I had my Continental at the dealer this week to have the instrument cluster replaced. The original developed a strange red line running through it and the replacement was done flawlessly but that is not the point of this post. The gave me a 2017 MKZ as a loaner.
While the Z is a pretty nice vehicle, I was struck by the contrast with the Continental. I had driven 2017 MKZs before when I still owned my MKS, and was not particularly impressed with the ride or overall comfort of the Z compared to my MKS. However, the difference between the MKZ and the Continental is even more striking. While a nice quiet car, the MKZ lacks the ride quality and solid feeling of the Conti. The doors do not close with the same level of refinement, the seat bottoms are too short, the steering wheel buttons are not as intuitive.
Additionally, the steering was slower and less precise than the Continental. In spite of the Conti riding in a more refined manner, I didn't feel that it gave up anything in handling precision or nimbleness to the MKZ. The Z I drove was a FWD model so it is a bit unfair to compare with with my AWD Conti with dynamic torque vectoring but I expected the Z to be a bit better than it was.
This is not to knock the MKZ. It is probably quite competitive in its class and a pretty nice vehicle. However, spending some time with it proved to me that the Continental really is a step above.