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BACK FOR GLORY

It’s been awhile since there was a new Lincoln Continental gracing the American car lot. The last time it was available, the CD player, now something we associate with the Triassic period, was an optional upgrade over the cassette tape player. Since then, the brand has all but disappeared into the backdrop.

The New Year promises to be a big year for Lincoln, as it marks the return of their flagship Continental to dealerships across the country. It’s no small affair, either. The auto giant behind the Continental have spared no expense, buying their car a ticket straight to the big boy’s table where it’ll immediately compete with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The new car is loaded to the brim with luxury and driver comfort features that are sure to keep in on buyer’s minds.

Load with top tier amenities, here’s a look at what else has changed and what we can expect from the new Lincoln Continental.

Appearance.

Most noticeably, the car doesn’t outright steal design elements from the luxury auto mainstays. It’s a bit more laid back in its profile than other luxury cars, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how much you like to turn heads on the highway.

The new Lincoln sits somewhere between luxury sedan and family sedan, bold enough to make a statement upon its re-entry to the auto market, but not too aggressive of one.

The prevailing motif is bulky, imposing angles. From the LED headlights to the grill to the actual length and width of the car, presence is a goal. There’s plenty of car underneath the bulky veneer, too. All told, most configurations weigh in at about 4,550 pounds. The wheelbase is a bit lengthier than that of the car’s main competition, the Lexus LS, as is the car’s profile on all sides.

Performance.

While the car is heavy, it’s certainly not slow. The Continental has enough under the hood to provide ample acceleration, but the car’s ability to lug its weight around so effortlessly is more up to its tuning than anything else.

Lifted straight from the Mustang, a 3.7-liter V6 comes as standard, which produces 305 brake horsepower and 280lb-ft of torque. Available as options are two twin-turbo V6’s, a 2.7-liter variant that steps the performance figures up to 335 horsepower and 380lb-ft of torque, and another that brings Lincoln’s exclusive 3.0-liter engine to the table, allowing the Continental to max out at 400 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque.

Another variant is available in China, though Lincoln estimates the 2.7-liter turbocharged version will be the most popular worldwide.

Each of the engine options is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 3.7 and 2.7 models come standard with front-wheel drive, and the 3.0 model comes with a unique torque vectoring AWD system. With this setup, any one wheel can put down 100% of the car’s power.

Acceleration is surprising in the new Continental. Push your foot down even a little bit, and the car sets off in a flurry. The gearbox sometimes disengages power for what feels like a full half a second sometimes before engaging and rocketing the car forward, so there may be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to overtaking others.

The touchy and aggressive acceleration is likely the manufacturer’s way of allowing its modest engine and drivetrain combinations to pack the most punch. It works, and compensates for the car’s heaviness quite well, turning it into a nimble and capable sprinter. Still, it feels a bit “bitey” for a luxury auto, as if it’s trying a bit too hard to get you up to 60mph. Speaking of, the car gets that done in about five and a half seconds.

On the other hand, it’s a luxury auto with enough get-up-and-go to double as a sportster when you need it to. Just be aware that moving 4,500 lbs that quickly all the time can eat up fuel. Not the end of the world, as the car has an impressive 16/25/19 city/highway/combined fuel efficiency rating from the EPA.

Steering used to be boat-like in the Continental. These days, the makers have opted for responsive, feedback-heavy steering that endows a sense of control in the driver. It’s a lot of car, but it does have very sprite handling. There isn’t much play at all, and it feels perfect for leisurely driving and demanding driving alike.

20” wheels come as standard, and the suspension is customizable at the push of a button. Industry-standard sport and comfort configurations come onboard.

Interior.

Outside and under the hood, the new Lincoln is a performer. All things considered, that doesn’t seem like the area Lincoln spend the most time. That would be the interior, which is unquestionably stunning.

Leather, and leather everywhere was clearly the design motif the engineers had in mind for the 2017. Accented by wood trim, this attractive, soft, comfortable layout is turning heads across the industry. Even the back seats, which are lauded as the best seats in the house, are earning some spotlight.

There’s a consistent attention-to-detail throughout the car. Other manufacturers may opt to fall back on plastics in areas where the driver and passengers don’t often look, like the inside of the fold on the back of the front two seats.

The Continental is consistent if not anything else, boasting high-quality construction throughout the interior, with no signs of skimping out or cutting corners virtually anywhere. The luxury feel, particularly in the back seats, is undeniable, and breathes a newfound confidence into the class’ take on interiors. It’s the Continental’s first year back in a long time, and it’s a bit of a trendsetter already.

As for the dash, it’s what you’d expect from a luxury auto. The touch points are classy, and feel well made (and heavy). The controls are knurled metal, which blends in with the wood trim admirably. Those are present in the back as well, which gives the rear passengers a truly limo-like experience.

There are 24-way electric seats as standard, and all told, it’s a beautiful interior. Round the back, the trunk offers up a lot of width, but isn’t very deep. It’ll work for most practical applications.

Your Options.

The Continental no longer offers a cassette deck or optional CD player as its replacement, but you will find a ton of modern goodies available on the extras sheet.

You can get yourself a moonroof, heated and cooled power-reclining seats, rear seats with massage functionality (someone on the Continental design team clearly enjoys sitting in the back seat), and a Sync3 infotainment system.

Conclusion.

If ever you were a fan of the Lincoln Continental, 2017 is clearly a year you should pay attention to. It’s a big comeback year for the auto giant, and their once-flagship model is sure to play first fiddle again with all the features they’ve packed into the car.

Even if you’ve never driven one, which is excusable given its absence over the years, the new Continental is worth a look if you’re in the market for something that’ll drive well, look great, and make a statement.

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