New Car/Review

Lincoln Town Car

Lincoln Town Car Signature

SEE ALSO: Lincoln Rover Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 40,630
Price As Tested                                    $ 42,885
Engine Type           SOHC 16-valve 4.6 Liter V8 w/SFI*DE**
Engine Size                                 281 cid/4601 cc
Horsepower                                   215 @ 4500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               285 @ 3500 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  117.7"/78.2"/215.3"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     4157 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  19.0 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                         P235/60R16T all season
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                   Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                        Six-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                                 85 percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A
PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
city/highway/average                            18/25/22          
0-60 MPH                                        8.5 seconds
1/4 (E.T.)                          16.5 seconds @ 85.5 mph
Top speed                                           110 mph
* Sequential fuel injection
** Dual Exhaust

(Bob Hagin has always had a love/hate relationship with cars as big as the Lincoln Town Car. His son Matt says that as he gets older he appreciates the luxury of big cars more and more.) BOB - I've always been a small-car guy, but I have to admit that it's easy to get used to the plush comfort of the current generation of luxury cars like this new Lincoln Town Car. This new version enjoyed a total design make-over in '98 and Ford almost brought it into the 21st Century. The Town Car first made the scene in '81 as a replacement for the unlamented Versailles and over the years it's developed into something of an automotive legend. It's now the first choice of limousine and hearse builders as well as being the most popular vehicle among operators of those fancy "Livery" taxis in New York City. I have to admit, though, I found it very tough to park one in San Francisco. MATT - The Livery is a special model that isn't offered to the public since it's outfitted along the lines of a police car with heavy-duty equipment. Its ruggedness comes in part from the fact that the Town Car is one of the last three domestics that's built on a separate perimeter frame with a big V8 engine up front driving through a solid rear axle. The V8 engine that Lincoln uses in the 2000 Town Car isn't as big as its gargantuan powerplants of the '60s and to tell the truth, I think that the current model could use another 50 horses. Our Signature Touring Sedan has Ford's 4.6 "modular" V8 engine with a single cam on each head that operates two valves per cylinder. It puts out 215 horsepower which is OK, but the same basic engine is also built with twin cams and 32 valves, and develops up to 320 ponies in other Ford cars. This would put enough into the Town Car to make it a stormer. BOB - I don't think we'll ever see that much horsepower in the Town Car, nor will the company offer a five-speed manual transmission. Considering the fact that the average Town Car buyer is in his or her mid-sixties, I don't think that winning stoplight drag races is a necessary attribute, Matt. Their repeat-buyer loyalty rate is 45%, so they obviously like what they have. It's a big car with a length of almost 18 feet and it weighs in at 4100 pounds. Everything is big on the Town Car and even the electronically-controlled side view mirrors stick out more than a foot. Its ride is soft but it's doesn't "wallow" like its ancestors. Our test car had Signature trim, which has a somewhat stiffer suspension because of its optional Touring Sedan package. It also came with slightly oversized P235/60R all-season blackwall tires mounted on 16-inch alloy wheels. Town Cars have big disc brakes on all four corners as well as a traction control system. When this device senses drive-wheel slippage, it automatically reduces engine power and applies pressure to either or both of the rear brakes. The rear suspension is carried on coil springs, but it has an pneumatic ride control system that levels the car when it's heavily loaded. MATT - Being raised in the decades of floor-shifts and bucket front seats, it hard to get used to a three-across bench seat and the shift lever being mounted on the steering column. The back seat can hold three in relative comfort, too. The upholstery is all leather, of course, and the Alpine-brand sound system has a trunk-mounted, six-disc CD changer. And it has so much cargo room that four or five loaded golf bags can be stowed away back there with room left over for a week's worth of groceries. The trunk on the Town Car has an interesting safety feature in the form of a glow-in-the-dark inside release handle so that someone locked in the trunk can get out. BOB - That feature would have been handy for your high-school buddies when you and your brothers were young. As I recall, one of their favorite weekend pastimes was smuggling you boys into the drive-in movies by stowing you in the trunk. If their folk's big cars had been equipped with those release handles, you guys could have gotten out on your own rather than having to wait for them to let you out. MATT - I still have nightmares about having to spend the whole Star Wars movie in the trunk of a rusty Dodge Dart.

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