Lincoln’s revitalization plan includes innovative ownership privileges that can’t be found anywhere else. But if you believe product is king then the rebirth of this storied Continental nameplate is the next chapter in the brand’s luxury playbook.
It’s called the Lincoln Way; an initiative which helps owners save time through individualized client services. It includes such perks as Pickup and Delivery of your vehicle for maintenance and the like and is continuing to branch out with pilot programs such as At-Home Test Drives and even the Lincoln Chauffeur Service where a carefully screened, highly trained driver will shuttle you around in your own car or conduct your errands while you tend to other matters. This complements Lincoln’s 2017 model lineup of 2 cars, 3 crossovers and an SUV. Leading the way forward is the reintroduction of the large Continental, a car which went out of production 15 years ago. It’s still front-wheel drive based but not surprising, the V8 has been replaced with a trio of V6 engines providing a variety of outputs with closely matched fuel economies. This is the Lincoln flagship and it includes a multitude of brand-first features. American elegance is captured in its design with a beautiful profile highlighted by door handles integrated within the beltline. The portals open effortlessly and gently cinch closed. Perhaps I’m the only one who loved Lincoln’s retired split-wing grille but I think it would be an upgrade over what we have here. Plus from the front, the Continental too closely resembles its little brother the MKZ.
The $4,300 Rear Seat Package provides power recline, massage, multimedia controls and a host of other goodies that bring first class accommodations to your passengers. Plus, there’s executive sedan legroom. I just wish the seat bottoms were a little longer.
And $1,500 buys you these multifaceted 30-way seats, also with massage. Once you find just the right position make sure to save it. This is personalized luxury taken to the next level.
This is indeed quiet luxury and its many features are integrated seamlessly without clutter. Seat settings can be made at the door in combination with the center screen, the 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system produces dynamically clean sound, full smartphone integration melds your car with your connected life and the push button transmission works easily and frees up console space. A head-up display is also included but is not present in this early build model. The twin panel moonroof is also an exceptional touch. But I have a few bones to pick. 1) the Active Park Assist feature does a lousy job of both identifying and backing into perpendicular spaces, 2) the driver information display and gauge layout seems small and rudimentary by this class’s standard and 3) accessing Lincoln Drive Control can only be done here within the menus which is too complicated for on-the-go use.
This all-wheel drive model comes standard with the most powerful of the 3 available V6 motors making a mighty 400 horsepower. But what is a 6-speed transmission doing in here. I wouldn’t complain if it worked well but it’s really clunky and significantly detracts from the driving experience. And the Lincoln Drive Control settings – the ones that let you choose comfort, normal or sport mode – are not accessed through traditional means but rather via the settings in here. And that’s a problem, because normal is firmer than it needs to be.
In its normal setting, the continuously controlled dampers leaves too much of a hard edge traversing rough roads. I prefer the super soft comfort mode for its more traditional Lincoln manners. Steering effort and precision are dialed into the drive but I find that taking the helm of the Continental isn’t particularly emotive; competent, yes, but the drive itself leaves very little impression. Despite its high output, this engine and its lusty 400 pound-feet of torque will accept regular unleaded to the tune of 16mpg city/24mpg highway. 0-to-60mph takes place in a pert but rather serene 5 seconds. The all-wheel drive system incorporates torque vectoring for improved dynamic cornering but this isn’t the kind of car I enjoy driving in that manner.
The usual menagerie of driver assistance features are here including smart cruise control and an around view camera but I’m a little surprised by the lack of a semi-autonomous, hands-off driving element.
There’s much I like about this new Continental and my fondness for it grew with each passing day. But $76,130 seems overreaching in a big way. Plus, there’s a Genesis model or 2 looking the Continental right in its face.
Copyright 2017 South Florida Reporter