I was almost afraid to write my review on Ford Motor Company’s new Lincoln Continental. Will my readers believe me when I say I like this car as much as I liked the 5-Series BMW I drove a few weeks ago? That’s not possible, is it?
Think about that. A Lincoln, which was known for riding like a cruise ship instead of handling like a cruise missile, is now as good as luxury sedans that have nearly always been praised. Is that real?
Yes, sir, it is. Ford bet the farm on its latest luxury car and it is going to be rewarded handsomely. The new Continental, especially in Black Label trim, can run shoulder to shoulder with the best in luxury market.
New-Think From Ford
I recently spent a week with the new Continental and was throughly impressed. Forget all that you think you know about this car company. There is a new feeling and thought at Ford’s luxury division that I think the public is going to like.
First, this car has an understated elegance that I hope trickles down to the rest of the line. I see hints of Jaguar but not as curvy. There’s a little bit of Bentley at the rear but not a direct copy. From the mesh grille to the stately rump, this car screams luxury, but not in a panicked way. I love the sculptured door pulls which are an added touch of elegance.
The interior is something to marvel. There is wood, leather, metal and suede used with such meticulous craftsmanship, such precision that you have to force yourself to remember this is an American made car. Everything feels expensive and works as if its in a luxury car.
There are three themes for Black Label – Chalet, Thoroughbred and Rhapsody. Each theme dictates the car’s exterior and interior colors. My Thoroughbred was chroma Caviar Gray metallic with Venetian black leather seats, a very handsome combination.
The rear seats may be the best seats in the house. The car doesn’t seem overly long, but there is enough room for six-footers to cross their legs. The sections are heated and power controlled. The outward seats will message you if you request such. My frat brother’s 13-year-old son loved it. He thought it was the best thing before going to basketball practice. There are also controls for climate.
Maybe I’m wrong. The fronts seats have the advantage. This Black Label version had these pillow-top seats that simply cushioned you into nirvana. Each is power operated as well, minus the message option. Each feels more like a recliner but a form-fitted recliner that grips you if you want to do spirited driving.
An Engine That Purrs
Speaking of such, this 3.0-liter turbo V6 is the answer. It quietly makes 400 horsepower with 400 pounds-feet of torque. Coupled to a six-speed transmission and all-wheel drive, this engine purrs while navigating city streets and roars when you hit open road. Not that you hear it. The cabin is so well isolated that most engine noise is kept outside of the car. Fine, because that does not deter the cars performance. Put your foot in this engine and the Continental becomes a domesticated beast, hurtling past all those on the road if you wish to do so. Power is available at a touch and it doesn’t seem to run out of steam.
Continentals of yore felt floaty, riding like the suspension was built out of clouds. That’s something else to forget. While those older buyers that wish for a smooth ride will love this car, those who crave to carve up some highway will be pleased as well. The Continental’s suspension is well sorted, allowing the driver to press the car when needed. The steering gives you great feedback from the road and keeps the car tracking straight. There are paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel which tells you how serious Lincoln is about this car. You can shift or the silky six-speed automatic will do the trick.
Choosing the all wheel drive version gives you Audi like, or should I say Audi-lite handling, which isn’t a bad thing. The car felt unflappable even during heavy downpours. It’s not an Audi but I like it nearly as much — high praise, indeed.
There are at least six different models to choose from before you get to the Black Label models. There are also four different engines, but not all are available throughout the range. The Black Label is Lincoln’s highest expression of opulence so it’s not cheep. The car’s base price started in the low $60’s which is well equipped. The paint job, rear-seat package, 3.0-liter engine and destination brought the car’s asking price to $78,000 and some change.
You can buy the car for far less, just don’t drive the Black Label first. I don’t think I would want this car any other way. Is it worth the money? I’ll say yes, but with everything else, this is going to be a matter of preference. Lincoln has done its job offering a wonderful sedan. It’s all on you.