Retro charisma. One look at the 2019 Lincoln Continental and you’ll understand that it’s not like the other luxury barges. There’s no German understatement here, nor any trace of Japanese efficiency. No, the Continental is pure American brawn, with the legacy nameplate to match. Profile badging decorates muscular shoulders, the door handles are integrated into the trim, the headlights and taillights are sleek LEDs, and chrome accents are sprinkled liberally throughout.
Although front-wheel drive distorts the stance slightly, the Continental still gains presence from size alone. On the 20-inch rims of Black Label models, it’s as stately as anything on the road.
V6 grunt. All that bulk takes some power to move, and the Continental rises to the challenge once more. Base models get a competent 3.7-liter V6 producing 305 horsepower. A mid-range engine adds a couple turbochargers, while the range-topping 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 produces 400 hp and 400 pound-feet of torque. An available adaptive suspension tames the Continentals mass in the corners, helped along by a precise steering system.
The powertrain is let down only by its transmission, a six-speed automatic. Although smooth, the gearbox is down a couple cogs on more modern competitors. Fuel economy is old-school as well – the most efficient Continental achieves an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon combined. That’s not uncommon for luxury cruisers, but the Cadillac CT6 gets up to 28 mpg combined.
Kingly interior. One of our favorite Lincoln features is their ability to make top trims feel truly special. Where many brands simply add all the options and slap on a price tag, Lincoln’s Black Label themes offer unique and eye-catching colors that elevate the already luxurious interior. On the Continental, our favorite is the Rhapsody theme, which swathes the interior in dark-blue leather and manages to be both restrained and flashy.
But the lower trims don’t suffer, either. The cabin is spacious and dignified, with high-gloss surfaces that add to the retro appeal. Storage options abound, and the trunk has a capacity of 16.7 cubic feet, which compares well against most competitors.
The Continental starts under $50,000, which is much cheaper than German rivals. The value is certainly there, but some options are worth the extra cost, like the 30-way adjustable seats and the adaptive suspension.
Modern safety. Although the Continental may be a blast from the past in some ways, safety isn’t one. All Continentals come with Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360 system, which includes all the latest and greatest active safety tech, including adaptive cruise control.
This is to be expected on most modern luxury sedans, but the Continental walks the walk – the NHTSA awarded the car a nearly perfect score, and the IIHS gave the Continental a Top Safety Pick Plus award.
Final thoughts. Big, American luxo-barges seem like a dying breed these days. Luxury buyers are flocking to larger cars, and the imported competition is stiff.
There are reasons to dislike the Continental. The transmission and fuel economy are old-fashioned, and it’s not as athletic as the German titans (although it doesn’t cost as much, either). But when everyone on the block is driving luxury SUVs, a 2019 Lincoln Continental becomes even more of a statement. Continental is a nameplate with a storied history, and the 2019 model has the personality to back it up. Even against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7-Series, and the Lexus LS, the Continental’s distinctive character makes it worth a look.