After 15 years, an American luxury icon is back thanks to the all-new 2017 Lincoln Continental. The Continental name dates back to the 1930s, but it hasn’t graced the back of a Lincoln since 2002. In that time, the luxury segment has changed immensely with traditional luxury automakers creating smaller, more entry-level offerings and mainstream automakers coming up with high-quality luxury sedans (such as Hyundai’s Genesis lineup).
The new Continental is a direct replacement for the Lincoln MKS, and it also appears to mark the phase-out of the “MK-” naming structure that never seemed to catch on. We spent a week in a top-of-the-line 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label to see where Lincoln stands in the full-size luxury sedan market.
2017 Lincoln Continental Exterior:
Forget naming, Lincoln’s biggest problem over the years has been a lack of unique design to separate it from Ford products, and the 2017 Lincoln Continental is a promising look to the future for this storied brand. The styling of the 2017 Lincoln Continental is practically identical to the 2015 concept car, and for the first time since the 1990s, finally gives Lincoln a competent brand image to build on. Every inch of this car is finely sculpted, but it’s the details on this car that make it so exquisite.
At the front of the car, the new corporate grille makes a nice chrome mesh backdrop for the Lincoln cross-hair logo, and it is flanked by jewel-like LED headlights. Likewise, the rear of the car reveals full-width LED taillights with integrated exhaust outlets and the Lincoln named spelled out across the decklid. Perhaps the coolest part of this design, though, are elements such as the electric door handles hidden in the chrome-trimmed pulls, or the stylish door mirrors that are mounted atop elegant wings that also play off the chrome window trim. These mirrors also add to the overall effect of the car with puddle lights displaying the Lincoln logo when illuminated at night. Just like the original 2015 concept car, this 2017 Lincoln Continental was finished in a rich, deep blue hue (Rhapsody Blue Metallic) and features large, 20-inch multi-spoke wheels.
2017 Lincoln Continental Interior:
Popping open the doors of this 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label revealed one of my favorite aspects about the car – a matching blue interior that gives this Continental an old-school, 1970s Lincoln vibe. The Rhapsody Blue Venetian leather wrapped the impressively complex 30-way adjustable front seats (with individual settings for each thigh support) as well as the rear seats equipped with the Rear Seat Package. This $4,200 option delivers limo-like accommodations to the rear occupants with four-way adjustable, heated and cooled seats, center armrest with audio and HVAC controls, dual-panel panoramic sunroof and sunshades for the side and back windows.
The steering wheel and infotainment systems were obvious Ford-sourced components, but everything else in this sedan looked and felt a notch above what you can get in a Blue Oval product, which is something that Lincoln has been missing for some time.
2017 Lincoln Continental Powertrain:
The 2017 Lincoln Continental can be equipped with standard Ford engines like the base 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 or the 335-horsepower, 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, but if you want the most out of this car, then the Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 is the way to go. This range-topping engine produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, and while this engine is exclusive, all versions of the Continental use Ford’s six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. This is a solid transmission that helps provide a balance between smooth and sporty, but it lacks the advancements of higher-gear transmissions when it comes to fuel economy. As it sits, the EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway** are fairly low for the segment.
2017 Lincoln Continental Safety:
Not only does the 2017 Lincoln Continental show that this brand is dedicated to bringing class-leading technology and luxury, but it also is a leader when it comes to safety. Lincoln’s new flagship has earned a five star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This tester was equipped with the optional Technology Package that included adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, active park assist and a 360-degree camera.
2017 Lincoln Continental Overall:
The 2017 Lincoln Continental is just the flagship that Ford’s luxury division needs, and better yet, it offers buyers a full luxury experience. Since luxury vehicles are more than just a car these days, the Black Label trim level comes standard with a four-year/50,000-mile total maintenance plan that includes pickup, delivery and a loaner car as well as amenities like complimentary annual detailing and a Culinary Collection membership to exclusive dining experiences.
A base 2017 Lincoln Continental will set you back $44,720* (a great price for a full-fledged luxury sedan), but if you want the full experience, the Black Label ups the ante with a starting price of $63,075*. This fully loaded tester had just about every bell and whistle Lincoln could dream up, and it carried an as-tested $77,170. Even at this price, the Continental is undercutting sedans that are pushing six figures.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Lincoln dealership and test drive the 2017 Lincoln Continental today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.