2018 Lincoln Continental Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.9

The 2018 Lincoln Continental lets you choose between three V6 engines, two of which are turbocharged. The turbos are the better choices, as they move the Lincoln more energetically than the base engine. Still, this car is a luxury cruiser first and foremost – a notion that the Continental’s cushioned ride helps to reinforce. This Lincoln is composed around corners and has strong brakes as well, though some competitors' driving dynamics feel a bit more polished. Fuel economy is below average for the class.

  • "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 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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Continental comes standard with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 305 horsepower; a six-speed automatic transmission is also included. The engine has enough power for daily driving situations, but the transmission doesn’t always shift smoothly or on time.

This Lincoln is available with a 335-horsepower, 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 and a 400-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6. Both are better choices than the base engine thanks to their superior acceleration and more energetic feel. The twin-turbo V6 is only available in all-wheel-drive models.

The Continental’s base engine gets below-average fuel economy, earning an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The 2.7-liter turbo-V6 is the most fuel-efficient choice in the lineup; it gets 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)
  • My advice: spend the money on more interior options instead of the uprated engine." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

Handling and Braking

Despite its size, the Lincoln Continental doesn’t feel unwieldy on the road. There’s little body roll around corners and it stays planted. The brakes are strong, though the steering is a little vague. The ride is supple and makes this a great car to cruise around in. You can also choose from several modes that affect driving dynamics, but this luxury sedan lacks the ride and handling refinement that some rivals deliver. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The adaptive suspension offers several modes. While Comfort mode does smooth out larger road imperfections, it's also a bit bouncy and floaty. Sport mode is overly rough and busy when driving over uneven pavement. Similarly priced competitors are often smoother riding and more refined." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • 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 (2017)

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