by Mark Takahashi, Senior Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
Eight months into our yearlong long-term test of the 2017 Lincoln Continental, we passed the halfway point to our mileage goal. Somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the odometer crossed over the 10,000-mile mark. On that trip, I also managed to top the best result for fuel economy. Otherwise, in regular commuter duty the Continental has received praise and a few complaints. Click on through to see what we're up to.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Since our last update, we added another 1,861 miles to the odometer of our Continental. It averaged 19.2 mpg for the month. That's about 2 mpg better than our previous lifetime average, increasing the running tally 0.4 mpg by the end of August. Our best single tank in terms of mileage and range also increased, with a 24.3-mpg tank on my way up to San Francisco and a 419.9-mile range on my way back. (I was on fumes.) We're holding just above the EPA city estimate but below the combined figure.
Average lifetime mpg: 17.3
EPA mpg rating: 19 combined (16 city/24 highway)
Best fill mpg: 24.3
Best range: 419.9 miles
Current odometer: 10,447 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Cars are so fast these days that I fear we're losing perspective. Case in point: the new Lexus LC 500 grand tourer, which laid down a 4.9-second sprint to 60 mph and a 13.1-second quarter-mile at 109.3 mph in our instrumented testing. Want to know another car that put up those numbers? The 2013 BMW M3 Lime Rock Edition (4.9 seconds to 60 mph; 13.0 seconds at 109.9 mph). I don't remember anyone in the universe complaining that the V8-powered E90 M3 was slow. But here we are today, five years later, and automotive critics are carping that the LC 500 just isn't fast enough.
"Which brings me to our long-term Lincoln Continental. At our test track, it did 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and the quarter-mile in 13.7 seconds at 101.6 mph. If the LC 500 is disappointing, this Lincoln must be a pure embarrassment. Except it's not. Not at all. Our Continental is fast. It leaps off the line and never runs out of breath. It has a lightness of being that belies its beefy 4,662-pound mass. I could drive this car forever and never tire of its power delivery. I'd go so far as to call it 'forever fast,' regardless of how its numbers stack up at a given point in time.
"So let's adopt that as a category going forward, please. Forever fast. Are you with me? Certain cars are just fast, period. They'll never leave you wanting for more. Our Continental belongs in that category. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 picks this big sedan up and effortlessly hurtles it forward every time you squeeze the throttle. I don't have a greater need for speed than that, and I wager you don't, either. But you could be misled if I told you that some rival sedan had 100 more horsepower and hit 60 almost a second quicker and so forth.
"Well, I'm here to tell you: Don't be misled. This Lincoln objectively hauls the mail. That's all you need to know." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"The Continental has some serious sauce for a big luxury sedan. This was especially true on my round trip from L.A. to San Francisco and back. On long stretches of the 101 (it's prettier than the 5), I effortlessly passed slower traffic. The transmission reacts quickly, dropping you a few gears and pushing forward with determination." — Mark Takahashi, senior writer
"I'm going to disagree with my colleagues who said that they couldn't find a comfortable seating position. The 30-way adjustable seats may be a bit overkill, but I found them to be comfortable over a weekend and on a multihour drive through L.A. county freeways." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"I'm with Ron. It took me a while, but when I found my ideal setting, the miles clicked off with alarming frequency. Add in 20 minutes of massage at a time and ventilated seats and I was as comfortable as I've been in almost any car. I especially like that I can individually adjust the left or right seat cushions. My left leg is always higher because that foot rests on the dead pedal. With the Continental's seats, I can finally get perfect thigh support for both legs." — Mark Takahashi
"I like the solid thump of the Continental's driver door when I shut it. Pleasantly surprises me every time I grab the key to this thing. I can never lose sight of the fact that the Continental is fundamentally an Acura RLX type of flagship, i.e., one that traces its underpinnings back to a workaday front-wheel-drive family sedan (the Ford Fusion in the Lincoln's case, the Honda Accord in the Acura's). But I've never heard a Fusion door make a sound like that. It's a nice little signal to the shopper that details were indeed sweated in the making of this car." — Josh Sadlier
"As prominent as the badging is on the side of the Continental, you'd think that they'd take the time and care to make sure that the two segments line up. Nope. It's just a bit off. Just enough to really annoy me. C'mon, guys, you had one job (probably not; they had several tasks)." — Mark Takahashi
"The Lincoln Continental turns heads. In a good way. It has a really substantial footprint, and it's unapologetic about it. When I would stop for gas, I'd inevitably notice someone checking out the car. Sometimes they'd come up and ask questions. The turning point would eventually come when I disclose the $70,000 price tag. Ouch.
"In any case, the car really seemed to resonate with the owner of a gas station in Santa Ynez, right around the corner from a cheese store owned by a friend. He must've made four laps around the Continental, commenting on how good it looks. For the most part, I agree with him. It's stately and classy." — Mark Takahashi
"Our Lincoln Continental's push-button transmission joins the club of vehicles that have attempted to improve on the age-old gear lever. The Acura TLX V6 and the upcoming 2018 GMC Terrain are a few other examples that come to mind. None of these are good. If you need to quickly move from Reverse to Drive, most of us are able to do this on a traditional gearshift without looking. The Continental's buttons ask that you hit a roughly 1-inch square area to change directions. There needs to be a tactile feel to changing direction. I'm fine with the hockey puck-style shifters on Ram and Chrysler vehicles, too, since you can count the detents." — Ron Montoya
"I haven't been paying as close attention to audiophile equipment as I used to, so the branded premium audio system in the Continental didn't really resonate with me at first. Revel, according to the interwebs, was founded right here in L.A. back in 1996 and is now under the Harman umbrella of companies.
"Safe to say, I won't soon forget that name. The system in the Lincoln is excellent. We have the 19-speaker Revel Ultima system that takes up most of the $5,000 Luxury package option. There's a 13-speaker Revel system available for only $1,130, but I haven't experienced it yet.
"Our system is one of the best I've heard in a while. Almost as good as the $6,000 Bang & Olufsen option we had in the last long-term Audi A8 L. It has great clarity, even when I have it turned up to unreasonable levels. With all of the tone selectors at the default position, I needed a bit more bass. Pushing that slider up two out of the 10 markers solved that. On a trip to the symphony, I was able to hear some things I'd never heard in other systems. This included a very faint turn of a sheet music page during Holst's 'Jupiter.' Impressive.
"Is it worth it? That's your call. If you're an audiophile, $5,000 could be a bargain when you consider how expensive some components run nowadays. If I was spending $65,000 for a luxury sedan, I'm sure another $5,000 wouldn't break the bank. Priorities, people!" — Mark Takahashi
"Just as I started closing in on the 10,000-mile odometer milestone, a message began appearing on startup. Just the typical reminder that we're due for an oil change. According to our window sticker, our Continental is eligible for free pickup and delivery, so perhaps it's time to exercise that option. Stay tuned." — Mark Takahashi
Mark Takahashi, senior writer @ 10,447 miles