2019 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2018 Lincoln Continental

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Lincoln Continental doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S-Class’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Continental doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The S-Class has standard NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Continental doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the S-Class helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Continental doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the S-Class and the Continental have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 3 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Engine

The S-Class has more powerful engines than the Continental:

 

Horsepower

Torque

S 450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

S 560 4.0 turbo V8

463 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

AMG S 63 4.0 turbo V8

603 HP

664 lbs.-ft.

AMG S 65/Maybach S 650 6.0 turbo V12

621 HP

738 lbs.-ft.

Continental 3.7 DOHC V6

305 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

Continental 2.7 turbo V6

335 HP

380 lbs.-ft.

Continental 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the S 560 is faster than the Lincoln Continental 3.0 twin turbo V6:

 

S-Class

Continental

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107.7 MPH

99.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S-Class gets better fuel mileage than the Continental:

 

 

S-Class

Continental

 

2WD

 

n/a

17 city/26 hwy

3.7 V6/Auto

 

450/Auto

19 city/28 hwy

18 city/27 hwy

2.7 twin turbo V6/Auto

 

560/Auto

17 city/27 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

16 city/24 hwy

3.7 V6/Auto

 

450/Auto

18 city/28 hwy

17 city/25 hwy

2.7 twin turbo V6/Auto

 

560/Auto

17 city/27 hwy

16 city/24 hwy

3.0 twin turbo V6/Auto

 

AMG 63/Auto

17 city/26 hwy

n/a

 

 

Maybach 560/Auto

16 city/25 hwy

n/a

 

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the S-Class 560/63’s fuel efficiency. The Continental doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the S-Class Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Continental doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The S-Class’ standard fuel tank has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Continental (21.1 vs. 18 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The S-Class V12’s standard fuel tank has 6.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Continental (24.6 vs. 18 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is available on the Mercedes S-Class, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Continental.

The S-Class 63/65’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Continental doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Continental:

 

S 450/560

S 63/65

Continental

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

16.5 inches

13.9 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

14.2 inches

13.6 inches

The S-Class’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Continental are solid, not vented.

The S-Class S 63/65 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Continental doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The S-Class stops shorter than the Continental:

 

S-Class

Continental

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S-Class has larger standard tires than the Continental (245/50R18 vs. 235/50R18).

The S 63’s 285/35R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Continental Select/Reserve’s optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the S-Class can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Continental doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Continental, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The S-Class offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Lincoln doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Continental.

The S-Class has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Continental doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 6.7 inches longer than on the Continental (124.6 inches vs. 117.9 inches). The Maybach S-Class’ wheelbase is 14.6 inches longer than on the Continental (132.5 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S-Class is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Continental.

The S 600 handles at .90 G’s, while the Continental Black Label AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S 600 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Continental Black Label AWD (25.8 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.7 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S AMG S 65’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the Continental’s (38.1 feet vs. 41.8 feet). The S 450/560’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Continental’s (40.4 feet vs. 41.8 feet).

Passenger Space

The S-Class has 5.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Continental (112 vs. 106.4).

The S-Class has .4 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room and 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Continental.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style and remote trunk release lockout, the S-Class offers cargo security. The Continental’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the S-Class is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Continental. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Lincoln. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 8% lower rating, Lincoln is ranked 7th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Continental, the S-Class has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The S-Class has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Continental doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The S-Class’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Continental’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the S-Class to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Continental doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the S-Class has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Continental doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

When the S-Class is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Continental’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Model Availability

The Mercedes S-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Lincoln Continental isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the S-Class owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the S-Class with a number “1” insurance rate while the Continental is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S-Class is less expensive to operate than the Continental because typical repairs cost much less on the S-Class than the Continental, including $735 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes S-Class and the Lincoln Continental, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Mercedes S-Class outsold the Lincoln Continental by 64% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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