Luxury means different things to different parts of the country, especially when it comes to cars. On the West Coast, luxury-car buyers are increasingly going electric. In the Northeast, you’re far more likely to see luxury SUVs. But in the Midwest, where I spent a few days driving a 2019 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label around Southeastern Missouri, Lincoln and Cadillac are still king. With Lincoln striving to appeal to those outside the heartland, here’s what the Nautilus Black Label gets right and wrong.
Great first impressions
One of Lincoln’s smartest moves of the past few years was deciding to give its models real names. Formerly known as the MKX, the new Nautilus and its updated sheetmetal turned heads and drew bystanders with regularity across eastern Missouri. “What is that?’ “THAT’s a Lincoln?” “Nautilus?” Rebranding to the Nautilus name was truly a stroke of genius. Even if it’s a name that some struggle to pronounce, a real name resonates with actual real human beings far better than three random letters ever could.
Drives well without being in-authentically sporty
The Nautilus Black Label is available with a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four, or with a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, as found in our tester. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic and available with all-wheel drive.
With Lincoln leaving the sport-luxury stuff to Cadillac in order to focus on what it calls “quiet” luxury, the Nautilus is a capable performer without being an outright performance SUV. Its twin-turbo V-6 is torquey and responsive around town, with smooth power delivery that never quite pins you back in your seat. On the highway, the Nautilus feels quick to accelerate, but disguises speed well.
Even on its gorgeous 21-inch wheels shod with all-season tires, the Nautilus both rides and handles nicely for what it is; some credit is due to its well-tuned electronically adjustable suspension. Steering feel and response falls somewhere between the Lexus RX and Acura MDX on the steering sportiness scale.
The Black Label-exclusive appointments are properly luxurious…
As is the case on the Lincoln Continental, Navigator, and now Aviator, opting for the top-level Black Label trim brings some truly luxurious finishings to the Nautilus’ cabin. The Nautilus Black Label’s “Venetian” leather, available in three different color schemes, is thick, soft, and features quality-looking stitching. The cabin also features a suede-like headliner, thick double-paned glass to quiet the cabin, and a 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system with phenomenal audio clarity and definition. Twenty-two-way front seats are available for $1,500, though they are nowhere near as comfortable as the 30-way seats in newer Lincolns.
Unlike the latest batch of new Lincolns, the Nautilus retains some vestiges of old alphabet-soup Lincoln in its DNA. For example, while Black Label models such as the Navigator are beautifully finished throughout, incorporating woodgrains, metals, and large high-resolution screens, the Nautilus is missing that attention to detail. It still has the same black grained plastic “waterfall” center stack as the MKX, complete with an 8.0-inch infotainment system that, while functional, is a generation behind Lincoln’s latest products.
As a result, the Nautilus is ultimately a less convincing Black Label model than either the Continental or the Navigator. Those two (and by all accounts, the coming Aviator) are thoroughbred top-to-bottom luxury cruisers. The Nautilus Black Label, especially at $67,630 as tested, is missing that X-factor that ultimately distinguishes the Continental and Navigator from the pack.
Source: Read Full Article