2024 Lincoln Nautilus Reserves the Right to Luxuriate in Style and Performance. It Can Also Drive Itself.

Lincoln has long represented advanced American luxury.  It pioneered aerodynamic styling with the 1936 Zephyr and the personal luxury car with the original 1940 Continental.  The uber expensive 1956 Continental Mark II spoiled celebrities.  Perhaps no car had as much influence on the brand as the 1961 Continental that eschewed tailfins for sleek slab sides and sharp fenders while rocketing luxury into an exciting new age – just as the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus Reserve does today.

It’s not just another luxury crossover; it’s a Lincoln.  The big bold grille with intricate detail leads the way, flanked by adaptive LED headlamps and light bar that stretches across with an illuminated Lincoln star hung between.  Doorhandles are neatly blended into the window trim as in the last Continental.  Our Reserve package’s black roof and 21” dark alloy wheels add allure.  Thin taillamps with LINCOLN spelled across the hatch lend sophistication.  Touch in entry code on the pillar and go inside.

Ray Charles would not miss the infotainment screen that wraps pillar to pillar with a 11.1” touchscreen beneath.  The portion in front of drivers displays a digital speedometer, safety system status (lane keep assist, adaptive cruise), and navigation.  The right side can be configured by drivers.  I selected media and trip computer.  A “squircle” steering wheel is like a set of comfortable handlebars, but provides clear vision of the display.  I know it sounds complicated, but is much more intuitive than the German luxury cars I’ve driven recently.

It’s also saturated with luxury.  Soft leather seats, inspired by the classic Eames lounge chair, are 24-way adjustable and come heated/ventilated up front, heated in the rear.  A heated steering wheel and Panoramic Vista Roof add pleasures.  Choose between four scents that range from summer field to evening embers.  Crank up the 28-speaker Revel audio system for a real delight.  Safety is enhanced by automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, and rear cross path detection systems.

Adding to the technological onslaught is a hybrid powertrain that encompasses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive – good for a combined 310 horsepower and 30/31-MPG city/highway.  That’s not an overwhelming amount of power, but is plenty for a mid-size crossover and few will complain about the fuel economy.  It feels smooth and torquey no matter the road.  An adaptive suspension system controls untoward behavior, but maintains a wafting float over long highways and broken city pavement in the Lincoln tradition.

On a two-hour highway drive for my nephew’s high school graduation party, I was driving the Nautilus, clicking through songs with Apple CarPlay, and watching the displays while enjoying the adaptive cruise control.  Then, I noticed an icon on the left display change from hands on a steering wheel to hands off, indicating Ford’s BlueCruise system had activated, allowing me relax my arms and enjoy a soda while a sensor on the steering column watched me watching the road. Innovations seemingly never cease.

Lincoln pioneered FM radio, 8-track cassettes, and CD players.  That’s child’s play compared to the swath of screens, wirelessly connected audio system, and hands-off cruising.  If you think of Lincoln as old, you clearly have not driven the segment-altering Nautilus Reserve.  While the Nautilus starts at a reasonable $50,415, our Reserve with all the technology came to a more luxurious $69,845, putting it against the Cadillac XT5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, BMW X5, Acura MDX, and Lexus RX.

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Send comments to Casey at [email protected]; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

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