Continental vs. BMW M550i

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brucelinc

Member
Jan 11, 2018
248
106
43
Minneapolis
So, Brucelinc, you should be in your new Bimmer by now--any observations you would wish to share with us?
Thank you for asking! I have about 1200 miles on the Bimmer. I will first share the things that I miss about the Continental or where I think it is superior.

The BMW is very tight and the doors need a good push to close on the first try. I really miss the Lincoln soft-close doors. The BMW has no way to activate the heated seats when doing a remote start. The Lincoln did and that was very nice in Minnesota weather. The Lincoln cross traffic alert was MUCH more sensitive than the BMW. The BMW has more safety technology in general but the cross traffic alert requires you to nearly back into traffic before it provides a warning. The ergonomics were better for me in the Lincoln. Some of the BMW buttons for the climate system and seat adjustments are very small and difficult to see. The rear seat of the Conti was MUCH larger and had climate controls for the rear seat passengers. The BMW rear seat is much smaller and only has seat heating....no individual temp or fan controls.

Things about the BMW that I think are better:

The car is much superior mechanically in my opinion. It's 523 HP V8 far outperforms the 400 HP V6 in the Conti and also gets better highway fuel economy. The 8 speed ZF transmission in the BMW is much smoother. The BMW is remarkably quiet.....almost eerily so...much quieter than the Conti. The BMW brakes are much larger and provide better feel and stopping power. The ride is probably a tad firmer but there is less impact noise or drama when hitting bumps. I love the I-drive controller (sort of like a computer mouse) in the BMW. Even though you can operate the larger BMW screen by touch, the controller on the console is handier and you avoids fingerprints on the screen. Voice commands work very well but they also worked well in the Lincoln. About the only difference is that there is no need to press a button with the BMW. It responds by just saying "Hey, BMW" and telling it what you want.

I would say the following areas are equal: Fit/finish, build quality, material quality and seat comfort. The BMW offer some distinct mechanical advantages as you would expect, given the price. However, the Continental was a pretty darn nice car, too. If Lincoln had continued offering a large sedan and kept it updated, I would not have gone to a foreign manufacturer.
 

MarkX

Active member
Aug 31, 2020
447
171
43
Thanks for that, brucelinc, and very good luck with the car!

Your observations all make sense and are in line with my expectations. It is no surprise that the BMW performance is superior, given the engine specs. And the larger brakes would certainly be appropriate for the greater engine performance.

And you managed at this late date to teach me about something on the Conti: remote start heated seats activation. I was not aware of that feature, not that I would use it very often. Still, nice to know about!

Overall, you make me feel better about my Conti. I certainly could not use any more power than I have with the 3.0 engine so that knocks out that aspect. I got 5 or 6 speeding tickets this last year which equals my previous lifetime, so enough! My usage is low-mileage and I've bought service contracts way into the future so I won't be wearing the car out soon. I was just away from the car for six weeks and it was so great to get back into it; a real Keeper.
 

silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
I agree I love my conti and would have loved if they continued making it. So for now I will be keeping mine for the foreseeable future. Only thing I did to mine was do some minor performance upgrades. Will probably also replace the rotors and pads when I get a little time with some better ones but otherwise very happy with it overall.
 

MarkX

Active member
Aug 31, 2020
447
171
43
What would be brilliant would be if FMC came out with a high-end all-electric Continental four-door sedan within the design ethic of "our" Contis. It is such a shame that Tesla has stolen that segment right out from under Ford's nose. Well, not just Ford's, I suppose. Maybe Tesla should buy FMC and then resurrect the Conti model and properly electrify it and phase out their Type-Ss.
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silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
Thank you for asking! I have about 1200 miles on the Bimmer. I will first share the things that I miss about the Continental or where I think it is superior.

The BMW is very tight and the doors need a good push to close on the first try. I really miss the Lincoln soft-close doors. The BMW has no way to activate the heated seats when doing a remote start. The Lincoln did and that was very nice in Minnesota weather. The Lincoln cross traffic alert was MUCH more sensitive than the BMW. The BMW has more safety technology in general but the cross traffic alert requires you to nearly back into traffic before it provides a warning. The ergonomics were better for me in the Lincoln. Some of the BMW buttons for the climate system and seat adjustments are very small and difficult to see. The rear seat of the Conti was MUCH larger and had climate controls for the rear seat passengers. The BMW rear seat is much smaller and only has seat heating....no individual temp or fan controls.

Things about the BMW that I think are better:

The car is much superior mechanically in my opinion. It's 523 HP V8 far outperforms the 400 HP V6 in the Conti and also gets better highway fuel economy. The 8 speed ZF transmission in the BMW is much smoother. The BMW is remarkably quiet.....almost eerily so...much quieter than the Conti. The BMW brakes are much larger and provide better feel and stopping power. The ride is probably a tad firmer but there is less impact noise or drama when hitting bumps. I love the I-drive controller (sort of like a computer mouse) in the BMW. Even though you can operate the larger BMW screen by touch, the controller on the console is handier and you avoids fingerprints on the screen. Voice commands work very well but they also worked well in the Lincoln. About the only difference is that there is no need to press a button with the BMW. It responds by just saying "Hey, BMW" and telling it what you want.

I would say the following areas are equal: Fit/finish, build quality, material quality and seat comfort. The BMW offer some distinct mechanical advantages as you would expect, given the price. However, the Continental was a pretty darn nice car, too. If Lincoln had continued offering a large sedan and kept it updated, I would not have gone to a foreign manufacturer.
How is the sound system on the M550 compared to the continental?
 

brucelinc

Member
Jan 11, 2018
248
106
43
Minneapolis
How is the sound system on the M550 compared to the continental?
I should make the point that I am not an audiophile. I don't turn up the volume to blow out the windows and I don't need bass that shakes the whole car. Having said that, here are my observations:

I had the base 13 speaker Revel in my Conti....not the Ultima. I was very disappointed in it from the beginning. I test drove other Continentals with that system and they were all the same...tinny sounding and not much bass. My BMW has a Harmon/Kardon 16 speaker system. It is excellent to my ears.....far better than the base Revel in my Conti. It has an equalizer that made finding the sweet spot pretty easy. The sound just seems to fill the entire car and sounds very natural and refined.

To be fair, I have heard that Lincoln's Revel Ultima is excellent but I have never been in a Lincoln with that upgraded system.
 

silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
I have the revel ultima system and I didn't see any speaker upgraded options other than the stock one on the M550. I am very happy with the Revel Ultima so I was curious how that compares as I think its one of the best and id hate to downgrade. Thanks for the input even if its from the base 13 speaker system.
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silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
I am most likely going to go test drive one tomorrow. its not the configuration or color I want but it should give me an idea if I want to replace my conti with it and custom order the correct configuration. This is assuming its still on the lot by the time I get there. Still concerned about overall maintenance costs but we will see how much I like it or not.
 

brucelinc

Member
Jan 11, 2018
248
106
43
Minneapolis
I am most likely going to go test drive one tomorrow. its not the configuration or color I want but it should give me an idea if I want to replace my conti with it and custom order the correct configuration. This is assuming its still on the lot by the time I get there. Still concerned about overall maintenance costs but we will see how much I like it or not.
Bowers & Wilkens sound system was an option prior to the chip shortage. It was supposedly pretty spectacular. BMW covers scheduled maintenance for 3 years/36000 miles. I just hope the reliability is as good as I have been accustomed to with my Lincolns.
 

silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
Bowers & Wilkens sound system was an option prior to the chip shortage. It was supposedly pretty spectacular. BMW covers scheduled maintenance for 3 years/36000 miles. I just hope the reliability is as good as I have been accustomed to with my Lincolns.
That's the part I'm concerned with is the prior to chip shortage so no longer available. If I do end up going with it ill lease it so I can return it if I see any issues or an overly large amount of maintenance required. Also im sure the engine/transmission is a step up its the rest of the car that I am worried about as I really do like my conti.
 

brucelinc

Member
Jan 11, 2018
248
106
43
Minneapolis
That's the part I'm concerned with is the prior to chip shortage so no longer available. If I do end up going with it ill lease it so I can return it if I see any issues or an overly large amount of maintenance required. Also im sure the engine/transmission is a step up its the rest of the car that I am worried about as I really do like my conti.

I also liked my Conti....but, unfortunately, they are no longer being made. The BMW lacks a couple of things the Conti had but has a few things that the Conti lacked. I think the BMW will be reliable from a mechanical perspective. My only concerns would be technology or electrical glitches. So far, everything is fine but I doubt if I keep mine past the 4 year warranty.
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MarkX

Active member
Aug 31, 2020
447
171
43
I also liked my Conti....but, unfortunately, they are no longer being made. The BMW lacks a couple of things the Conti had but has a few things that the Conti lacked. I think the BMW will be reliable from a mechanical perspective. My only concerns would be technology or electrical glitches. So far, everything is fine but I doubt if I keep mine past the 4 year warranty.
I understand that the current range of BMW V8 engines are engineering marvels but at the same time very complex and difficult and expensive to service when they get up in miles and hours. Therefore, if you can get use out of the car within the manufacturer's warrant coverage I am sure the BMW would be a joy to be an owner from new and a pleasure to drive. In other words, it is probably a good idea to drive the hell out of it but move on before the big bills kick in.
 

brucelinc

Member
Jan 11, 2018
248
106
43
Minneapolis
The early BMW V8s had some issues but from what I have read, the newer ones have been vastly improved and are quite reliable. However, they are pretty complex beasts and and I suspect parts and labor after warranty are hideously expensive.

I have had a great relationship with my Lincoln dealer but ZERO relationship with the BMW dealer. That is another reason for concern if something ever goes awry.
 

silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
So finished my test drive today. To start off I love the engine and transmission. I wish the inside was a bit more roomy and that the thigh extenders could be positioned higher. Overall id say the 30 way seats on the conti are better from a comfort standpoint. Same with the revel ultimate being superior to the standard sound system. Can't compare the upgrade as they don't offer it anymore with the chip shortage. Overall multimedia system seems nicer with significantly more features but I do agree that the buttons are not nearly as ergonomically placed as on the Conti. I also prefer the seat adjustments on the conti over the bmw they just seem easier to use as they are on the door/screen vs on the side bottom of the seat. Even though it does have a button to disable the start/stop system I am still annoyed it is on by default. Maybe it can be turned off by default but not sure based on the time I was in it. Its a nice more sporty car but at the cost of some comfort (overall less comfort loss than I was anticipating). Ride was also very good overall just slight less comfortable than the conti in comfort mode. Visibility was slightly worse at least to me but that could just be me not being use to it. So now it comes down to do I really think its worth it to replace my conti to get some more performance or do I just want to keep using it as is since its paid off as I do like the bmw but don't love it.
 

brucelinc

Member
Jan 11, 2018
248
106
43
Minneapolis
So finished my test drive today. To start off I love the engine and transmission. I wish the inside was a bit more roomy and that the thigh extenders could be positioned higher. Overall id say the 30 way seats on the conti are better from a comfort standpoint. Same with the revel ultimate being superior to the standard sound system. Can't compare the upgrade as they don't offer it anymore with the chip shortage. Overall multimedia system seems nicer with significantly more features but I do agree that the buttons are not nearly as ergonomically placed as on the Conti. I also prefer the seat adjustments on the conti over the bmw they just seem easier to use as they are on the door/screen vs on the side bottom of the seat. Even though it does have a button to disable the start/stop system I am still annoyed it is on by default. Maybe it can be turned off by default but not sure based on the time I was in it. Its a nice more sporty car but at the cost of some comfort (overall less comfort loss than I was anticipating). Ride was also very good overall just slight less comfortable than the conti in comfort mode. Visibility was slightly worse at least to me but that could just be me not being use to it. So now it comes down to do I really think its worth it to replace my conti to get some more performance or do I just want to keep using it as is since its paid off as I do like the bmw but don't love it.

I pretty much agree with everything you wrote. Do you know if the car you drove had 19 inch wheels or 20s? You probably didn't notice the tire brand. From a ride comfort perspective, 19s offer more compliance. Also, all-season tires are softer than high performance summer tires. Lastly, run-flat tires are harsher than non run-flats.

Regarding the Harmon/Kardon sound system, did you get a chance to adjust the settings via the equalizer? Mine was just set at mid-level on all settings. After some tweaking, I was able to improve the sound nicely.

I loved the 30 way seats in the Conti but after experimenting with different settings on the BMW, I find them equally good. I like having the memory function on the passenger seat as well as the driver's, too.
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silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
20 in Pirellis which the sales person was saying were better than the 19s. I am sure this is because they cost more. It had the high performance run flat summer tires since I live in Cali. I currently run a similar high performance tire on my conti. I played with the audio system for a bit but could never get it as good as the revel ultimate. I have a feeling the upgraded one would have been able to compete if not beat it but that's no longer available. I wasn't aware the passenger side had a memory function. Also any idea if you can permanently kill the start/stop system? Good to know that with a bit of effort you were able to make the seats work for you.
 

brucelinc

Member
Jan 11, 2018
248
106
43
Minneapolis
From everything I have heard and read on multiple forums, the 20 inch run flat Pirellis cause a much stiffer ride. Even the build & price site says the 19s offer better ride quality.

The button to turn off the stupid start/stop feature is directly under the start button. I quickly got in the habit of first pressing the button to start the car and then the button to turn off the start/stop button.
 

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silverydragon72

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2021
739
302
63
San Jose, CA
Thanks for the update. They definitely seem to lowball the hell out of trade ins. Out of curiosity were you able to get them to budge at all on price? Also they are quoting 3 months for a custom order which seems rather short. How long was yours? Lastly what is your average MPG?
 
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