Cooley On Cars
On the road: 2017 Lincoln ContinentalThe Lincoln Continental is back. Is resurrecting this car genius or foolish?
Now obviously the new Continental is no where near as distinctive as the old Kennedy Lincolns. You can't do that anymore. Regulations and realities have put car design into a much smaller box. That said I believe there's a styling triumph going on here. Cuz you are looking at, effectively, a long wheel base cabin car that doesn't really look like it, to my eye. And that matters because I think any sedan over 40 grand where you ever hear the phrase let me move my seat up for you has failed. [MUSIC] I mean the continental's rear seat leg room is outstanding. I'm sitting behind the seat adjusted for me. So you got a six two guy in the front, you got a six two guy in the back, and everybody's happy. Now I can't say the same for the headroom As you can see. Of course, we do have the panoramic roof that brings things down a little, but I'm not crazy about that. We do have optional rear seats in this car as well that have recline, massage, and, of course, the chauffeur button's up here. So I can move this unoccupied seat up, because I'm back here and the driver is up there. Guess what market that's aimed at. Now, speaking of door handles, all the releases inside the continental are these electric buttons down here. In case of an outage, the driver's got a mechanical backup lever. Everyone else here has to pray the power's not out because of a fire. [MUSIC] These are the optional 30-way adjustable. I'm not kidding, look at those buttons over there on the door. I don't know if I'd ever figure these out, to be honest. Luckily, you've got presets so if you happen to get them setup right, after a year of ownership, just save it and never touch it again! You also have 24 way seats below these, 10 way seats below those. It's seat-a-palooza in this car. Sort of a very chromy, baroque Mercedes look meets Audi architecture, but with also a few hints and cues of Volvo, like on these knurled rings around some knobs, though Has none of the Swede's restraint. Now in terms of the head unit, I like sync 3, I have ever since it came out. This is a nice rendition of it. Colors are kinda tuned to the car, and all. But in general, the more I use automotive OEM head units, the more I don't want any of them. My phone platform knows me better and does voice better. Showing results for, find the nearest place for pizza Luckily we have Android Auto and Car Play support in here. Now, the instrument panel is also all LCD, as you see, which is rapidly becoming the vogue in any car over about 40 grand. You can go traditional gauges, which I like, or you can also go to some really avant garde layouts that almost don't look like an automotive dashboard. Your choice, but they say, credibly, they want to inform but not overwhelm, and I salute that. [MUSIC] Now, once you push the button to start your new Lincoln, the first thing that grates on me is this shifter arrangement. There's just something wrong about having your drive controls like that, look and feel identical. It requires you use some frontal cortex as you change gears and drive modes. And that should instead be solely doable by lizard brain. I bet they change that by the 2018s. Once under way you immediately realize yep, that's the 3.0L Twin Turbo, 400 horse and 400 pound feet is outstandingly well delivered in this car. Six speed automatic is nothing exotic but when you're in regular drive mode, the shifts are absolutely subtle and smooth, I like that. Now down market from our engine is a 2.7 liter twin turbo V6 doing 335 horse. And below that counter intuitively is the biggest engine, the 3.7 liter non turbo V6 with a full 95 less horse power less than our car. Now both of those are available in front wheel drive or all wheel drive, and by the way the MPG difference between the three power trains Is almost nil. When you got to Sport mode, things are different. The car will hold gears longer, shifts are tighter and faster, and if you select, it will also tighten up the suspension. Which brings me to my next gripe, if you don't firm up the suspension with those settings This car kinda porpoises a lot. I was surprised by that in this day and age. If you leave it in comfort mode, you kinda get the nose and the **** alternating top altitude a little too much. Now that 400 pounds and 400 horse are handled nicely by that all-wheel drive you can see there, if you've got an all-wheel drive vehicle. Which also includes rear-wheel torque vectoring. Pretty sophisticated. By the way self parking is not uncommon these days but what I think is interesting is not how well the car parks but how well it identifies a spot and this car was really good about that. You go to this control here on the wheel you can see a number of Choices for driver assistance, none of which are groundbreaking, but just about everything is in here, including full automatic emergency breaking down to complete brake force. Now, the highest benefit, of the biggest challenge of this new Continental is the new part. Folks that recall the Continental's heyday, they're all dead by now, or so old, that Ford really doesn't want this car to be seen with them driving it. Now as they try to relaunch the Lincoln brand with more vitality and youth. I know there those who say you can't go back. Now for about 45,6 you can get into one of these new Continentals, but not this, new Continental. Ours is pretty loaded, the base car is gonna have a 3.7 liter non turbo naturally aspirated V6 And front-wheel drive. Now Lincoln's been doing okay lately, their sales were up 7% on cars in 2016. While Ford's, by comparison were off about 14%, as I recall. And their loyalty to this brand is also improving. Now the cynical, hard-eyed analyst might say, none of that matters. This car is built for China, and any sales in the US are basically gravy. Whatever the strategy may be, they've really done something here that has a unique flavor, and stands out in a sea of competitors, few Few of which are American. [MUSIC] More cars driven CNET style standing by now at CNETOnCars.com, click On The Road. [MUSIC]