$31,784 - $46,946

2017 Lincoln Continental Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Lincoln Continental was new.


Performance: 8.0

The 2017 Lincoln Continental doesn't pretend to be anything other than a luxury sedan that prioritizes comfort over performance. That said, there are still three engine choices that deliver plenty of power, and the top engine is a twin-turbo V6 with outstanding acceleration. No matter which engine you choose, don't expect a fuel-efficient ride; the Continental's fuel economy is below average for the class.

The Continental has a cushioned ride, and you can select from several driving modes to make the ride firmer or softer as you see fit. Despite its large size, the Continental handles corners easily and with little body roll. Reviewer opinions are split about the steering's sharpness.

  • "We are glad there's a car in this segment making its compromises on the side of luxury instead of pretending to be a two-and-a-half-ton sports car. We would be perfectly happy to drive a Continental to SEMA next week, for instance, then cruise the strip in it. People in Vegas would appreciate this big Lincoln and we could pack five of the suckers in here and show them a real good time in that town. We were thinking the whole time we were driving it that we'd be perfectly happy having this as a daily driver for the rest of our natural lives if only we had $78,510 and a slightly larger driveway." -- Autoweek
  • "The Continental feels effortless to drive, whether I'm slogging along in Los Angeles' heavy traffic or flogging it through the twisting turns of Malibu's canyon roads." -- CNET
  • "Lincoln executives admit the Continental is not meant to be a drag-strip special, but its performance is more than suitable for the segment." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The Continental features a 3.7-liter V6 base engine that puts out 305 horsepower. It delivers ample power for most driving situations, but there are two more-powerful choices to choose from: a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that produces 335 horsepower and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that puts out 400 horsepower.

The turbocharged engines deliver better power and acceleration, and the 400-horsepower engine can even make you occasionally forget that comfort is the Continental's top priority. Still, this is no sport sedan, and some test drivers think there's no reason to pay extra for the most-powerful engine because the 2.7-liter V6 delivers ample performance.

Fuel economy is not one of the Continental's strong points. With the base engine, the Continental gets an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which are below average numbers for the class, especially compared to other V6-powered sedans. The Continental’s best fuel economy comes with the 2.7-liter engine, which earns 18 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway.

All engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Opinions about the transmission range from lukewarm to dismal, with some reviewers noting that many class rivals have better gearboxes. The Continental's automatic doesn't always shift on time, and the shifts can feel rough.

  • "It's smooth, quiet and packs plenty of power to get the Continental moving smartly. Off the line, acceleration is acceptable when left in Drive, but when you push the Sport button on the push-button transmission controls, the powertrain wakes up. Accelerator response becomes much more immediate, lower gears are held longer and the big car feels noticeably quicker." -- Cars.com
  • "The six-speed automatic transmission proved another rough spot. It can shift at odd times, and often it doesn't work transparently, especially on mid-throttle roll-offs from the line. Occasionally it lurched into second gear as if the car were hiccuping; once, it seemed to disconnect from the engine completely for half a second, then slammed into gear as if the car had been rear-ended, eliciting a startled gasp from both driver and passenger. We're guessing that more elegant powertrain calibrations will roll out over time as buyer feedback comes in." -- Car and Driver
  • "My advice: spend the money on more interior options instead of the uprated engine." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard in the Continental, and all-wheel drive is available. The Continental is undeniably a big vehicle, but it still remains poised on the road. It has good road grip when cornering, even at speed, and there isn't too much body lean. The steering draws mixed reviews, with some saying that it feels well-weighted, while others argue that it doesn't provide enough feedback and can lead to a feeling of uncertainty around some turns. The Continental has sturdy brakes, and it delivers a composed ride that's ideal for cruising. There are multiple driving modes to select from as well, so you can find a firmer or softer ride, depending on your preference.

  • "Putting it through handling exercises few owners will try, I'm impressed by how well the Continental holds the road. The body remains relatively flat as I slew it through a few turns, and in a few faster corners, I feel surprisingly good rotation. A Lincoln spokesperson later tells me that the 3.0-liter V6 doesn't just bring in an all-wheel-drive system, it also includes mechanical torque vectoring, overdriving the outside rear wheel in a turn to aid handling." -- CNET
  • "The car's handling and braking were similarly confidence inspiring, with far more capability to quickly travel Malibu's canyon roads than 99 percent of owners will ever need. This was a pleasant surprise given the Continental's substantial size and weight." -- Forbes
  • "The adaptive steering could use work, seeing how the rack feels too quick, unintuitive, and provides little feedback. I found myself turning the wheel too far for a given corner or maneuver, needing to make regular small corrections. Its steering exaggerated the front-wheel-drive nature of the Continental, especially at low speeds. The car lacks the balanced, highly engineered feel you find in the leading luxury cars in the segment. But overall the 2017 Lincoln Continental is a pleasant, refined automobile that enjoys being driven at a reasonable pace. Lincoln loyalists especially will be very impressed with it." -- Automobile Magazine

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