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2017 Lincoln Continental: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2017

If you're under 40 years of age, the name Continental probably conjures up images of a pricey Bentley sedan. But, for those old enough to remember Lincoln's glory days, the Continental name is a decidedly American icon, one that represents the quintessential luxury car. Lincoln may have lost some of its luster over years, but with the 2017 Lincoln Continental, the company has put forth its best attempt yet to regain that old magic.

What's New for 2017?

The 2017 Lincoln Continental is all new this year, replacing the slow-selling MKS as the company's flagship sedan and laying down the gauntlet not just to Cadillac, but to Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.

What We Like

Distinctive styling both inside and out; smooth ride; advanced audio and electronics; powerful twin-turbocharged engine option; numerous driver customization choices

What We Don't

Handling isn't yet up to European standards; 6-speed transmission needs more refinement; ride can be stiff with 20-in wheels

How Much?

$45,485-$78,000

Fuel Economy

The Lincoln Continental offers a choice of three engines driving power through either the front or all four wheels. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission choice. The base engine is a normally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 good for 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures for this engine are 17 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with FWD, and 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with AWD.

Optional is a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy with FWD is 18 mpg city/27 mpg hwy, while the AWD version delivers 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. Finally, there's a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing an amazing 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. This engine is offered only with AWD and earns an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The Lincoln Continental comes in four trims: Premier, Select, Reserve and Black Label.

The Continental Premier ($45,485, FWD), ($47,485, AWD) includes the 3.7-liter V6, adaptive steering, Lincoln's Continuously Controlled Dampening (CCD) suspension, 18-in alloy wheels, 10-way power heated front seats with lumbar support, SYNC 3, 8-in LCD capacitive touchscreen with swipe capability, 10-speaker Premium audio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with memory, a configurable instrument cluster, push-button gear selector, Active Noise Cancellation, dual-zone automatic climate control, Intelligent Access with push button start, front and rear park assist, Lincoln's Forward Sensing System, hill start assist, E-Latch power operated exterior door handles, adaptive HID headlights, a rearview camera, power heated and folding exterior mirrors, active grille shutters, a keyless entry touchpad and an electronic parking brake.

The Continental Select ($48,440, FWD), ($50,440, AWD) adds Bridge of Weir leather seating, the Reverse Sensing System, power assist door closer, hands-free power trunk, remote start, 110-volt outlet and 19-in alloy wheels. Options for the Select trim include the 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6, the Select Package (navigation, 6-year prepaid subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, BLIS blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert), 30-way power front seats, twin-panel moonroof, auto high beams, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, 13-speaker Revel audio system and inflatable rear seatbelts.

The Continental Reserve ($54,840, FWD), ($56,840, AWD) adds the 2.7-liter engine, 24-way power adjustable front seats, navigation, BLIS, Lincoln Way mobile app with embedded modem, a power rear sunshade and two rear seat USB charging ports. Options for the Reserve include the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6, the Technology package (360-degree camera, Active Park Assist, Lane-Keeping System, adaptive cruise control, active braking with pre-collision assist and pedestrian detection, rain sensing wipers and wiper de-icer). The Rear Seat package adds rear sun shades, 40/20/40 seats with folding control panel armrest, power recline rear seats, heated and cooled rear seats with power lumbar, twin-panel moonroof, inflatable rear safety belts and rear vents. The Luxury package adds LED headlights and the Revel audio system.

The Continental Black Label ($63,840, FWD), ($65,840, AWD) includes the Black Label membership (mobile showroom, personal liaison, 4-year/50,000 mile maintenance coverage and complimentary vehicle washes and detailing), 20-in wheels, an Alcantara headliner, in-cabin air filtration, luxury console, Lincoln Way mobile app with embedded modem and Lincoln Concierge, Venetian leather seats, tri-zone climate control, heated leather steering wheel, 19-speaker Revel audio system and unique Black Label styling cues. Options include the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6, most of the packages offered on the Reserve trim that aren't already standard, plus three unique interior color themes: Chalet, Rhapsody in Blue and Thoroughbred.

Safety

The Continental comes with a full set of standard safety equipment including front side-impact and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, a rear backup camera and the SOS post crash alert system. Available safety equipment includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, inflatable rear seat safety belts, parking assist, front and rear parking sensors and a lane departure and assist system.

To date, neither the government nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash tested the Lincoln Continental.

Behind the Wheel

Let's face it -- there's no shortage of available luxury sedans. However, the real draw with the new Lincoln Continental lies in its attention to detail and the ability to really personalize the car. For example, the seat-bottom extender is split 50/50, and you can get 30-way power seats, letting you find that perfect seating position. The gauges are reconfigurable to suit individual tastes, the automatic climate control has three levels and you can customize the suspension, transmission and acceleration, so the car can really feel the way you want it to feel.

The new Continental has three different engines. We spent time in a Reserve model equipped with the most powerful engine: a 3.0-liter twin turbo making 400 hp. This is an excellent engine that delivers an urgency you wouldn't expect given the stylish exterior. There are 2.7- and 3.7-liter engines offered as well. The two-wheel-drive models are pulled by their front wheels, leaving us to recommend AWD for those who prefer a more performance-oriented driving experience.

On the road, the Continental is quiet and powerful. There's a hint of sportiness, but this isn't an all-out performance sedan. It's less BMW and more Mercedes-Benz/Lexus in its approach to driving. There's a calm confidence to this car that German sedans lack.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Lexus LS -- The Lexus LS gives you a bit more room and unique luxury features like the Executive Class Seating option, but its not as powerful. The LS isn't as distinctive as the Continental, but it does have a long and proven record of reliability and strong resale.

2017 Volvo S90 -- The S90 offers a handsome exterior a bit more refined than the Continental, and its interior is an exercise in elegant simplicity. The S90 has some of the most sophisticated autonomous driving assists available, but its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine might put off some luxury buyers. There's also a powerful hybrid version.

2017 Cadillac CT6 --The CT6 offers a less flamboyant design and is geared a bit more toward aggressive driving. The CT6 can match the Continental in power, and enthusiast will prefer the Cadillac's rear-wheel drive to the Continental's front-drive design. There's also a plug-in hybrid model.

Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- A 2012-2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class can be had for about the same cost as an entry level Continental. You'll have more engine choices, more interior room and a lot more clout with the parking valet.

Autotrader's Advice

We think the best Continental is the Reserve trim with the 400-hp 3.0-liter V6. You'll get all the luxury features one expects from this class, plus access to most of the Continental's optional features and all-wheel drive. Runner up is the Select trim with the 2.7-liter engine. This setup offers a good ratio of features, power and price. If you're looking for the ultimate in an American luxury car, there's the Black Label edition that offers special colors, materials and services; you even get your own personal shopping assistant.

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Used 2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve
Used 2017 Lincoln Continental
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Lincoln Continental: New Car Review - Autotrader