For years detractors of American luxury cars complained sedans born on our soil just couldn’t compete with their European counterparts. In the 2019 Lincoln Continental, we finally have a uniquely American luxury sedan that sets new standards for luxury and value. While not quite up to the performance standards set by BMW and Audi, the Lincoln 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 2019 Continental deserves a shot.
What’s New for 2019?
For 2019, the Continental gains automatic emergency braking, auto high beams, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard. New options for the Reserve trim include a CD player (part of the Revel II audio package), a panoramic moonroof and the contents of the Climate Package that includes a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rain-sensing wipers and windshield wiper de-icers. A limited run of specially designed coach "suicide-door" models has already sold out. See the 2019 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
The 2019 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 ($47,140, FWD; $49,140, AWD) includes the 3.7-liter V6, adaptive steering, Lincoln’s Continuously Controlled Dampening (CCD) suspension, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, lane-keeping assist, a rearview monitor, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard is 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-and-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, power heated and folding exterior mirrors, active grille shutters, a keyless entry touchpad and an electronic parking brake.
The Continental Select ($50,940, FWD; $52,940, AWD) adds Bridge of Weir leather seating, the Reverse Sensing System, a power-assist door closer, 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, windshield wiper de-icer). 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 ($60,7054, FWD; $62,705, AWD) adds the 2.7-liter engine, 24-way power adjustable front seats, navigation, a 360-degree camera, a head-up display, 13-speaker Revel audio, the Lincoln Way mobile app with an embedded modem, a twin-panel moonroof, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icers, 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, inflatable rear safety belts and rear vents.
The Continental Black Label ($71,040, FWD; $73,040, 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.
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 warning and assist system.
In crash tests, the government gives the 2019 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
2019 Lexus LS — The Lexus 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.
2019 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.
2019 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 2013-2017 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.
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 AWD. Find a Lincoln Continental for sale