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New Car/Review


Lincoln Town Car Cartier L (2001)

SEE ALSO: Lincoln Rover Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 43,330
     Price As Tested                                    $ 54,665
     Engine Type              SOHC 16-valve 4.6 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 284 cid/4601 cc
     Horsepower                                   235 @ 4750 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               275 @ 4000 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  123.7"/78.2"/221.3"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     4268 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  19.0 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                         P225/60R 16 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


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            18/25/22         

     0-60 MPH                                       10.0 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                          17.0 seconds @ 83.5 mph
     Top speed                                           105 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Lincoln has been a preferred marque for "mature" drivers for as long as Bob Hagin can remember. His son Matt says it's therefore no wonder his dad likes the Lincoln lineup so much.)

BOB - The Lincoln Town Car is the last front-engined, rear drive, V8-powered luxury car made in the U.S. and it's used that configuration for two decades. The Town Car first debuted in Lincoln showrooms 20 years ago and it's been the dowager Queen of The Line ever since. The company dropped the traditional Town Car's upright profile not too many years ago and it was long after other American car makers had gone over to curvy silhouettes with cookie-cutter profiles. The current Town Car design is in keeping with the styling trends of big luxury cars from around the world, which is to say that it's subdued with no industry- shattering innovations or trendy gimmicks. Town Car buyers buy for tradition as well as luxury and comfort.

MATT - And the one we're checking out is the most subdued of them all, Dad. It the "L" version of the ultra-luxurious Cartier model and the L stands for long. The model was designed for corporate top-dogs and doesn't really seem to be well-suited for being driven by the owner. Its wheelbase is six inches longer that the already huge standard Cartier four-door, and it weighs around 300 more pounds. The front seat is OK but the real class-act is in back. Three can sit abreast in the front but the person in the middle is sitting an a drop-down arm rest and it feels like it. The back seat also seats three abreast, but its luxury mode is obviously for two very classy passengers. Being six inches longer than the standard model Cartier Town Car, its volume in the back has jumped from 54 cubic feet to 63 and if that doesn't supply enough leg room for the passenger on the right side, a button located by the rear seat moves the right-front seat seven inches further forward. The padding in the rear seats are almost too soft for me, and the only thing that puts me off about the passenger area back there is that the Lincoln brochure makes much of the fact that the ashtrays in the rear doors are cigar-sized. The back seats are heated and the rear doors are six inches longer to make getting in easy. An interesting item for the driver is that the brake and accelerator pedals are electrically adjustable in case the chauffeur is on the short or tall side.

BOB - The rest of the car is pretty much the same as the short wheelbase Cartier and it's no doubt one of the last domestic cars that mounts a stand-alone body on a parabolic frame. It utilizes unequal- length upper and lower control arms up front and a vintage solid axle in back controlled by a multi-link Watts linkage. The suspension is softly tuned for a marshmallow ride as befits a car that caters to rear seat passengers, even more so than the standard Cartier. The L-model doesn't like to be pushed around corners and its acceleration is "leisurely" at best. This is understandable in view of the fact that its engine is Ford's modular single overhead cam, 16-valve, 4.7-liter V8 that puts out 220 horses and 275 pound-feet of torque, a bit on the low side for a vehicle this size. It's rated to tow 2000 pounds, but I can't imagine anyone bolting a tow hitch onto to the back bumper of this dignified boulevard cruiser.

MATT - As it has been for many years, the Lincoln Town Car has a corner on the limousine-conversion field as well as the "livery" market, those black-on-black on-call taxis that ply the after-hours streets of American metropolitan areas. The Town Car Livery is a special model that's sort of a luxury version of a cross between a heavy-duty cab and a police squad car. It's so popular that it has a lock on 85 percent of the Livery segment as well as the limo and hearse-conversion market. And it's interesting that of all the fancy equipment that's standard equipment on the Cartier Town Car L, a moonroof isn't even offered as an option.

BOB - Perfectly understandable, Matt. The kinds of buyers who select this cloistered car either don't want that kind of open-air exposure or do most of their touring at night.