Set to finally roll into showrooms a little later this year, Lincoln will offer the new Continental sedan at a starting price of $45,485 – including delivery fees — undercutting most of its key rivals by as much as $10,000.
First unveiled in concept form at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, the 2017 Lincoln Continental will mark the return of one of the most storied nameplates in the brand’s history. It is also set to become one of the most important offerings in the long-struggling Lincoln’s ongoing turnaround efforts.
Rather than targeting top-line models like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7-Series, however, Lincoln is targeting the slightly lower, if still exclusive, mid-premium range that includes the E-Class and 5-Series, as well as the Lexus GS and Audi A6.
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The strategy makes sense from a volume standpoint, those models far outselling the top-range lines. But whether the new Continental can deliver the sort of brand halo Lincoln needs is a question that will take time to determine. The good news for Ford’s luxury brand is the buzz that has surrounded the Continental since making what was a completely unexpected debut in New York last year.
The 2017 Lincoln Continental concept introduced the marque’s all-new grille design – though it is already in production on both the updated MKZ sedan MKX utility vehicle. Lincoln also used the Continental concept to show off its unique , 30-way “Perfect Position” driver’s seat. Among other things, it allows for separate support of each thigh, since a driver’s left and right leg are usually held at different heights.
In a break from luxury tradition, Lincoln will offer no V-8 option with the new Continental. The base car will come with a 335-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 that can be swapped out for the smaller but more powerful twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 making 400-hp.
(In China, which could eventually become Lincoln’s largest market, heavy, displacement-based taxes have led the marque to use a twin-turbo 2.0-liter EcoBoost in the base package.)
(MKZ redux. Click Here to check out the remake of Lincoln’s base sedan.)
Even in the luxury market, price still matters, and so, the 2017 Lincoln Continental will start out at $44,560 plus $925 in delivery fees — $45,485 if you don’t have a calculator handy. That’s one of the lowest base prices in the segment, only the Volvo S80, starting at $44,390 plus delivery fees, comes in under that number. The base Mercedes E350, by comparison, is $10,000 more. Cadillac’s CTS comes closest, at $46,555, while the Audi A6 – Lincoln’s primary target – starts at $47,125 plus delivery.
Of course, you might have to work hard to find a base Continental, if tradition holds. Lincoln is likely to produce just enough of the stripped Premiere series models to justify advertising that number, but it’s expecting the strongest demand for the mid-range Select and Reserve trims, and then the somewhat customized Continental Black Label line.
That limited-edition version will start at $63,840. But even there, there will be plenty of options to choose from.
(First drive: Cadillac CT6. Click Here for the review.)
All-wheel-drive, for example, will be $2,000 on all trim and powertrains packages. That twin-turbo EcoBoost itself will set you back $3,265. And those Perfect Position seats carry a $1,500 option charge. The add-on checklist includes an $1,130 Revel stereo, $1,750 panoramic roof, and even a CD player – at $335 – bumps up the final price which can nudge up into the low $80,000 range for a fully loaded 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label.
Lincoln claims it has already logged 40,000 hand-raisers who have expressed a strong interest in buying the new Continental. How the price tag will compute with potential buyers remains to be seen.