Caraganza First Drive Review 2017 Lincoln Continental Reserve AWD
The first car I ever owned was a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. The year was 1978 and I was a wee lad of 16; newly licensed and set loose on America’s roads. It was still the era when most people traded cars every couple of years and my parents were no different. My dad used to say that they bought a new car whenever the ashtray in the old one got full.
So then I was gifted the Lincoln and unlike hand me down clothes from an older sibling, it was mighty okay with me. The caveat was I had to work a real job and pay my parents a monthly stipend for insurance.
That too was mighty alright with me because when I wasn’t working I tooled around in that big Lincoln usually carrying far more passengers than I’m sure was legally allowed. And those passengers were many times the female friends of my one-year younger sister; advantage me.
I loved that big Lincoln and had it until I had been in the military for a couple of years. I probably would have kept It forever, but one dark and stormy night on the Pennsylvania Turnpike it stopped running. I was with my new wife, who for the record came from among that group of my sister’s friends. We were picked up from the side of the road by a Pennsylvania State Trooper and carried to a local hotel while the Lincoln was towed to a local service station. I of course, sat in the back of the patrol car, while my young, and very beautiful wife sat up front with the Trooper.
It turned out to be a minor issue with the engine and we were back on the road early the next morning, but I knew that it was time to send the beloved Lincoln, which by then had well over 100,000 miles, to the great junkyard in the sky.
From that point I had various cars; a Chevy Impala, a 1968 Pontiac LeMans that doubled as a street stock racer on the weekends (and which did not score many points with the still young wife), a new off the lot Camaro which I once snuck onto the Miami Grand Prix circuit and ran laps with until the Miami PD suggested I leave; then once kids came along a Dodge Caravan (which did score many points with the wife).
The point is that none of my cars since then have left as much of a lasting impression as that Continental did.
I never could afford to buy another one given the salary of a soldier who was a terrible racecar driver, and after 2002 it didn’t matter as the Lincoln Continental was no more.
Well now it’s back, and I for one couldn’t be happier.
Yes, Lincoln has brought back the famed Continental replacing the MKS. But it’s not just a retooled MKS, which some said was nothing more than a gussied-up Taurus. Instead the Continental is looking to make a splash in the luxury car market, but do so very quietly.
And after Lincoln sent me one of these new Continentals for a recent week, I can say that they are, so far at least, succeeding.
There are four trims available starting with the well-equipped Premier followed by the Select that adds even more and has some packages not available on the Premier. Then there is the even more well-equipped Reserve which is what I had for my week, and the top of the line Black Label which adds among other things, access to Lincoln's Black Label concierge program.
The standard engine is a 3.7-liter V6 (305 horsepower, 280 pound-feet) matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s the same engine found in the outgoing MKS. Also available for the Reserve and Black Label is the Lincoln exclusive 3.0-liter turbocharged engine with 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft torque. My tester for the week had the 3.0 along with All-Wheel Drive and all the suite of luxury and safety features like 30-way power seats with massage, front collision avoidance and blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems.
My tester also had the rear seat package with center console controls, rear-side sunshades, adjustable heated and cooled seats with massage and a large panoramic moonroof.
The outside look is refined, but not loud; it stands out but doesn’t blend in.
The overall interior looks nothing like the MKS; it’s completely new with a nice luxurious feel that starts the quiet luxury story. It isn’t overstated nor ostentatious like some others in its class. The luxury is subtle, refined, and not in your face.
All that carries over to the road.
The drive is smooth and with the 3.0 there is amazing power. Comparing this to the BMW 760i xDrive I had a few weeks ago there are similarities and differences.
That’s not to take away from the BMW; it’s very good. But while the 760i is like an old English library with dark paneled walls, closed windows, and a room full of old men who smoke cigars, the Continental is the library that is in an upscale neighborhood with more lights and no dark paneling.
The 12-cylinder 601 horses in the BMW would explode off the line and leave you breathless, almost out of control. The 400 under the hood Continental seemed to be almost saying “You need power? You got power.” There was much more control here, and overall you didn’t feel like you were being a flamboyant ass on the road.
In short, the only thing I didn’t like about the 2017 Lincoln Continental is the fact I don’t have one in my driveway. No, it doesn’t have the vaunted reputation of a BMW 7 Series or a Mercedes S-Class, but the Lincoln Continental is back, and ready to stand up to its rivals. Just don’t try and hear them shout that to the world.
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