Five minutes into driving the 2017 Lincoln Continental, a Mercedes-Benz C300 pulled up alongside me at the lights. “That’s a beautiful car!” the middle-aged driver called to me across the gap, to the barely-disguised pleasure of the Lincoln exec in the passenger seat. With less than 24 hours in Los Angeles to get to grips with the new Continental, I was attempting to multitask and squeeze in not only experiencing the car but figuring out what exactly had prompted the company to resurrect the such a storied nameplate now.
First impressions are a big part of the new Continental’s story. Even by the time the last car to bear the badge was axed in 2003, it was a shadow of its former self: smaller, more fuel-efficient, and hardly the great rival to German luxury that once it had been. Now, absent for more than a decade, the Continental needs to woo the well-heeled with an instant perception that this is more than just a fancy Ford.