The Continental nameplate has a great deal of history for Lincoln. At its creation in the 1930s, it was intended to emulate the sleeker European design language of the day. While the 2018 Lincoln Continental is a far cry from the curvy coupe of the art deco age, its objective stays much the same: compete with European rivals.
Lincoln presented its new Continental just last year. The result is an undoubtedly good-looking car with extensive rear legroom, a full suite of optional technology upgrades and a quiet, comfortable interior. Unfortunately, the Continental straddles a price range where it has trouble contending. In lower trims, the rather unimpressive standard engine and absence of certain basic features make the Continental a slightly less appealing value. In greater trims– which can get up to almost double the Continental’s base cost, at least from an as-new MSRP viewpoint– the Lincoln is priced versus a few of the best high-end sedans on the market, and just cannot match their improvement.
In its absolute base trim, the Continental faces pressure from downmarket alternatives that are completely packed. Cars such as the Buick LaCrosse, Kia Cadenza or Toyota Avalon deal similar convenience and quiet (although less existence), and significantly more content for the money. Other high-end marques avoid this sort of comparison thanks to their greater starting costs and unique driving characteristics, however the base Continental is priced similarly and features a comparable powertrain and comparable performance numbers to these near-luxury full-size sedans.
Filled up with all the bells and whistles, the Continental is priced against heavy hitters like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. While you’re getting the upgraded engine and more rear-seat space with the Continental, all three of the Germans use similar acceleration from their base engines, and all three still use generous rear guest area. Furthermore, the Continental simply can’t match the execution of the Germans’ technology, or the level of refinement and engagement discovered in their driving experiences. Even the Genesis G90, Hyundai’s current luxury spinoff, is a more refined high-end car that contends straight with the Continental in terms of rear passenger space and convenience, and provides more room in advance for the chauffeur.
The interior design is simple to utilize, although the steering wheel controls are a little complex and the infotainment depends on on-screen buttons. There’s lots of space, particularly in the rear and the leather upholstery feels upscale, but materials quality is otherwise a bit lacking.
3 engines are readily available for the Continental. The base engine is a 3.7-liter V6 (305 hp, 280 lb-ft of torque), which comes requirement on the Premiere and Select trims. A turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 (335 hp, 380 lb-ft of torque) is optional on the Select and basic on the Reserve and Black Label Trims. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and can be had in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations.
Standing beside the 2018 Continental, it’s simple to see its appeal. It’s a car that makes an impression, and the experience of sitting in and driving the Continental is one of convenience and authority. The problem is that in picking the Continental, you need to accept that you’re getting a little less for your loan than exactly what competitors need to offer.