Believe it or not, nearly 80 years ago, the Lincoln Continental hit the scene. It was always a luxe ride right from the start, a real head-turner. As a matter of fact, back in 1940, architect extraordinaire Frank Lloyd Wright described the vehicle as “the most beautiful car ever designed.” So enamored was he with the Continental, Wright actually purchased two.
The Continental was also the “gotta have it” vehicle for the rich and famous in Hollywood. Mega A-listers such as Liz Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, James Brown, were all proud owners of the American-made hoity-toity ride. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he was riding in a four-door modified ’61 Continental that was code-named X-100.
The Lincoln sedan had quite a stellar past but by the time the mark was retired in 2002, the automaker’s intention to make its vehicle a standout was there but the innovation was not. So, the vehicle got lost in a sea of rivals with a status that was uncertain. Fast-forward to present day, the 2017 Lincoln Continental is back on the block, but has it regained its marquee status? Does it have star quality?
Imagine my excitement when my Lincoln Continental tester arrived. Classy-looking and large, the sedan definitely has a commanding presence. Clean lines, with a Jaguar-like mesh grille and blingy-but-not-obnoxiously-so, the tenth gen Lincoln’s exterior boasts some very architectural design features like door handles that jut out of the squat window’s sill and side mirrors that sit on a chrome pedestal. Another design element I immediately noticed in the Continental was its hunky Maybach-ish-like doors. As I stepped back and surveyed the Continental, there was no denying, it has an overall Euro-esque look, despite its slightly droopy butt.
Sliding into the full-sizer’s inviting interior felt almost like a religious experience. Slathered in feel-good leather, the optional heated/ventilated 24- or 30-way “Perfect Position” seating comes with integrated massagers (the base Premiere trim has heated vinyl seating). Everywhere I looked, the build quality and materials used in the Continental’s interior appeared top-of-the-line—fine stitching, soft-touch surfaces, and did I mention leather every which way?
Most of the Continental’s interior space, however, was given to the folks in the rear. Boo! This Amazonian frame felt a smidge tight with regards to head and legroom in the sedan but the luscious leather seating sure made up for it. If the vehicle, however, comes equipped with a panoramic roof, rear passengers north of 6’0″ might have to slouch a bit.
On the tech front, the sedan’s 8-inch touchscreen with the automaker’s famed SYNC 3 media platform was a cinch to operate. All of the elegantly laid out controls on the infotainment system and steering wheel were straightforward and functional. Satellite radio and Android Auto in the Conti are standard, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and the beautiful sounding Revel 19-speaker audio system are optional. Taking it to the rear, the Continental’s trunk space is lacking for a vehicle this size. But even though the trunk measures a mere 16.7 cubes, you can get an optional pass-through for those longer objects you’ll need to tote.
Safety features in the Continental include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure with active lane keep assist, active parking assist for gliding the sedan into spots, a slew of sensors and a surround-view camera with more angles on all sides than I can count. Regarding crash ratings for the 2017 Continental at press time, neither the government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have concluded their findings.
Giving the Continental some gas, the ride was well balanced, and it soaked up road flaws with discipline. When trying to make passing highway moves, the tester, the Reserve trim, lagged a bit, but then got its feisty hustle on and with a purpose. The front wheel drive sedan felt nimble for its size, so overall handling was pretty much effortless. The Reserve offers an optional 3.0-liter V6 engine that puts out 400 horses and 400 lb-ft of torque that is more than enough power for everyday road doings.
There are four trim levels in the Continental line—Premier, Select, Reserve and Black Label. Owning the latter gives owners access to the automaker’s swanky Black Label personalized membership program. At the pumps, the Conti drinks at the not-so-unreasonable pace of 17 city/26 highway.
The 2017 Lincoln Continental definitely has a look that politicos, CEO’s and even mob bosses will all want to place in their driveway. You won’t get sportiness in the five-seater, but a well-appointed, long distance cruiser with star quality is just what you’ll wind up with–which as far as I know is a pretty good thing!
Prices start at $44,720. Need more info? Visit Lincoln.com.