Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Smooth Luxury: the 2019 Lincoln Continental Reserve

Visit the website for Lincoln Motors and you’ll see the complete lineup of vehicles on offer. Most of them are SUVs. This is a concession to current buyer preferences, but it overshadows the magic of the company’s longest-lived model, one that deserves consideration even among SUV buyers: the 2019 Lincoln Continental sedan.

First impressions

Subtle elegance in a large sedan body will always turn heads. Just ask the owners of certain high-end German or British sedans that Lincoln designers are targeting with the Continental. As other automakers muscle their way into the “look-at-me” drivers market (at more competitive prices), my time in this Magnetic Gray Metallic Continental tells me Lincoln has refined the model keep pace. A lovingly sculpted hood passes smooth lines across the doors to a slightly tapered rear window. Those lines are attractively drawn out to become door handles that fit into the window sills before continuing on their way. That taper makes the rear ”haunches” stand out, adding attractive definition to the trunk lid and back end.

Add definitive front and rear lighting systems and a smattering of design details, and this Lincoln fits the bill for a modern luxury cruiser.

Interior

Entering the Continental is an experience in itself. Approach the vehicle and it lights up. Lincoln logo “welcome mats” illuminate the ground on both sides of the car as you reach for the backlit door handles. Sit down in the car, close the door, and notice the folding side-view mirors quietly swing into position for the upcoming drive. This tech-enabled sequence sets the right tone for the experience that awaits.

All four “outboard” seats recline, are heated and cooled, AND provide massages. Yes, massages. That’s why buyers interested in the Continental may choose to experience the rear seats first.

image courtesy Lincoln

Cappuccino-coloured leather mixes well with wood and metallic accents, creating a pleasing colour palette throughout the car. It even stretches as far as the colours used in the touchscreen, fully digital instrument cluster and heads-up display.

The tactile experience is uniformly luxurious throughout this sedan. Pull down the rear seat armrest (there’s a passthrough to the trunk if required) to access climate controls (with their own screen) for the rear seats. (Cupholders and a storage compartment are also part of the armrest.) Cold or hot air blow through several vents, including ones mounted in the door pillars. Massage controls are to be found on the door (the screen indicates what massage mode is in use) and, for privacy, each door is equipped with a pull-up mesh privacy screen. Rear seats also recline to about the extent of economy class airplane seats. Legroom and headroom are plentiful. (The person on the passenger side can move an unoccupied front seat forward to stretch out even more.) A panoramic moonroof lets the sun shine in to the rear of the cabin as well as the front. The whole package makes this Continental a great choice for people who hire drivers to get them from A to B.

Drivers enjoy all the same amenities, plus a heated steering wheel. The front 30-way adjustable seats seem “mounted” to a hard shell, a design decision that makes these seats a little more space-age than the rest of the car.

image courtesy Lincoln

Hockey bag test

The trunk accommodated my bag longitudinally and had room for a second of equal size. Sticks slid through the aforementioned passthrough.

In-cabin technology

The Sync system that Lincoln shares with Ford vehicles comprises an above-average fully featured touchscreen-centred infotainment system. Whether using the Lincoln system or Apple CarPlay, it consistently responded as required. Sound came through a 19-speaker Revel audio system. The speakers provide the aforementioned metallic design accents.

image courtesy Lincoln

Thankfully, Lincoln provides physical buttons for commonly accessed features like the heated steering wheel and volume and tuning knobs, plus a few more audio controls. As an upgrade, I’d recommend placing buttons along the side (or bottom) of the screen to take drivers to features like audio, navigation, main menu and so forth. Those controls line the bottom of the Sync screen but they disappear when using CarPlay, so the driver must devote more attention to the screen to “tap towards” said features.

image courtesy Lincoln

Technologies presently reserved to high-end vehicles are also present on the Lincoln. These include using the car as a Wi-Fi hot spot and using features from a remote location on your phone.

If any of this confuses you, remember that Lincoln (like several of its competitors) offers a “digital concierge” service to answer your questions.

Note: transmission buttons (P. R. N, D and S) reside to the immediate left of the touchscreen. While I doubt anybody will accidentally touch one of these buttons when the car is in motion. I do wonder about this layout decision.

A compartment under the climate controls holds two USB ports and a wireless device charging pad.

Lincoln complemented the fully digital instrument cluster with a heads-up display (HUD). Kudos for placing HUD controls on the steering wheel and the ease with which one can adjust the HUD. Both the cluster and the HUD are easy to read.

image courtesy Lincoln

Driving

Lincoln offers several v6-centred drivetrain packages on the Continental. My tester was propelled by a 3.0L V6 twin-turbo engine that puts up to 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque through a 6-speed transmission to all four wheels. For the sports-minded buyer, the steering wheel features paddle shifters. 

Yes, there’s plenty of power here. But as Lincoln reminds us in an ad featuring a movie star driving a stablemate of the Continental, the brand is about “performance that leaves you feeling better.” Comfort, Normal and Sport drive modes are available. You can bring out the beast hiding under this car’s elegant exterior. But the adaptive suspension, dynamic torque vectoring and other technologies that result in the Continental’s smooth responsiveness may lull you into just enjoying the moment.

(About that ad: no, I don’t know if that one has been spoofed yet. If you have time, search for and enjoy the spoofs on these Lincoln commercials. You’re welcome.)

That’s not to say the drive technology is to be glossed over. Co-Pilot360 is a basket of driving tech that includes both ubiquitous and high-end conveniences. Adaptive cruise control and a lane-keeping system reduce road fatigue on long trips (particularly of the stop-and-go variety) while enhanced park assist makes short work of parallel and angle parking.

It all fits the theme of this car: less stress for the driver; greater comfort for passengers. This is Lincoln’s target, and the Continental scores a direct hit.

Pricing

The Lincoln Continental Reserve retails for $68,265 MSRP. With options and fees, the sedan I enjoyed sells for $85,515 MSRP.

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