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2018 Lincoln Continental Overview
For buyers seeking a plush, powerful American-made luxury sedan, the 2018 Lincoln Continental is a great option. With the rise of SUV and crossover popularity in the early 21st century, GM suspended production of the Continental in 2002, replacing it in the lineup with the Lincoln MKS sedan. Revived in 2017 for its tenth generation, the all-new Continental returns as the automaker's flagship sedan.
Following its rollout year, the new Continental changes little for 2018. Minor updates were made to its four trims, the base Premiere, the mid-range Select, the high-end Reserve, and the top-level Black Label. All trims now come equipped with a 4G LTE data connection for on-board Wi-Fi hotspots. Lincoln Connect, a way for owners to connect to their car's features via the Lincoln Way app, is also now standard. The Reserve trim receives an upgraded 13-speaker Revel surround-sound audio system with HD Radio. At the top of the line, the Black Label now comes standard with the Climate and Technology packages, which include features like adaptive cruise control, enhanced park assist, lane-keep assist, heated rear seats, and a twin-panel moonroof with power shades. In addition, Lincoln adds new Ivory Pearl, Iced Mocha, and Blue Diamond exterior colors for 2018, as well as a Rhapsody Blue color exclusively for the Select trim.
Beyond updates, the five-passenger Continental remains well-equipped and comfortable inside. Even the base Premiere comes standard with luxury-oriented features such as dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats, soft-touch upholstery, ambient lighting, and wood trim. Tech features include an 8-inch touchscreen, the automaker's SYNC 3 infotainment system, a reversing camera, and a 10-speaker premium audio system with satellite radio.
The Select trim sweetens the deal with additions like Bridge of Weir perforated leather upholstery and rear USB charging ports. The Reserve gets navigation, tri-zone climate control with a rear-seat temperature control, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, and the upgraded 13-speaker audio system. The Black Label pulls out all the stops with extras like Venetian leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, 24-way power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats with power thigh extenders, and a 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system. Options are wide-ranging and include 30-way power-adjustable front seats, a head-up display, and several interior color themes for the Black Label trim, such as Chalet, Thoroughbred, and Rhapsody themes, each offering unique leather upholstery and trim.
Outside, no changes have been made to the Continental's well-balanced exterior design that emphasizes gentle curves, smooth lines, and an overall aerodynamic look. It's not flashy or overstated. Instead, it represents what the automaker calls "quiet luxury." A chrome mesh grille with active grille shutters establishes the Lincoln look out front, while electronic door handles integrate into the belt line just below the windows, providing uninterrupted side lines. Fade-on exterior lighting illuminates the door handles, headlights, and taillights as the driver approaches the vehicle.
Standard exterior features for all Continentals include HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, dual chrome exhaust tips, and heated power-folding mirrors with integrated turn signals. All trims except the Premiere also get auto-folding mirrors, power-cinch doors, and a hands-free power trunk lid. The Black Label adds premium LED headlights and optional Caviar Dark Gray and Elite exterior colors. The Premiere trim rides on 18-inch aluminum wheels, while the Select and Reserve both get distinctive 19-inch aluminum wheels. The Black Label upgrades to 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with Black Label center caps.
The Continental rides on a front-wheel-drive (FWD) platform, which it shares with the entry-level Lincoln MKZ sedan, as well as the Ford Fusion; although, Lincoln has stretched the wheelbase by 5.7 inches over the MKZ (117.9 vs 112.2 inches). An adaptive suspension, standard on all trims, offers Comfort, Normal, and Sport driving modes. Reviewers say the Continental's ride leans more toward comfort than agility. Electric power-assisted adaptive steering and active noise control also help ensure a quiet ride. Other standard features include the automaker's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system and Auto Hold, which holds the car at a standstill at stop signs and traffic lights —even if the driver releases the brake—until the gas pedal is pressed. Owners can add optional Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control on the Reserve and Black Label trims for improved agility and stability.
The Continental tips the scales at a hefty 4,224 pounds, so it needs plenty of power, which is provided by a trio of engines, to move it along. Buyers seeking optimal power will want to choose the twin-turbo 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine available as an option on the Reserve and Black Label trims. It pumps out 400 horsepower and a matching 400 pound-feet of torque and mates to a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters, standard on all Continentals. Fuel economy numbers suffer, checking in at just 16 mpg city, 24 highway, and 19 combined. Lincoln includes the Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system with the bigger twin-turbo 6-cylinder, which requires an upgrade to all-wheel drive (AWD).
Base power for the Premiere and Select trims comes from a 3.7-liter 6-cylinder engine delivering 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It posts slightly better fuel economy numbers of 17, 26, and 20. With optional AWD, those numbers drop to 16, 24, and 19. In the middle of the engine trio, and perhaps the best choice for Continental buyers, is a twin-turbo 2.7-liter 6-cylinder, which is standard on the Reserve and Black Label trims and optional on the Select. It generates a respectable 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque and manages middling fuel economy numbers of 18, 27, and 21 with FWD and 17, 25, and 20 with AWD.
The Continental was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and received a safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety features are extensive and include front knee and side-curtain airbags, a post-crash alert system, and panic brake assist. The Black Label adds a 360-degree camera and numerous driver-assistance features. Owners can add inflatable rear safety belts as an option on all trims except the Premiere.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.
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