The New Lincoln Continental Black Label

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The 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label is definitely not your father’s Lincoln—with that hardtop and the coach doors made famous by Vinnie, Drama, and Turtle on Entourage. While his 1962-ish version may have been stately (read: luxo-barge), the new Black Label is sleek, quick, responsive and even agile. The luxurious touches in the 2017 model would also make the 1960s designers swoon with envy, with details like an Alcantara headliner, a sunroof almost as large as the full interior, diamond-tufted heated and cooled massaging front seats (adjustable 30 ways), power recline rear seats, a wood-and- leather steering wheel, 360-degree front/rear cameras, satellite radio and much more.

Its moniker is part of a Lincoln campaign to offer the Black Label experience—a high level of member privileges—including mobile showroom that comes to you, multiple options for finer finishes than are typically seen in American vehicles, complimentary car washes any time, free annual detailing, and even a curated list of fine restaurants across the country (with reservation assistance provided by its Culinary Concierge), plus your first dinner for two paid for by Lincoln. Clearly, the company has decided to offer extra-special service with its cars: for the first four years of ownership, when your Black Label requires maintenance, Lincoln will also come to your home or work, pick up your car, drop off a loaner and then reverse the process when your car is finished. But wait, there’s more! In this age of self-driving (or drive-assisting) cars, Lincoln does one better: for $30 an hour, the company will send a chauffeur and drive you around.

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The white-on-white Black Label we tested had some pretty impressive stats to post: all-wheel drive, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 putting out 400 horses and 400 pounds of torque (the car offers 2.7, 3.0 or 3.7-liter engines; a front-wheel-drive variant is also available with some powerplants).

Starting at approximately $65,000 (or under $45,000 for the non- Black Label edition), ours would have cost about $77,300—however, it had options like auto park (both parallel and perpendicular), adaptive cruise control (that can take you from freeway speeds to stop and back up again), the aforementioned reclining rear seats (also heated and ventilated) with the ability for the rear- seat occupant to push a button to move the front passenger seat way up for gobs of legroom, lane- departure and rear cross-traffic warnings, plus a basket full of other goodies.

Perhaps most striking about the car is that it has enough moxie to actually back up the sports fittings.
horses fed through a six-speed Selectshift transmission with—wait for it—paddle shifters, the Continental can take you to any track, be it the Kentucky Derby (where you will arrive suitably relaxed and resplendent in all of your finery) or Laguna Seca (where you’d plan on some hot laps).

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There are also settings for Comfort, Normal and Sport that actually achieve what they promise in both ride and handling. And you probably wouldn’t expect to see something akin to active seats in a Continental, but here they are—with adjustable bolsters straight out of the M- and AMG playbooks. The Revel Ultima stereo system, with 19 speakers and satellite radio, can provide a concert hall experience, as well, from any era your heart desires.
From stop-and-go commuter traffic, open road cruising, city drives and even canyons, the car was a joy. Steering was, at once, both communicative and easy, and—most of all—provided that one luxury so lacking in today’s world: quiet. In fact, the Lincoln folks have done a great job corralling all of those pesky decibels and putting a hush on them.

With prodigious rear-seat legroom, the 2017 Continental is destined to be a hit with the town car crowd, but—with its serious performance attributes—is perfect for the “active driver” too or, dare we say, soccer dad. It’s also ideal for weekend getaways, as you could certainly fit two golf bags and some luggage in the trunk and still have room left over. Even our weekend getaway, with more stuff than people ought to bring on a trip, was easily handled by the cavernous trunk.

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And although beauty is subjective, the design of the front fascia, the HID lights and LED surrounds, the side view with the clean and clever door handles up high, and super sleek rear make this car easy to identify as a Continental. We even spent some time in Newport Beach, where it fit right in parked between the Rolls-
Royces and Porsches at Fashion Island and was front-and-center for the arriving crowd to admire at the Summer Concert Series at the Hyatt Regency, igniting plenty of looks and inquiries.
If your musical taste runs the gamut like ours, you might remember Charlie Ryan and the Livingston Brothers’ mid-1950s song “Hot Rod Lincoln.” The last lines are especially memorable, where the teenage son remembers his father’s admonishment: “My pappy said, ‘Son, you’re gonna’ drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t stop drivin’ that Hot Rod Lincoln.” As it happens, that powerful V-12 engine to which the song refers only produced about 25 percent of the horsepower found in today’s Continental Black Label.

The final verdict: it does a great job traveling from Point A to Point B shielded from the noise of the outside world. It has enough ‘go’ to perform well on the streets and freeways, but retains its limo- like ride. Despite costing about $80,000 if you add all the bells and whistles, it’s hard to find anything for the same price that could compete with its looks, performance, comfort and style.

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