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2018 Lincoln Continental: New Car Review

The 2018 Lincoln Continental is a serious luxury sedan, one that has been sorely missing from the Lincoln lineup for far too long. While not quite up to the performance standards set by BMW and Audi, the Continental out-luxuries a number of high-end sedans with bold styling, a stunning interior and some of the most technologically advanced features ever to grace a car. If you’re shopping the big sedans from Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz, the 2018 Continental deserves a shot.

What’s New for 2018?

Other than some feature reshuffling, the 2018 Lincoln Continental carries over with no major changes of note. See the 2018 Lincoln Continental models for sale near you

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-inch wheels

How Much?

$46,085-$82,000

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 ($46,085, FWD; $48,085, 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, an 8-in LCD capacitive touchscreen with swipe capability, 10-speaker Premium audio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel with memory, a configurable instrument cluster, a 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 ($50,295, FWD; $52,295, AWD) adds Bridge of Weir leather seating, the Reverse Sensing System, a power-assist door closer, blind spot monitoring, voice-activated navigation, a hands-free power trunk, remote start, a 110-volt outlet and 19-in alloy wheels. Options for the Select trim include the 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6, the Climate package (auto high beams, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a rain-sensing wiper and windshield wiper de-icer) and the Technology package (active park assist, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system, autonomous emergency braking and a head-up display). Other options include a twin-panel moonroof, 20-in wheels, 30-way adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, inflatable rear seat belts and the Revel audio system.

The Continental Reserve ($55,710, FWD; $57,710, AWD) adds the 2.7-liter engine, 24-way power adjustable front seats, navigation, 13-speaker Revel audio, the Lincoln Way mobile app with an 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 and much of the same options from the Select. The Rear Seat Amenities package adds rear sunshades, 40/20/40 seats with a folding control-panel armrest, power-reclining rear seats, heated and cooled rear seats with power lumbar, a twin-panel moonroof, inflatable rear safety belts and rear vents. The Luxury package adds LED headlights and the 19-speaker Revel audio system.

The Continental Black Label ($70,555, FWD; $72,555, 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, a luxury console, the Lincoln Way mobile app with an embedded modem and Lincoln Concierge, Venetian leather seats, tri-zone climate control, a heated leather steering wheel, a 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 Blue and Thoroughbred.

Safety

The Continental comes with a full set of standard safety equipment, including front side-impact and side curtain airbags, a 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.

In crash tests, the government gives the 2018 Continental a 5-star overall rating, with five stars in the front- and side-impact crash tests and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Continental its highest rating of Good in every category, a Superior in the crash avoidance and mitigation test and a Top Safety Pick+ pick.

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 2-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

2018 Lexus LS — The Lexus LS is all-new this year, with more power and style than last year. The LS gives you a bit more room and unique luxury features, like the Executive Class Seating option, and it offers more power. The LS’s styling might be a bit too over-the-top for some, but it does have a long and proven record of reliability and strong resale values.

2018 Volvo S90 — The S90 offers a handsome exterior that’s a bit more refined than the Continental’s, 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.

2018 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 enthusiasts 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, which offers special colors, materials and services; you even get your own personal shopping assistant.

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