Honestly, it’s astounding just how quickly Lincoln has been refreshing and innovating their vehicles over the past handful of years. Seemingly overnight, they transformed almost their entire lineup from brand-engineered wallflowers to class-leading cars and SUVs that are shaking up the luxury vehicle status quo. Lincoln’s new design language brings sexy back with smooth, sultry styling and clean, modern lines. They’re embracing what it means to be an American luxury brand with glistening chrome, opulent interiors, and powerful engines. Hot on the heels of the all-new Continental in 2017 and the new Navigator in 2018, the new 2019 Nautilus replaces the MKX as Lincoln continues the effort to bring back the lost art of naming vehicles.
Style with Substance: The Nautilus is Simply Incredible
Right off the bat, I want to just say that I think that what Lincoln did with the styling while transforming the MKX into the Nautilus is simply incredible. While the MKX’s styling could be considered polarizing, the Nautilus is handsome and well-proportioned from every angle. The 21-inch wheels on the top-tier Black Label trim I drove feature a beautiful turbine look. It’s a design that stretches from edge to edge, making the wheels look even bigger than they are. I’m also a huge fan of Lincoln’s new grill, which emulates the Lincoln badge beautifully from between the new jewel-like headlights. Out back, the LED taillights light up from corner to corner, giving the Nautilus a wide, imposing appearance.
A Throne Fit for Royalty
Inside, much of the interior design has carried over from the MKX, but that’s no bad thing in my opinion. The dash layout reminds me of a waterfall as the center console cascades down gently towards the driver and passenger. The 7.0-inch screen features SYNC 3 which is starting to show its age, but the touchscreen is snappy and responsive while looking well-integrated into the interior.
The new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster can be reconfigured to show nearly anything you could possibly want at a glance. It might not seem like a big change but it helps make the interior feel a little more futuristic. I should also note that the 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system is also a standard on the Black Label. In case you were wondering, it sounds every bit as amazing as you’d expect. Even listening to the radio feel like an immersive experience. Overall, there are few places more comfortable than inside the Nautilus. Heck, not even my own living room is this nicely appointed!
In addition to loads of technology, the interior of the Nautilus is full of buttery-soft leather from a Scottish tannery called Bridge of Weir. This is the same tannery that companies like Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, and several other high-end luxury automakers use. That fine leather covers nearly everything, from the dash to the doors, and just about anywhere else you might touch. Better still, the Black Label’s 22-way adjustable seats covered rich Venetian leather and feature an Active Motion massaging function. Not only does all of this leather look and feel incredible but the smell is so rich and intoxicating.
Power and Control
The Nautilus is available with two engine options: a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 that makes 335 horsepower. I drove a Black Label with the latter engine and paired it with Lincoln’s optional Intelligent AWD. This combination is a match made in heaven with plenty of power on demand and sure-footed stability regardless of road conditions. Although the Nautilus’ fuel economy isn’t anything to write home about, it’s 19 MPG city/26 MPG highway is decent. For context, those numbers go up if you choose the base engine and skip AWD. Either way, the Nautilus’ fuel economy is pretty average for this class.
Starting at $40,340 for the standard Nautilus with the 2.0T 4-cylinder and FWD, Lincoln is offering pretty compelling value. Although the standard trim misses some of the more luxurious touches, nearly all of the safety tech you could imagine comes standard on the base Nautilus. That includes things like the 12.3-inch instrument cluster display and SYNC 3, as well as safety features like Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, and Forward Collision Warning with Dynamic Braking Assist. As you work your way up the trim levels, more features become available or standard. Highlights include convenience features like adaptive cruise control, wireless device charging, a 360-degree camera system, and an enhanced auto-parking feature that helps with tight parallel parking spots.
The fully-loaded Black Label model I drove came with an MSRP of $68,100. That’s about $11,000 worth of options over the $56,895 base price for the Black Label trim. It’s worth noting though that Black Label is more than just a trim level for Lincoln. It encompasses a number of customer service features that improve the Lincoln ownership experience compared to other brands. West End Lincoln put together this summary of the perks of the Black Label program that can be found below.