The 2018 Lincoln Continental marks the return of the past. Yes, the style’s a throwback—and a good one—but the Continental also became the first Lincoln to drop a three-letter name (“MKS”) and return to a badge from the archives.
The Continental now means everything the MKS didn’t: big motor, big chrome, big wheels.
Sold as a Premiere, Select, Reserve, or as a Black Label, the 2018 Continental comes up a winner with the unexpected pairing of an opulent, oligarch-friendly cabin and taut, powerful performance.
Review continues below
We give it a 7.6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Among rivals with pedigree and without the Continental stands out. It’s reconstituted the age-old luxury appeal of a Lincoln with lots of chromey details and a formal roofline. That counterprogramming works for us: the shoulders are broad, the wheelbase is long, the shape is formal, the details are emphatic. The big mesh grille and high-mounted door handles are particular highlights on a shape that might come off far too reserved without them. No worries on the cabin, on that note. The Conti’s cabin has rich trim and lots of gloss and chrome, unmistakably on-brand.
Lincoln sells the Continental with a choice of three V-6 engines: base, twin-turbo small-displacement, and twin-turbo slightly larger-displacement. Output rises to 400 hp on the top version, with all-wheel drive a needed upgrade over the stock front-drive configuration. We’d approve of more gears than the Continental’s 6-speed automatic provides.
Most versions have adaptive steering and adaptive shocks. They give the Continental a driving feel akin to a longer MKZ, which it is. Brisk acceleration, taut ride, and nimble responses for its size distance the Continental from the rear-drive field of Genesis G90s and the like.
With its ample wheelbase and overhangs, the Continental has lots of people space and trunk space. The cabin’s fitted with luxuries such as 30-way power seats and cooled chairs front and back, if you like. Head room is a bit scant, but 6-footers will find plenty of space.
Both safety agencies give hearty thumbs-up to the Lincoln’s crash-test performance, but some advanced safety features only come bundled in expensive packages on the pricier models. Even with base prices below $50,000, a loaded Continental sticker balloons to more than $80,000; a price that seems reachy, even for a car with interior themes modeled on horse-country couture.