2020 Lincoln Continental vs. 2020 BMW 5 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/19

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Continental are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Continental and 5 Series Sedan have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Continental has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The 5 Series Sedan’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The rear seatbelts optional on the Continental Reserve/Black Label inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the Continental and the 5 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all-wheel drive, around view monitors and driver alert monitors.

Warranty

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Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Continental 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 5 Series Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 5 Series Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Lincoln dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Continental’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Continental has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Continental has a standard 650-amp battery. The 5 Series Sedan’s 570-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Continental’s reliability 53 points higher than the 5 Series Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the Lincoln Continental turbo V6 is faster than the 530i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

Continental

5 Series Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.8 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101.3 MPH

94.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Continental has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Continental’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 5 Series Sedan:

Continental

5 Series Sedan

Front Rotors

13.9 inches

13.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Continental Select/Reserve’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 5 Series Sedan (255/45R19 vs. 245/35R20).

Suspension and Handling

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The Continental’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

Chassis

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The Continental uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Continental Reserve AWD is quieter than the 540i (37 vs. 38 dB).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Continental a Large car, while the 5 Series Sedan is rated a Mid-size.

The Continental has 7.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 5 Series Sedan (106.4 vs. 98.8).

The Continental has .5 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and 4.8 inches more rear legroom than the 5 Series Sedan.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Continental Reserve/Black Label’s available rear seats recline. The 5 Series Sedan’s rear seats don’t recline.

Towing

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The Continental has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The 5 Series Sedan has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 18% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The Continental has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Continental’s exterior PIN entry system. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Continental’s exterior PIN entry system. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Continental has standard extendable sun visors. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Continental Reserve/Black Label has standard front air-conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The Continental Reserve/Black Label has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Continental is less expensive to operate than the 5 Series Sedan because typical repairs cost much less on the Continental than the 5 Series Sedan, including $224 less for a water pump, $42 less for front brake pads, $367 less for a starter, $124 less for fuel injection, $133 less for a fuel pump, $2 less for front struts and $199 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lincoln Continental will be $265 to $3997 less than for the BMW 5 Series Sedan.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/19

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lincoln Continental, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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