Behold, the only American car you can factory order and pick up at a dealership that features body assembly completed by an independent coachbuilder, just as luxury automobiles like Duesenbergs—and Lincolns—often were in the classic era: the Lincoln Continental Coach Door Edition.
Anyone can plainly see the extensive modifications the coachbuilders made in stretching the bodywork and reengineering those Rolls-Royce-aping rear-hinged—don’t-call-’em-suicide—rear doors. But how did they do on the inside? Is this the Rolls-Royce Ghost of American luxury-car interiors? Let’s start off by noting that nothing much changes forward of the B-Pillar, so we’ll focus on the rear-seat experience here and refer you to our 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label Interior Review for details on the cockpit, infotainment, and general materials quality of the base car.
Color and Trim
Even the coachbuilt Lincolns are not Bentley level bespoke. They are an extension of Lincoln’s top-shelf Black Label trim series and are restricted to just two of the three color and trim themes offered on the “cookie-cutter” factory-finished cars. “Chalet” theme combines off-white leather on the seating surfaces and the lower dash, door panel, and center console accented by espresso brown for the dash and door upper, armrests, and contrast piping with deep Silverwood trim. “Thoroughbred” accents a mostly jet-black interior with chestnut brown antiqued “Belmont” leather on the dash, door, and console upper surfaces trimmed with burled Chilean Maple wood.
Exterior color choices included Infinite Black (45 percent of the build), Chroma Crystal Blue (30 percent), Pristine While Metallic (18 percent), and a single silver car was built.
Our black car featured the Thoroughbred interior, which is decidedly more somber than the Chalet, and the mottled dye on the Belmont accent leather—meant to evoke equestrian saddles—read to our eyes like the Naugahyde that swathed off-brand Barcaloungers in the ’70s. The burled maple looks exceptionally rich and is the most traditional/old-school of the trim options, but—especially paired with the chrome accents surrounding it—often reflects sun glare.
Here’s an area that was revised from 2019 to 2020. Both started by basically affixing everything from the pull-down armrest found on the Continental Black Label models equipped with the $3,000 Rear Seat Amenities Package to the rear console structure. That includes the audio and climate controls, switches for the sunroof and rear window sunshades, pop-out cupholders, and a stowage bin. This fixed structure simply mounts over the standard cross-car bench seat, rendering this a four-passenger model (blanking plates cover the slots where the middle shoulder belt and upper center LATCH tether points would be).
For 2020, that armrest stowage bin incorporates a Qi wireless charging pad. An upholstered panel that covers the trunk pass-through door is held in place by Velcro fasteners, and when removed can serve as a lap table. This pass-thru door now accesses a lockable stowage compartment that impinges into the trunk space, but hovers above the trunk floor, so that accessory trunk mats fit without modification. On both sides of the console are new pop-out knobs that might be used to hang a purse or take-away dinner bags on. The forward portion of the console contains a metal sleeve sized to hold (but not necessarily chill) a champagne bottle. It gets a handsome lid with a cork seal covered in the same burled maple wood. Aft of that is a bin that incorporates a 110-volt three-prong power outlet (new for 2020) and two USB-A jacks. Two slots are provided to hold tablet or thin laptop computers. These are not new, but they are different from the design featured in the Coach Door concept vehicle we covered last year, so they may look new.
Rear Seat Tricks
Many long-wheelbase limo/sedans offer multiple adjustments of the seatback and cushion, plus footrests and the like, but Lincoln keeps it simple here offering only a backrest angle adjustment of about 3 degrees, which moves the top of the backrest fore or aft through about 2.8 inches total. Right seat passengers also get the option of increasing their legroom by moving the front seat and/or just the backrest forward and out of the way. All of this comes with that $3,000 amenities package on the standard car, as do the adjustable headrest side wings, three-level seat heating and cooling, plus a massage function that can be independently adjusted to low or high intensity for the backrest and seat cushion. These thrones may not do as many tricks as those in some fancy cars, but they’re superbly comfortable and the Revel audio system sounds terrific back here. Oh, and in another nod to those backward-hinged doors from Goodwood, each rear door incorporates a compact Lincoln-branded umbrella.
All of the upholstery that has been fitted to the rear doors and the small area behind them that includes the fixed rear side glass, the Alcantara headlining, and the sides of the rear console is executed by Cabot Coach Builders with flawless stitching and nothing appears pulled or stretched to fit. Unfortunately, though, there was no effort to continue or duplicate the French stitching featured on the factory installed Belmont leather door panels. The bottle cooler lid’s wood pattern doesn’t align with the wood from the console surrounding it, which seems like an opportunity missed (unless someone accidentally swapped our car’s lid with that of another).
So, Is it a Bargain Rolls-Royce?
While the $118,960 price certainly represents a hefty mark-down from the $314,000 base price of Rolls-Royce’s most-affordable Ghost sedan, the Coach Door Continental never thoroughly shakes the feel of its donor vehicle’s sub-$80,000 price. But it’s undeniably cool-looking outside and large enough inside to transport all but the tallest passengers in immense comfort, so perhaps the discerning luxury customer wishing to buy American might yet be able to convince Cabot or another coachbuilder to pull out all that commodity carpeting and leather and go to town with some unique color-to-sample wool rugs, leather upholstery with contrast stitching and piping, and book-matched/mirror-matched wood for WAY less than the $200K that separates this Conti from that Ghost. And such a buyer would certainly never need worry about showing up somewhere in the Hamptons and being valet parked next to a similar vehicle.
|2020 Lincoln Continental Coach Door Edition|
|LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 4-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.0L/400-hp/400-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (DIST, F/R)||4,900 lb (58/42%)|
|L x W x H||207.4 x 75.3 x 58.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.9 sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||16/24/19 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||211/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.03 lb/mile|