Front view of the new Lincoln Continental
2017 Lincoln Continental

Test Drive: 2017 Lincoln Continental

The Lincoln Continental returns to the marketplace after a 15 year hiatus. The 1st generation Continental was launched in 1939, while the 9th Generation was sold from 1995-2002. The last version was possibly the most unremarkable full-size luxury sedan to ever hit the market. Then the assembly line at Lincoln went silent for a decade and half until finally Lincoln broke away from the mundane and re-invented their concept of what it means to design luxury in the 21st Century. Cue the band!

The name Continental is shared by Lincoln and Bentley. I like to refer to this as the great Continental divide. At the reveal of the new Lincoln just prior to the New York Auto Show in 2015, Bentley’s Chief Designer stated it was a blatant copy of their Flying Spur luxury sedan. He has a point, but in today’s market, with aerodynamics running the design show, it is pretty difficult to call any vehicle completely unique.

Power comes two ways for this new luxury sedan. The entry-level 200A model is equipped with a 2.7-litre, GTDI (gasoline turbocharged direct injection) V6 engine that produces 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Our test vehicle is the top-of-the-line 300A model. It comes with a 3.0L GTDI V6 engine that delivers a vibrant 400 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm using premium gasoline (93 octane).

Matched to a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle-shifters, the combined fuel economy is rated at 12.3 L/100 km. I was actually able to achieve 12.1 L/100 km over a seven day period. Impressive and powerful, it is an excellent combination and feels more like a V8 engine rather than a V6.

Ride quality is superb, but you expect that with a luxury sedan of this ilk and price range. Independent MacPherson strut front suspension with aluminum control arms features continuously controlled damping (CCD). The rear highlights what Lincoln refers to as advanced integral link with coil over springs, gas pressurized dampers and CCD. It feels agile, not like a floating boat, with crisp turn-ins and comparative athletic prowess in corners given the competition. Stops are quick with 18” front twin-piston front and solid rear brakes.

Exterior design elements hold true to the show-stopping Lincoln concept from 2016. The Lincoln Star mesh grille adds a distinctly upper-class look to the front. So too the dynamic adaptive HID headlights; plus our test vehicle was equipped with the optional LED headlights. LED rear taillights are standard. Entrance handles are seamlessly integrated into the chrome trim surrounding the doors and windows. It is a polished look, well-engineered and delivered with precision.

Inside, a fully-functional steering wheel commands the driving experience. Our test vehicle was equipped with the optional 30-way Perfect Position front seats and rear seat package with center armrest controls. Seating is for 5 and I also enjoyed an exceptional audio experience with the optional Revel Ultima system and 19 speakers. Looking to the stars was easy with the available twin-panel glass roof.

Storage space inside the cabin is very good. The center armrest is spacious, dual cupholders hold full-size drink cups and a smartphone rests nicely in the front console cubby. A folding wood cover adds elegance when storage is not in use or you want to cover up valuables. Trunk space is surprisingly limited as I found out while attempting to put my elderly father’s folding walker in the back. There is no way it would fit. Given one of the demographic groups this new Lincoln is certain to resonate with, namely buyers over the age of 50; this is a serious oversight in my mind.

The 2017 Lincoln Continental is an impressive ride with an equally grand price tag for a North American luxury sedan. In many ways, it’s about time Lincoln came to the party. In other ways, the timing is not so great with new luxury brand Genesis launching stiff competition and Volvo taking the world by storm with style their new mantra. Not to mention other longstanding competitors from the US, Germany and Japan, plus KIA hot on the heels to prove they’re ready for the big show. With a new Continental set to divide the competition, it appears Lincoln is serious about full-size luxury. Let the games begin.

2017 Lincoln Continental Reserve AWD
Price (before taxes): $80,450.00
Freight: $1,900.00
Configuration: front engine/all-wheel drive
Engine/Transmission: 3.0L 6-cylinder/6-speed automatic
Power/Torque: 400 hp/400 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Regular (68L)
Combined fuel economy ratings: 12.3 L/100 km
Competition: Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac XTS, Genesis G90, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S90

Related links:
Lincoln Canada

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