New Car Review

1995 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL FOUR-DOOR SEDAN

by: BILL RUSS

The 1995 Lincoln Continental is completely new. This ninth generation of Ford Motor Company's most luxurious motor car has a history that goes back over 55 years. In 1940 the first Continental made its debut. It was a convertible coupe with a long hood and short rear deck, a style that is still popular today. Its design was developed by Edsel Ford after a tour of Europe in 1938. After World War II production of a new Continental coupe commenced, and since then seven different models have been introduced, most of them large and distinctive, and all luxurious.

Lincoln expects the 1995 Continental to be the trend-setter like the original 1940 model. It has a host of styling as well as design and technical features that are the result of Ford engineering studies and customer focus study groups. Almost every part of the 1995 Continental is either new or substantially revised. It has a new 260 horsepower V8 engine and an upgraded automatic transmission mounted on a stronger platform, and a redesigned suspension system. Also new is the body styling and the use of dent resistant composite body panels on the hood, rear deck and fenders. Advanced electronics play a major role in engine and transmission management, the hands-off cellular telephone, sound system, and the Memory Profile System (MPS). The MPS can be personalized for two different drivers and manages 12 functions related to driving comfort and safety.

A 300-mile trek through the historic and scenic Carmel and Salinas valleys culminated by a drive up State highway 1 overlooking the Pacific Ocean very adequately proved the performance, handling, safety and comfort attributes of the 1995 Lincoln Continental.

APPEARANCE: The new Continental has been completely redesigned and now displays a smooth, rounded shape with low coefficient of drag of .32. Its low nose with a shiny grille and prominent headlights flows back over a large cabin and downsloped deck lid. The curved sides feature a side rub strip for protection from other car doors. Michelin all-season tires are mounted on special chrome-plated alloy wheels. Window trim is black except for a stainless steel highlight on each side.

COMFORT: Lincoln focus groups defined much of the equipment for the luxurious yet practical interior. Several items stand out. Two interior layouts are available, a five passenger one with split bucket seats and a console with a floor shifter, and a six passenger split bench seat with a column- mounted shifter. The " hands-off " cellular phone is voice-activated and responds to spoken commands. This allows the driver to place a call and talk with both hands on the wheel. The bright "virtual-image" instrument panel gauge faces are projected on a dark screen. The "Memory Profile System" is a new electronic multi-function memory that allows two different drivers to customize settings for seats, mirrors, ride control, steering effort, radio station presets and more. The large low- liftover trunk is fitted with a cargo net, and the remote CD six-disc cassette is located inside the car in the front console. One can truly ride or drive in custom comfort that is at one's finger tips.

SAFETY: The 1995 Continental is fitted with many active and passive safety features. Of note is the "Home Safe" , a device that limits the transmission to second and third gears in case of failure, and the battery saver that automatically turns off lights or radio which have been left on after the engine is stopped. Additional safety features are dual airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, side-impact beams, child-proof door locks and remote lock/unlock for the doors.

ROADABILITY: The Memory Profile System allows the driver to set up the Continental for tailor- made driving and handling to suit particular driving situations. Lincoln's air spring suspension also lets the driver establish ride height and a varying degree of ride smoothness from soft to firm. To insure a minimum of noise, vibration and harshness the chassis has been strengthened and many access holes removed. New soundproofing and weatherstripping insures a very quiet ride.

PERFORMANCE: The new Continental uses a dual overhead cam, 32-valve aluminum In-Tech V8 engine that produces 62 percent more power than the V6 in the previous model and has nearly the same fuel economy rating. This engine was developed for the rear-wheel drive Mark VIII and gets its first transverse, front-drive application in the Continental. A new non-synchronous-shifting four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and quietly is used. This powertrain combination assures plenty of power to the front wheels for safe merging and passing.

CONCLUSIONS: The newest Continental is a efficient blend of luxury and technology. It offers performance, convenience, stylishness and practicality in a clean and neat package.

SPECIFICATIONS:
1995 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL SEDAN

           
           Base Price              $  40,750 
           Price As Tested         $  46,835    
           Engine Type             V-8, dohc - 32v, sepfi*
           Engine Size             4.6 liter/280 cid        
           Horsepower              260 @ 5750
           Torque (ft/lbs)         265 @ 4750
           Wheelbase/Length        109"/206"
           Transmission            four-speed ECauto w/od 
           Curb Weight             3990
           Pounds per Horsepower   15
           Fuel Capacity           18
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded premium (91 oct)
           Tires                   Michelin MXV4 P225/60R 16 M+S  
           Brakes                  antilock standard        vented disc/disc
           Train                   Front engine/front drive
           
           * sepfi - sequential electronic port fuel injection
           
                          PERFORMANCE
           
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,        
             city/highway/observed         21/29/25.3
           0 to 60 mph                     8.2 sec  
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                   16.1 sec    
           Coefficient of Drag  (Cd)       .32              

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