2020 Lincoln Continental vs. 2020 Mercedes S-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Continental and S-Class 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 S-Class’ 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.

Both the Continental and the S-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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, available all wheel drive, around view monitors and driver alert monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Continental its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 87 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

There are over 2 times as many Lincoln dealers as there are Mercedes 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 S-Class doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

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 33 points higher than the S-Class.

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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lincoln 6 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

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 S-Class doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Continental stops shorter than the S-Class:

Continental

S-Class

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

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 S-Class (255/45R19 vs. 245/45R19).

The Continental has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the S-Class; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Continental Black Label AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the S 560 pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Continental Black Label AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S 560 (26.1 seconds @ .7 average G’s vs. 26.5 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Lincoln Continental may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 550 pounds less than the Mercedes S-Class.

The Continental is 5.5 inches shorter than the S-Class, making the Continental easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Continental uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S-Class doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

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

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Continental Reserve AWD is quieter than the S 560:

Continental

S-Class

At idle

37 dB

40 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

© 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 2020/11/30

The Continental has 3 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more rear headroom and 7.2 inches more rear legroom than the S-Class.

Cargo Capacity

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The Continental’s available rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S-Class doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Towing

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The Continental has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The S-Class has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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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 S-Class doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call 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 S-Class doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call 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 S-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Continental owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Continental will cost $890 to $13295 less than the S-Class over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Continental is less expensive to operate than the S-Class because it costs $118 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Continental than the S-Class, including $471 less for a water pump, $401 less for a muffler, $9 less for front brake pads, $445 less for a starter, $143 less for fuel injection, $106 less for a fuel pump, $273 less for front struts and $191 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lincoln Continental will be $39600 to $14,0007 less than for the Mercedes S-Class.

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 2020/11/30

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lincoln Continental, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes S-Class isn't recommended.

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