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2017 Lincoln Continental: First Drive Review - Video

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Brian Moody November 2016

If you're under 40, "Lincoln Continental" might not mean a lot to you, but the model has a rich history as one of the great American luxury cars dating all the way back to the 1940s. The 1950s and 1960s were especially important for Lincoln, as the Continental was the "must-have" American car for A-Listers of the time.

The Continental name is being revived, but the 2017 Lincoln Continental's appeal ignores age and era and certainly isn't a retro treatment. Rather, it's a forward-looking version of the personal luxury car.

They certainly got the interior and exterior styling right: The dimensions, materials, textures and colors are all appropriate for a luxury sedan. The interior actually feels special and not at all like a Lexus copy.

Of course, the new Continental has all the expected luxury features and options, like an excellent 19-speaker Revel sound system, a huge sunroof, and a SYNC 3 information and entertainment system.

Let's face it -- there's no shortage of available luxury sedans. However, the real draw with the new 2017 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.

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 in its approach to driving. There's a calm confidence to this car that German sedans lack.

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.

In terms of competitors, the Volvo S90 comes to mind. You might cross-shop this Lincoln against a Cadillac, but the awkward letter-and-numbers models don't communicate luxury the way Continental or even Escalade does. Plus, Cadillac cars seem like they're aimed at winning over BMW owners. Compare the new Continental to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and it starts to make a little more sense.

The resurrected Lincoln Continental is priced slightly on the bargain side of the luxury-sedan world. Pricing starts in the mid-$40,000 range and can go beyond $60,000 if you opt for the priciest version with every option.

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New 2017 Lincoln Continental AWD
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Certified 2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve
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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: First Drive Review - Video - Autotrader