The Continental is Lincoln’s flagship model with 79 years of history in the name.
Its first year of production was almost eight decades ago back in 1940. The Continental has always has been all about presence and luxury, representing the pinnacle of American luxury automobile. Its status was solidified when the fourth generation Lincoln Continental was chosen by the Secret Services to be used as a presidential state vehicle.
The Continental line has since evolved into various forms including sedans, grand tourers and convertibles with varying levels of success. Recent predecessors did not fare well in the face of stiff competition from European rivals that reign supreme in the luxury. In 2019 we are into the Continental’s tenth generation; we look deeper to see how this 2019 Lincoln Continental Reserve oozing with presence holds its own in today’s market.
Long, taut and angular dressed with elegant yet simple lines like a gentlemen in a tuxedo. Large rectangular front grill proudly framing the Lincoln badge with bright but classy chrome finish. The bold and classy grill is accompanied by sophisticated premium LED headlamps housing five projector jewels to flaunt more class without being overzealous. The rear pipeline LED taillights connect across the rear to create width and road presence can be seen and recognized from miles away. The 20” polished aluminum wheels glitter under the city lights as you roll through the jungle of skyscrapers in absolute style.
The 2019 Continental has all the right bling worn by a bold and imposing body that balances out for an elegant and sophisticated exterior package. The presence on the road is legitimately felt by everyone. Bystanders are turning heads as they are keen to catch a glimpse of who is riding in the presidential transport.
The moment the doors are opened and the interior LED lights light up the luscious cabin, your jaws drop as the interior simply looks stunning. The cappuccino interior has a dark brown leather upper dash and steering contrasted with beige leather seats, consoles and door panels. The colour combination accentuates the spaciousness of the cabin. To garnish the interior, open pore wood inlays are used on the dash and center console along with chrome accents.
The Continental is not the most tech laden option in the market, but it has plenty of tech not to feel dated. Infotainment is an eight-inch touchscreen SYNC 3 system, a pleasure to use with intuitive menu arrangements. If SYNC 3 is not your cup of tea, you can fall back on either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The gauge cluster is a digital unit with clear and high resolution display that seems a bit small. Heads up display unit is standard on the car and easy to read, displaying useful information like road signs as well.
Lincoln’s Revel Ultima Audio System produces crisp and smooth sound waves that massage your eardrums for an immersive listening experience. The physical buttons in the interior are a bit of a letdown as they appear to have come from Ford’s parts bin. The interface of the infotainment is also the same as other Ford vehicles and only slightly dressed up with a different colour scheme. The resemblance with Ford products does not reflect poor quality, but it takes away from the vehicle’s prestige and uniqueness.
Where this interior shines is in the level of comfort it provides. The leather is extremely supple providing a sense of luxury just by touching the steering wheel and door handles. The front seats are 30-way adjustable with independent (left and right) thigh extenders, allowing an unmatched level of fine-tuned comfort. The seats are not only heated and ventilated, but they are equipped to massage and rejuvenate you after a long day.
This level of luxury is not only reserved for the front; both rear passengers are also pampered with the amenities minus some adjustability. Rear passengers also have a full set of controls to control the infotainment, rear climate and moon roof. Active Noise Control elevates the driving experience by cancelling out unwanted noise for a quiet and serene ride. The Continental pampers everyone without exception.
To get this land yacht moving along, Lincoln has dropped in a 3.0L twin-turbo charged V6 engine with 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel drive is equipped to enhance the Continental’s agility and driving experience. The Continental glides through the roads with adaptive suspension setup providing comfort, normal and sport settings. The Comfort mode suites the car best as it allows you to glide over all road imperfections complimenting the luxurious nature of the car.
The Lincoln felt a bit rougher than I would like in its “Normal” setting, and “Comfort” really is the mode to be in at all times. The steering felt heavy and substantial with purpose; I enjoyed the fact that Lincoln did not try to provide comfort by over-boosting. One short coming of the drivetrain is the transmission, which is a six-speed unit that can be a bit rough under heavy acceleration. The Lincoln drives smaller than its size suggests thanks to a powerful engine, agile suspension tuning and torque vectoring all-wheel drive.
With a curb weight of 1916kg, dated six-speed transmission and gutsy twin-turbo V6 engine; fuel economy is not something you would expect to be the Continental’s strength. It achieves a respectable rating of 14.0L/100km city and 9.4L/100km highway rating. No combined fuel rating is provided for this car, but my observed fuel rating was a healthy 13.2L/100km with mostly city driving. This result is very good considering the weight and power train of this car.
The Lincoln’s base price positions it as the bargain entry at $58,765. Our tester is top of the line Reserve model with a few options added. The following was added on the tester; Rear Seat Amenities Package ($5,000), Premium LED headlamps ($2,800), 20 inch Polished Aluminum Wheels with dark Tarnish painted pockets ($750), All Weather floor liners ($150), Perfect Position 30 way Seats with Active Motion ($750) and Revel Ultima Audio system ($2,700). This adds up to a fully loaded as tested price of $84,115 with no other options available.
At this price range, the Continental would compete with the Volvo S90 (reviewed here) the Cadillac CT6 and the Genesis G90. All of these competitors are better driver’s cars with more agile handling. The Lincoln Continental provides more modern luxury than the rivals, and definitely has its appeal. The G90 (reviewed here) really is the segment pick if understated value is what you’re after.
The car exudes a high level of elegance and sophistication that the driver must keep up to avoid being mistaken as the chauffeur. After years of varying success, I feel that this generation of the Continental has returned to its best form. The 2019 Lincoln Continental Reserve provides unprecedented levels of road presence with all the luxury to back it up. It would fit right into the presidential fleet again to carry on the fourth generation’s legacy.