The Suave Continental

When the new Lincoln Continental sat in our driveway, it seemed to radiate power, money and stylish aggression. It might not have been, as Frank Lloyd Wright once said of his 1940 Continental, “the most beautiful car ever designed.” But it is a long step forward for the brand and proof of the company’s intentions to put some grandeur back in Lincoln’s wheelhouse.

The revival started a few years ago with some fun crossovers, the MKC and MKX. Lincoln’s princely SUV, the Navigator, has just been given a magnificent remake. Lincoln sales are rising, too, especially in China’s booming market, which led the manufacturer to dust off the Continental nameplate, last used fifteen years ago, and create a four-seater in a style motif that echoes the sleek authority of Jaguar and Bentley. The robust front end is far friendlier than the snowplow look seen on some of its high-priced rivals.

Lincoln’s Program Engineer Mike Celentino told me he wanted a “serene interior.” The command cabin is damned handsome with a cool blend of surfaces, and the dashboard can be configured to personal preferences. It’s as hushed as a cathedral—until you crank up the sound system’s Revel Ultima audio speakers.

Primarily a luxury hunk, this Continental will still respond to energetic driving without any wallowing or complaint. Its two tons of steel regality, however, is not really the ideal piece for any extreme, teenage friskiness. Our tester was the optioned-up Reserve model with a meaty 400-horsepower engine, all-wheel-drive, a host of glistening technology packages and a $74,000 price tag. For considerably less—closer to $50,000—is the Standard package with a strong-enough, 305-horsepower V-6 and front-wheel-drive (AWD optional). It might be missing the million-way adjustable seats, twin moonroofs and the like, but it most assuredly still looks like the king’s own chariot in your driveway.

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SPECIFICATIONS

Base Price: $56,075
As Tested: $74,095
Power: 400-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 w/all-wheel-drive
EPA Mileage Ratings: 16 city/24 highway; 19 combined