustable seats. When was the last time you heard of 30-way adjustable seats? You can adjust thigh extensions separately; upper, mid, and lower lumbar support; side bolsters, headrests… the adjustability is endless with these seats. The rear seats are equally luxurious albeit without quite as much adjustability as the front seats.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – In regular city driving conditions, the Lincoln is quiet and smooth. On highways it’s still relatively quiet but there is a bit more road noise intruding into the cabin than expected. Regardless of city or highway driving though, the engine is eerily quiet and sometimes you’d think that you’re in an electric vehicle.
Interior Design – The interior of the Continental has a modern and contemporary feel for the most part. The climate control cluster of buttons could be simplified a bit more and there are a few too many buttons on the steering wheel but the overall look of the cabin modern. The materials used are soft touch including some of the plastics along the lower trim pieces of the cabin. The leather on the seats is silky smooth and soft. The fit and finish is not quite as good as some of the European rivals. One example of this particular test vehicle is that the trim around the driver’s side speaker required a bit of nudging back into position as it kept wanting to pop out after every big and jarring bump that the car went over.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – The Continental can be equipped with every piece of technology that parent company Ford has developed for their range of vehicles. I won’t make a boring list of every single feature but some of the highlights are the adaptive cruise control with stop and go feature, the brilliant Sync 3 infotainment system, the massive and information filled heads-up display, and the massaging seats for both front and rear outward seats. Another good feature of the car is the self parking. It detects spots quickly and accurately but due to the poor turning radius of the Continental, it takes a few reverse and forward maneuvers before the car is in the parking spot it finds. A big disappointment is the 360 camera system because it feels like the cameras that Lincoln used were made by the lowest bidder. They have very poor resolution.
Exterior Design – Like the interior design, the exterior of the Continental has a contemporary and modern look. Obviously it follows the same design language as other Lincoln models but the styling looks fresh and features some unique details. The door handles for example are made to look like they’re integrated into the trim that surrounds the windows. One thing I do miss though are the rear suicide doors of the 60s model. How cool would those look on this car? Please Lincoln bring them back!
Overall the 2018 Lincoln Continental has its ups and downs but it makes an impression with its uniqueness and comfort. However it sits in an odd price point. This higher Reserve trim starts at just under $62,000 CAD which is the top price point for other luxury cars like the Buick LaCrosse and Toyota Avalon. This test vehicle as equipped breaks the bank at $82,250 CAD (before taxes) and for that much money you can have a very well equipped European sedan that has better driving dynamics, advanced technology, and interior quality. If you don’t need the extra leg room in the back then the Lincoln MKZ may be a better option as it is available with the same 400hp engine and features.
Thank you to Lincoln Canada for providing the vehicle. www.LincolnCanada.com
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.