2021 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2020 Lincoln Continental

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 2020/10/21

The 5 Series Sedan’s 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 5 Series Sedan has standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Continental doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 5 Series Sedan offers optional Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Continental doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 5 Series Sedan helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera 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 5 Series Sedan and the Continental 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 and around view monitors.

Warranty

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The 5 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Continental’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 5 Series Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Lincoln only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Continental.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 18th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 21st.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.

Engine

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The 5 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the Continental:

Horsepower

Torque

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

335 HP

332 lbs.-ft.

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 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 540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder is faster than the Lincoln Continental 3.0 turbo V6:

5 Series Sedan

Continental

Zero to 60 MPH

4.9 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.5 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

106.2 MPH

99.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 5 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Continental:

MPG

5 Series Sedan

RWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

25 city/32 hwy

AWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

23 city/31 hwy

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/25 hwy

Continental

FWD

3.7 DOHC V6

17 city/26 hwy

2.7 turbo V6

17 city/25 hwy

AWD

3.7 DOHC V6

16 city/24 hwy

2.7 turbo V6

17 city/25 hwy

3.0 Turbo V6

16 city/24 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 5 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Continental doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 5 Series Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Continental.

The 5 Series Sedan’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

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For better stopping power the M550i’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Continental:

M550i

Continental

Front Rotors

14.7 inches

13.9 inches

The 5 Series Sedan’s 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 5 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Continental:

5 Series Sedan

Continental

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 5 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the Continental (245/45R18 vs. 235/50R18).

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Continental Standard’s standard 50 series tires. The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile 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 standard on the 5 Series Sedan 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

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The 5 Series Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Continental’s suspension doesn’t offer front gas-charged shocks.

The 5 Series Sedan 540i/M550i offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Continental doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The M550i 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 5 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.5% to 49.5%) than the Continental’s (58.9% to 41.1%). This gives the 5 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The M550i xDrive handles at .92 G’s, while the Continental Black Label AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the Continental Black Label AWD (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 26.7 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the 5 Series Sedan’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Continental’s (39.4 feet vs. 41.8 feet). The 5 Series Sedan xDrive’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Continental’s (40.8 feet vs. 41.8 feet).

Chassis

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The BMW 5 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the Lincoln Continental.

The 5 Series Sedan is 5.6 inches shorter than the Continental, making the 5 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 540i is quieter than the Continental Reserve AWD:

5 Series Sedan

Continental

Full-Throttle

68 dB

73 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

67 dB

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 5 Series offers cargo security. The Continental’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 5 Series Sedan 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.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Continental, the 5 Series Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The 5 Series Sedan’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Continental’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The 5 Series Sedan 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.

When the 5 Series Sedan 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 5 Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Continental doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The 5 Series Sedan’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The Continental Reserve/Black Label’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park and it doesn’t offer remote control parking.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 5 Series Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 5 Series Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the Continental is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

The 5 Series Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 5 Series Sedan will retain 36.99% to 39.18% of its original price after five years, while the Continental only retains 32.35% to 36.22%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 5 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Continental because it costs $336 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 5 Series Sedan than the Continental, including $23 less for a muffler and $404 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/10/21

The BMW 5 Series outsold the Lincoln Continental by almost six to one during 2019.

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

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