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UP TOWN

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Sep 16, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

LIMOUSINE SERVICE By JOHN-FREDRIK WRIGHT

Part of being one of the younger writers of LA Car is that I get to be the one to ask "is it fun?" as opposed to "is it practical?" So, as with most cars, that is my question as I enter the new Lincoln Town Car Signature L. My first impression is its size. If it isn't a fun car, at least it's a big one. When entering the front, you can't help but notice the large amount of leg and shoulder room, and that the seat is quite comfortable (one which you can adjust in a whole lot of ways). The instruments on the dashboard are within easy reach, and there are no signs of clutter (the kind you see when tiny controls are bunched up together). If there's a downside, it might look a little too much like any other Ford on the road to some. Settling down into the rear seat, it doesn't take long to realize that this is where you are supposed to be sitting in this car. The seats in the rear have enough legroom to compete with business and first-class sections of international flight carriers.

It might even fell a little too big for some, especially for shorter people who have a hard time reaching the pocket in front of them. The rear seat has its own controls for the air-conditioning and sound system - more signs that this car is supposed to be ridden in, not driven. The back seat travelers can even move the front passenger's seat forwards (or backwards) if they get the insane urge they need more legroom. What would have made the back seat even better is a massage and some heat/cooling options. If I'm going to be spending hours in the back seat with all this legroom, I want to be able to caress my posterior! I am not exactly blown away by the sound system. If you're looking for top quality factory sound, you may want to take a look at the Volkswagen Phaeton, Lexus LS430, or maybe an Acura RL. But, for the ride to work, these speakers will definitely keep you listening. There is one major drawback with the sound system: The subwoofer must have been placed behind the rear seats, because if the passenger in the back are listening to their iPod, the bass from the car speakers seems to never go away. Even with the fade turned to "fully forward" the bass can be heard and felt. This is something that can become rather annoying on longer car trips.

Considering that I'm not the kind of person all too happy about spending time in a car without driving it, the back seat is impressive. Still, I'll gladly be the driver on this car - even if it means wearing a black suit and one of those weird caps. When cruising the highway in this quasi-limo, I'm reminded again: This is a large car. Very large. Planning your drive gets a new meaning: that gap in the other lane is not as big as it looks, and this car is not as fast as you might sometimes had hoped. Without saying that the Lincoln needs to beef up their horsepower, one might just mention that this is no sports sedan: a push on the accelerator gets you where you're going; it doesn't rip up the asphalt. The handling is of the same genre as the acceleration. It gets the job done. The passengers are very happy for the comfort of this land yacht, but shooting down a twisty freeway exit should be done in a different car. As I said in the beginning, I look at a car from the fun perspective, so I understand if the majority of buyers will not care if the car is fast, how it corners, or what the acceleration is like. They're going to be riding in the back, maybe with a laptop and some Starbucks coffee. And if I was that kind of person, I could most definitely see myself in that back seat of a Lincoln Town Car.

SIDEBAR It's big, it's comfy. It's a great car to take a long trip in. It works well as a limo. That pretty much sums up the appeal of a vehicle that hasn't changed much since 1998. Of course, there have been various changes to the Town Car since then, but nothing really major. It's not exactly a performance sedan, weighing in at 4518 pounds. The drive train consists of a somewhat old school 4.6-liter engine putting out 239 horsepower and 287 lb ft. of torque connected to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. On the other hand, this car doesn't pretend that one should be looking for twisties to straighten out. Smoothness and consistency are what matter here, because this car is made to be driven in, not necessarily to drive. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy driving it, because I did. There is a lot to be said for pulling onto the freeway, setting the cruise control - and cruising. As with all cars, there are little pluses and minuses everywhere. For instance, the back doors are huge and consequently, heavy. But that's the price you pay for having so much room back there. The ladies are very pleased with the rear seat make-up mirrors. It's very convenient having plug-in points all over the car - very handy in today's gadget-conscious world. The electric trunk opener/closer is a cool thing, and speaking of the trunk, it's huge - room for a lot of golf bags (or bodies). The back-up alert is a little sensitive, but I suppose that that's better than being not sensitive enough. All in all, it's a great cruiser in its present form. I must say though, I look to the future with anticipation to the rumored new Town Car in 2007/2008 - supposedly to built on an extended version of the Volvo S80 platform. With a lot more horses and all wheel drive, it should be very cool. - Bill Wright SUMMARY JUDGMENT It's the great American land yacht.

For more information on Lincoln products, go to www.lincoln.com. SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2006 Lincoln Town Car Price of vehicle: $42,875, Signature $45,740, Signature Limited $51,345, Signature L Engine type: 4.6-liter SOHC V8 with iron block and aluminum heads Horsepower: 239 hp @ 4,900 rpm Torque: 287 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel drive Transmission type: four-speed automatic overdrive transmission Front suspension: Independent short and long arm archetecture with monotube shocks and stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Four-bar link solid axle, Watts link, monotube shocks, coil springs, stabilizer bar and optional air springs Wheels and tires: 17-inch aluminum wheels; P225/60R17 tires Brakes Four wheel power disc brakes with standard 4-sensor, 4-channel anti lock braking system (ABS) Front: 12.0-in ventilated Rear: 11.5-in ventilated Wheelbase Standard: 117.7 Long wheelbase: 123.7 Overall length Standard: 215.4 Long wheelbase: 221.4 Overall width 78.5 Overall height Standard: 59.0 Long wheelbase: 59.1 Curb weight (lbs.) Base curb weight: 4,129 Standard: 4,345 Long Wheelbase: 4,518 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: >

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