24350 W 12 Mile Rd.
Directions Southfield, MI 48034

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2017 Lincoln Continental vs BMW 5 Series


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24350 W 12 Mile Rd.
Directions Southfield, MI 48034

  • Sales: (888) 337-6151
  • Service: (888) 356-1278
  • Parts: (888) 379-2802

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BMW has long been one of the big three when it comes to luxury sedans, and a leader in European design and luxury. The 5 Series has been the perfect example of what BMW brings to the table, a solid balance of luxury and performance. The second best-selling BMW year after year, it has been in production continually for over 40 years.

Exploding back onto the scene after an extended absence, the 2017 Lincoln Continental may have a familiar name, but very little else will remind you of the Lincolns of old. From an evolved design, to improved handling characteristics, to the latest technology and comfort features, you'll find hardly anything in common if you put it next to a Continental from the last century.

While BMW has been consistent, Lincoln has taken time to ensure that the new Continental is a premium vehicle, the perfect example of its "Quiet Luxury" intentions. Lincoln has been biding its time, because the new Continental takes aim at the heavyweights of the field, like Mercedes and BMW. By the looks of it, the reigning champions may need to head back to the drawing board soon.

Powerful Difference

BMW has spent the last few years trimming down its engines, but they may have trimmed them a bit too far. Three are on offer - three gasoline-powered and one diesel - with all of them tied to an 8-speed automatic transmission. While this means you have excellent choice, just as with the three engines in the Lincoln, something just doesn't add up.


Both the base 2.0-liter and upgraded 3.0-liter turbocharged engines in the 5 Series are slightly underpowered. While the eight-speed transmission helps things along, they produce 240 and 300 horsepower respectively. The 2.0-liter engine only produces 260 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.0-liter produces only 300 lb-ft. Things are a bit different in the Lincoln Continental.

To start with, the base engine in the Continental is a 3.7-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine. At 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, it will instill a bit more confidence in the driver when leaping off the line or trying to pass on the open road. Upgrading to the 2.7-liter turbocharged engine widens the gap between the Continental and the BMW. While the 335 horsepower produced by this engine is a solid advantage over the BMW3.0-liter, the massive 380 lb-ft of torque is enough to get a great jump.

Space to Spare

Classified as a mid-size sedan, the BMW 5 Series interior seems almost compact next to the Lincoln Continental. It starts with the exterior measurements - the Lincoln is 201.4 inches long, versus 193.4 inches of length for the 5 series, and the Lincoln is roughly an inch taller. Starting out with the extra size certainly helps the Lincoln, but with smart usage, the BMW could stay within reach.


Unfortunately for the 5 Series, BMW has wasted quite a bit of space. In the front seat, there is 41.4 inches of leg room, well short of the 44.4 inches available in the Lincoln Continental. One would hope that this means the rear passengers have similar leg room in both vehicles, but that's not the case - rear seat passengers in the 2017 Lincoln Continental have a full six inches of extra space. Lincoln has managed to take that 8 extra inches of exterior length and turn it into 9 inches of extra interior space. It's not as though the BMW offers a larger trunk either - in fact, it comes up well short of the Lincoln, offering only 14 cubic feet of cargo volume versus the 16.7 cubic feet in the Lincoln. If you want room for you, your passengers, and your luggage, the Lincoln clearly has given you a little more thought than BMW has. 

Features You Deserve

Heated front seats. Satellite radio. A rear-view or back-up camera. Remote trunk release. These are all features you'd expect would come standard on a vehicle that touts itself as being a luxury vehicle, aimed at executives and those who love the finer things. These are all things you'll find as standard features in the Lincoln Continental, but are pricey add-ons in the BMW 5 Series.


Even when it comes to similar features across the two models, you'll find yourself paying up more when it comes to the BMW. For instance, the Lincoln Continental provides a hands-free power trunk lid as standard equipment on the mid-level Select trim, as well as the Reserve and Black Label trims, with the selection of three different engines. BMW also offers a hands-free trunk lid, but only on the 550i, where you are stuck with the high-powered, fuel-hungry 4.4-liter V8. These types of limitations can make it difficult to get the vehicle you want - which is why Lincoln endeavors to provide choices.


"It might replace the MKS at the top of Lincoln's lineup, but the Continental is a much more fully realized luxury car." - Car and Driver


"BMW's quest for ever-higher sales volumes from the sorts of people who-gasp!-don't even realize which wheels are driving their cars has caused the 5-series to embody a sort of confused mediocrity, as the car feels big and floaty in transitions but an ostensibly sporty suspension tune provides a flinty ride." Car and Driver

What is it Worth?

There's no doubting that the BMW 5 Series is a luxury vehicle, and one of the top full-size luxury sedans on the market. But what is that badge worth? When it comes down to it, you can get into a base 2017 Lincoln Continental for well under $50,000. A fully equipped version could run north of $70,000, but that comes with an incredible engine, the latest technology, and much more. BMW 5 Series models are not available for less than $50,000, period. And while the upgraded engines sound nice, a well-equipped version with the 4.4-liter engine is within reaching distance of six figures.