2017 Lincoln Continental: Old-school luxury comes full circle, and the world is better for it
The last time you could buy one of these, the O Brother, Where Art Thou?
soundtrack was winning a Grammy for album of the year.
It's been 15 years since there's been a new continental.
And since then, Lincoln has been the brand of constant sorrow, following further behind in the luxury race.
Look, I'd rather forget all about that continental but this tenth gen, it's memorable for altogether different reasons.
That's because the new luxury may just be the old luxury.
After years of attempting to out-German the Germans, premium automakers on the fringes, well they're trying something new by revisiting something old.
Cadillac GT6, Genesis G90, Volvo S90, these cars They're all about plush and hush, not the rush.
And what's more quintessentially comfortable than a Continental?
Lincoln knows this game in its bones, and, with this car, it shows.
Let's talk design.
And to do that, I'm going to start in an odd way, with the profile.
That's because I think it's the Continental's most convincing view.
It's a pretty traditional box shape, but there's some unique and clever details in the profile.
Most obviously with the way the door handles are integrated right into the base of the greenhouse.
They feel good, substantial, like the handle on a commercial walk-in fridge.
And I particularly like the side mirrors, which look both sculptural and expensive sitting up on their chrome pedestals.
I don't even mind the chrome that says Continental, at least, it's not another full side-bent.
I'm less excited about the Continental's nose and tail.
Back in 2015, when Lincoln showed this car as a concept, it looked lower, wider and more imposing.
In the move to production, Lincoln dialed out a bit of the design's character.
And to me, that last 5%, it really hurt.
But the Continental is still very distinctive.
And if you don't live in Detroit like I do, you probably won't see one on every corner in six months.
It's really going to stand out amidst the sea of E-Classes and 5-Series.
Even if they're not this color.
Let's get this right.
The Continental is no marshmallow.
But it doesn't have a sporting bone in its entire body.
And I'm 100% okay with that.
You would be, too, surrounded by this interior.
This is a top shelf Black Label model.
And it's $77,000.
That means it's $30,000 more than the base price.
That may sound crazy but it's actually pretty typical for this class.
Me neither, it's like a church in here.
I feel like whispering.
Slump into the thirty way adjustable perfect position seat It looks a little bit like an [UNKNOWN] lounge.
Let it massage your upper management lower back and crank up the 20 speaker Revel audio.
PRetty soon you'll forget not just about your day at the office, but about steering feel, corner carving, and [UNKNOWN] lap times.
You weren't really going to take the winding road home anyway, right?
This is a very comfortable, very nicely screwed together cabin.
With lots of feel good leather and real wood.
The back is a pretty nice place to be too.
With acres of leg room and dedicated HVAC controls.
But at least in this panoramic group model Lincoln forgot something very important.
I'm five foot nine and I can feel my hair touching the head liner.
Look I know this car was designed with Chinese market in mind more than ours, but, come on.
So sink 3 it's a big improvement but there is still nicer input systems out there.
It's quick But it's also a little dull looking, plus it's almost weird not to have Google Earth 3D maps for this kind of money.
Don't even get me started on Lincoln's stupid push button shifter.
It's right next to the engine start button, for God's sake.
Who thought that was a good idea?
The Continental's Power Train, it's pretty laid back.
This being a top shelf model, it's got the most powerful of 3V6s.
A three litre twin turbo unit tied to an old school six speed automatic.
Horsepower and torque?
They're both listed at 400, but you'll rarely feel the need to use all of them.
Even in sport mode, yes this has one, the Contine never eggs you on, even though it's capable of genuinely hustling.
The Continental is loosely based on the Ford Fusion, but don't let that bother you
Available in front or all-wheel drive, this particular car is powered at all four.
I think really that's the only way to go with an engine this powerful, especially in weather like this.
The Continental isn't just an indulgent commuter pod, it's a great long distance cruiser.
I'll admit, I still prefer sport sedans, But I think we can smart for emphasizing relaxation over athleticism even if it's going to take them many years in which to win back customers.
Look, luxury cars, they're all moving toward inherently less involvement.
Thanks to the rise of autonomy.
And it's not like there's an auto ban outside America's backdoor.
So, why we're pretending?
In a weird way, going back to the future with this Continental is the boldest move towards luxury brands has made In decades.