Full 2008 Lincoln Town Car Review
What's New for 2008
Two trim levels, most options and half of the numerous exterior colors were eliminated for the 2008 Lincoln Town Car.
Let's cut to the chase for a moment; shoot straight, keep it real, beat through the bush. The 2008 Lincoln Town Car is a very old design with sloppy vehicle dynamics and a thirsty V8 that's less powerful than many V6 engines. While it may appeal to those who appreciate the good old days of large American luxury sedans, these good new days of car design offer superior engineering, equally strong safety ratings and large amounts of interior space without the Town Car's enormous exterior proportions.
Despite continuous improvements and redesigns over the years, the 2008 Town Car is a relic from a different time. It uses a body-on-frame platform that dates back to 1981, and along with the related Mercury Grand Marquis, is the only body-on-frame car on the market. The Town Car's suspension is equally antiquated -- take a turn over broken pavement and the rear end might jiggle and shake like a bowl of lime Jell-O placed on the head of Carmen Miranda. Finally, the 4.6-liter V8 makes 239 horsepower and 287 pound-feet of torque while achieving 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. That torque number is certainly respectable, but the combination of sluggish acceleration and SUV-like fuel economy is a tough pill to swallow.
Unless you're in the livery business or must have the extended backseat space, the Lincoln Town Car outlived its usefulness years ago. Similarly or lower-priced luxury vehicles like the Cadillac STS, Chrysler 300C, Acura RL and Lexus ES 350 offer large amounts of interior space, better power-to-fuel-economy ratios, strong safety scores and better driving dynamics for greater vehicle control. We're not a big fan of the Cadillac DTS either, but at least it's more modern than the Jurassic Town Car. To be perfectly frank, we'd look elsewhere.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Lincoln Town Car is a full-size luxury sedan available in two wheelbases/trim levels. All Town Cars seat six people thanks to a three-person front bench. The regular-wheelbase Signature Limited comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry with door keypad, a power-closing trunk, a tilt steering column, eight-way power front seats with driver memory settings, power-adjustable pedals, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a six-CD changer and a wood and leather steering wheel with audio, climate and speed controls.
The Signature L adds 6 inches to the wheelbase, creating a much larger backseat. It also includes heated rear seats, redundant rear seat audio/climate controls, a folding armrest with storage bin and two power points, redundant front passenger seat fore/aft control, and rear-seat vanity mirrors. The only factory-installed option is xenon HID headlamps, while satellite radio can be added by the dealer.
Powertrains and Performance
All 2008 Town Cars are powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 239 hp and 287 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission. Expect a 0-60-mph time in the mid-8-second range for the Signature Limited and longer for the Signature L. Fuel economy estimates for 2008 are 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
While the 2008 Lincoln Town Car comes standard with front side airbags, it does not offer head curtain airbags for either the first or second row. Traction control is standard but stability control is not available. The Town Car received the top five-star rating from the government in all crash test categories -- one of the few vehicles to do so. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Town Car the highest rating of "Good" for offset frontal impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Lincoln Town Car is, first and foremost, big. It has a generous interior and a massive trunk (21 cubic feet). The Signature L adds an extended wheelbase with humongous backseat space that is rivaled only by substantially more expensive import luxury sedans. Seats are La-Z-Boy comfy without any of that side-pinching lateral support. Audio and climate controls are straightforward, while the dash essentially maintains the same flat T-shape design that has been in the Town Car since the 1980s. If you've owned a big Lincoln before (or driven in a lot of limos), you'll feel right at home. If you haven't, you may start to wonder if Ronald Reagan is still president.
Power from the Town Car's V8 should be adequate for most buyers, but is certainly lacking compared to similarly priced luxury sedans. Nonetheless, the big Lincoln is able to pass with ease, and freeway cruising at 80 mph is quiet and comfortable. The ride is comfortable, in an on-the-high-seas sort of way. Many luxury buyers may like it, but if you like to feel connected to the road in any way, forget about it. Compared to past Town Cars, the 2008 edition is a decent handler -- the steering has some feel to it, and the body doesn't roll too much around corners.