1998 Lincoln Town Car Pricing

Sedan 4D Executive

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Expert Reviews ( 1 )

1998 Lincoln Town Car
Jim McCraw

Introduction
If the new Town Car is any indication of Lincoln-Mercury's intent to change minds about what a luxury car should

be, then they are well on their way toward attracting a new group of buyers. Lincoln-Mercury wants to keep all of

its current customers -- they give the Town Car one of the highest loyalty and repurchase rates in the industry.

But, at the same time, the division wants to use the new Town Car to attract buyers away from other domestic and

Japanese luxury brands.

Lincoln-Mercury plans to do this with fresh styling and a greatly improved driving experience achieved through

better handling, better brakes and a more controlled ride quality.

The Lincoln Town Car is 85 percent new for 1998. While the designers, engineers and product planners have

maintained the interior space and trunk space of the previous, boxlike Town Car, they have thrown away the rectilinear

design, the square corners and some of the formality of the car. In its place is a new shape that owes something to

the Jaguar, something to the Bentley, and quite a bit to Ford's New Edge design philosophy.

The car was designed at Ford's California facility and it shows. It's round, but it's not a jellybean; it's formal without being frumpy; it's trim, yet still substantial. It's the first all-new Town Car in eight years. And it's about time. As always, Cadillac's deVille is the arch rival for the Town Car, but nowadays there are a number of smaller European and Japanese cars in the $40,000 luxury sedan bracket: Acura 3.5 RL, BMW 528, and Mercedes-Benz E-class. Walkaround
There are four versions of Town Car to choose from: the $38,500 Executive series sold primarily as a fleet car,

the $40,150 Signature Series and the creme de la creme $42,500 Cartier series. When adjusted for equipment, these

prices average $975 less than the price of the 1997 Town Car.

While each of the three basic series is progressively more loaded, the car is essentially an American-idiom luxury

car with all that that implies: rear-wheel drive, V8 engine, smooth, quiet ride, seating for six, trunk room for four

sets of golf clubs, and lots of comfort and power amenities. From its jewel-like headlamps and traditional grille

back to its chrome license plate surround and massive corner-mounted taillamps, the Town Car has been carefully

rethought for the trip into the 21st Century, but it's only fractionally smaller than the old barge. It's 3.7 inches

shorter, and more than two inches of that is taken from the front overhang.

The most exciting news is the Signature Touring Sedan, which we drove. The Touring package comes with the more

powerful 220-horsepower V8 engine with dual exhaust, larger 235/60R-16 tires on unique 16-inch alloy wheels, a special

torque converter, a 3.55:1 rear-axle ratio for quicker acceleration, and revised springs, shock absorbers and stabilizer

bars designed for a more sporting ride and handling feel. With more than 20 special parts designed to improve

performance, the Touring package is worth every cent of its $500 cost. The Signature Touring Sedan comes in seven

unique colors. Inside are perforated leather seating surfaces and a special black birdseye woodgrain finish on the instrument panel and doors. Interior
Just about everything inside the car is new and improved, from the door panels to the instrument panels to the

radio face to the switches and controls. The electronic instrument cluster of old has been eliminated. In its place

is a new, smaller cluster featuring a centered speedometer flanked by fuel and temperature gauges.

Two small electronic windows on either side of the speedometer serve as the message center and compass. The

system includes a redundant speedometer display, but no tachometer.

The old radio face has been replaced with larger and easier to use buttons and controls. Below is the control

center for the climate control system. Nothing is difficult to reach or understand, and the controls are not crowded

together.

Front and rear passenger compartments are huge. A new rear pillar design makes the rear seat cozier than the old

car without being smaller. The big, thick seats are comfortable and the power front bucket seats offer lumbar

support and two-position memory. For safety and convenience, the steering wheel contains buttons for cruise control and the sound system.

We noticed a marked improvement in interior noise over the previous model. The windshield has been moved forward four inches and gooseneck mirrors have been designed to generate less wind noise. The glass is thicker, there are triple seals on the doors, and the pillars have been designed to cancel noise. This is as quiet as Marcel Marceau. Driving Impressions
Even with the Touring package, 3.55:1 rear-axle ratio and 220 horsepower on tap, the Town Car Signature Series

lacks the strong performance of some of its competitors. With its 282 cubic-inch engine, it just doesn't get away

from a stoplight like a $40,000 car should these days. It's not that it's slow, but its chief competition has 275

horsepower, a palpable increase.

Transmission feel and function are greatly improved over the 1997 Town Car, with shifts that take only 0.6

seconds as opposed to 1.2 seconds in the old car. The fourth gear overdrive can be switched off for climbing and

descending long grades. The full-time all-speed traction control can also be switched off for climbing out of snow

banks or other special situations.

What most veteran Town Car owners will notice on their first drive are the vastly improved steering and

suspension. Ford has redesigned the steering system with more expensive components-- replacing bushings with

bearings, for instance--that give improved steering precision and feel. The air suspension system boasts new

twin-tube shock absorbers; and the Touring Package comes with shocks that are 50 percent larger for a less floaty,

less jarring ride. Another more expensive solution is the rear suspension that uses a new Watts linkage between

the axle housing and the frame designed to improve both handling and ride quality--usually mutually exclusive goals.

The trailing arms have also been redesigned to be parallel to the frame. All this adds up to a much more pleasant

ride. The 1998 Town Car feels glued to the road. Handling is much more predictable in lane-change maneuvers, without

the momentary indecisiveness that characterized the old car.

Brakes have been upgraded with bigger, thicker front discs and new twin-piston calipers. With 25 percent more

swept area, the new brakes are less likely to fade away when hot, such as excessive use in the mountains. We

weren't happy with the brakes on the 1997 model and are pleased to see brakes that will take a great deal of Even with the Touring package, 3.55:1 rear-axle ratio and 220 horsepower on tap, the Town Car Signature Series

lacks the strong performance of some of its competitors. With its 282 cubic-inch engine, it just doesn't get away

from a stoplight like a $40,000 car should these days. It's not that it's slow, but its chief competition has 275

horsepower, a palpable increase.

Transmission feel and function are greatly improved over the 1997 Town Car, with shifts that take only 0.6

seconds as opposed to 1.2 seconds in the old car. The fourth gear overdrive can be switched off for climbing and

descending long grades. The full-time all-speed traction control can also be switched off for climbing out of snow

banks or other special situations.

What most veteran Town Car owners will notice on their first drive are the vastly improved steering and

suspension. Ford has redesigned the steering system with more expensive components-- replacing bushings with

bearings, for instance--that give improved steering precision and feel. The air suspension system boasts new

twin-tube shock absorbers; and the Touring Package comes with shocks that are 50 percent larger for a less floaty,

less jarring ride. Another more expensive solution is the rear suspension that uses a new Watts linkage between

the axle housing and the frame designed to improve both handling and ride quality--usually mutually exclusive goals.

The trailing arms have also been redesigned to be parallel to the frame. All this adds up to a much more pleasant

ride. The 1998 Town Car feels glued to the road. Handling is much more predictable in lane-change maneuvers, without the momentary indecisiveness that characterized the old car.

Brakes have been upgraded with bigger, thicker front discs and new twin-piston calipers. With 25 percent more swept area, the new brakes are less likely to fade away when hot, such as excessive use in the mountains. We weren't happy with the brakes on the 1997 model and are pleased to see brakes that will take a great deal of punishment. And ABS is standard. punishment. And ABS is standard. Summary
Lincoln's new Town Car is an appealing choice with its huge cabin and trunk and bulletproof engine and transmission. The new styling looks sexier than the previous model from all angles. And the Town Car looks even better when you consider that prices are about the same as last year. In a world of front-drive cars, the new Lincoln is a traditional rear-wheel-drive American luxury car. We predict the new Town Car will be a big hit. And we think the success of the Touring models will surprise Lincoln-Mercury.

Model as tested
Signature Touring Sedan
Basic Warranty
3 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in
Wixom, Michigan
Destination charge
Gas guzzler tax
N/A
Base Price
40150
Price as tested
40650
Options as tested
Touring package (220 horsepower dual-exhaust V-8 engine, larger 235/60R-16 tires, 16-inch alloy wheels, special torque converter, 3.55:l rear axle ratio, special springs, shock absorbers and stabilizer bars, monochromatic exterior paint, painted grille, leather seats, black birdseye woodgrain finish)

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Safety equipment (standard)
Dual airbags
Safety equipment (optional)
N/A
Engines
4.6-liter sohc V8
Transmissions
4-speed automatic

Specifications as Tested
ABS, traction control, passive antitheft system, air conditioning, cruise control, power memory seats, power steering, power brakes, heated power mirrors, light package, tinted glass, remote locking/security system, tilt wheel, aluminum wheels, premium AM/FM/cassette stereo, rear defrost

Engine & Transmission
Engine
4.6-liter sohc V8
Drivetrain type
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
220 @ 4500
Transmission
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
9/30
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)
N/A

Suspension
Brakes, front/rear
disc/disc
Suspension, front
Independent
Tires
P235/60R-16
Suspension, rear
Live axle

Accomodations
Seating capacity
6
Head/hip/leg room, middle
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, front
39.2/57.3/42.6
Head/hip/leg room, rear
37.5/58.0/41.1

Measurements
Fuel capacity
N/A
Trunk volume
20.6
Wheelbase
117.7
Length/width/height
215.3/78.2/58.0
Turning circle
42.2
Payload
N/A
Towing capacity
2000
Track, front/rear
63.4/65.3
Ground clearance
N/A
Curb weight
4020


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