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by Bill P. and Sommer Thornton
The 2018 Lincoln Continental dropped last year accompanied by a tsunami marketing push with Matt McConaughey as its spokesmodel. But the lux sedan’s stylish design and worthwhile performance speaks for itself. Completely reimagined, the Lincoln Continental is a future classic.
For our First Drive review, we took the luxury sedan three hours from metro Chicago to Galena, Il, a quaint town with breathtaking landscapes that speaks the history of a bustling abolitionist hub. It’s also the home of the Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President and Civil War General.
Long narrow windy roads have a speed limit of 50 mph and above, a perfect test for the sedan’s suspension and all-wheel drive. And the Lincoln handle great cruising through town and hitting the throttle on the highway with an ultra-comfortable driver-focused interior.
Here are 5 reasons the Lincoln Continental is a Best Buy sedan under $50k. Its low base price narrowly puts this whip in a class by itself, priced much lower than competitors from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo.
Striking Innovative Lux Design
The 2018 Continental has an aura of sophistication inside and out – instantly recognizable.
The 2018 Continental is 201 inches long and sports a 117 inch wheelbase, which makes for tons of legroom and a trunk that can fit lots of luggage. The new Continental is fresh-to-death decked out with a new chrome grill that stretches 2/3 the length of the front fascia. Along with a stuntastic grille, the wide-body Continental has dope e-latch chrome handles that are fitted to the bottom of the window instead of the door. The door handles jet out and offer a discreet keyless entry button. The sleek Continental also has dual chrome tipped exhausts, 18 inch premium aluminum wheels and power-folding heated side mirrors.
Lighting is classed-up with standard adaptive HID headlights, LED signature lighting, and LED tail lamps. LED headlights are optional. There is also dope LED welcome lighting that illuminates the area around the Continental.
The cabin of the Continental is even more stylish with standard leather upholstery and optional premium Nappa leather. Aluminum, chrome and wood garnish the first-class cockpit. A leather-wrapped wood trimmed steering wheel is standard. Knobs for audio and climate are bezzeled-out. Many of the buttons are so shiny that they reflect the sun into the driver’s eye.
Optimal Comfort Features Fit for a King
The cabin of the new Lincoln Continental puts 4 passengers in first-class luxury. The lavish sedan offers 44 inches of front and 41 inches of rear legroom. And the leather-trimmed cockpit boasts heated front seats with standard adjustable headrests and an available 30-way adjustable driver’s seat. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has power adjustments, memory and controls for audio, cruise control, the digital dash and voice command. The driver-focused sedan also has heated and ventilated front seats and available heated reclining rear seats. LED ambient lighting can be customized to different hues.
There is so much legroom in the front and back editor Sommer who is 5’5” had a tough time reaching the center stack when she sat back in the driver’s seat. She always had to lean up. However the multicontour massaging front seats more than compensated. Tri-zone climate control is standard.
With abundant cargo space, the Continental would work wells as a chauffeur-driven vehicle. There’s plenty of room for the rear passenger to relax and get some work done. There’s also a cool sunshade for very hot days.
There are only a few drawbacks to this opulent cabin. For such a hot whip, the whip gets hot, literally hot as hell in the summer. So a sunroof is definitely missed in this superior sedan. It should be on every trim. Also, while there’s abundant legroom in the rear, the center seat is very uncomfortable– because the floor is so high up.
Acoustics are great in the Continental cabin but only with the windows closed completely. If they are open just a crack, passengers are disturbed by the loud sound of air rushing past the side mirrors and door handles.
The center stack of the Continental is the same as an upgraded Ford Explorer with a large touchscreen and ‘old school’ buttons for climate and audio.
3 Powertrain Options with Dynamic Well-Rounded Performance
The new Lincoln Continental offers three advanced powertrains, a 3.7 liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, a 2.7 liter twin-turbo V6 with 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm, and a robust 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 with an impressive 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm. The Reserve model we reviewed had all the bells and whistles for an athletic yet easy-going powertrain: twin independent variable cam timing, direct injection, all-wheel drive and a 24 mpg highway EPA. All three engines are matched to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
The Continental proved it can go anywhere and handle varying road issues. Plus thanks to the awesome all-wheel drive, MacPherson strut front and integral-link rear suspension both with continuously controlled damping the ride in the 4,500 lb sedan feels like I’m floating on water. Robust suspension keeps the ride smooth and tranquil. All-wheel drive adds toughness. Steering is fluid and responsive.
Braking is on point in the Continental thanks to twin piston front and solid rear brakes.
In Galena, the Continental conquered winding 50 mph roads and extreme dips and turns with ease. There was a point when Sommer got lost. And with no cell signal, she used the navigation to find her way back to the main road, but not before traveling some 10 miles on the unpaved river bank. Concerned most with approaching vehicles that may not see the Continental, Sommer maneuvered the whip through wet land utilizing advanced safety and dynamic drivetrain technology.
Clever Tech Easy to Adapt
From the outside-in the Lincoln Continental offers fresh innovations to maximize comfort and convenience. A foot-activated power tailgate is standard along with a power folding mirrors, a rearview camera, remote start, remote lock/unlock, and auto clinch-closing doors. Welcome lighting will impress friends when the whip projects a LED Lincoln logo on the ground as they exit the car.
The cabin of the Continental features automatic temperature control, an air filter, multicontour massage seats and customizations for seats and the driver’s digital dash. Drivers and passengers can easily activate their own massage seats by pressing a button in seat adjuster. And the customizations for the massage seats are displayed on the center touchscreen.
Navigation is the best I’ve seen in a Lincoln vehicle displaying detailed street names, landmarks, gas stations, terrain, railroad tracks, traffic, construction zones, wrong-way road entry and more. Navigation and a cool heads up display can be adjusted from the steering wheel.
The drivers’ dash features the perfect combination of high-tech functionality, ease with use, and traditional instrument cluster gauges. Fully digital, the dash can be customized to show the most pertinent info prominently. Along with the continuous display of music, climate and a compass, the instrument cluster has gauges for speed fuel and power. The multi information display can show an AWD view to show the car’s power delivery in deep inclines in rural areas. Sommer used the off-road view to help her navigate when she was lost and had to navigate off-road in Galena.
The gauge view is great for high-speed touring, and info is great to asses varying traffic situations.
The Lincoln also offers an embedded modem, a 110 volt outlet, an available 360-degree camera and a bangin 19 speaker Revel Ultima audio system. Sirius XM Satellite radio and Lincoln’s SYNC 3 infotainment are standard.
Most Standard Safety Technology
With much of its safety tech featured with the base price, the Continental can properly support its flexible powertrain on every trim.
The future classic sedan is great as a tourer and as a family vehicle because of features like adaptive steering, Advancetrac electronic stability control, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, auto hold and a SOS post-crash system.
The Continental technology package ($3,105) includes active park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and most importantly the pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.