Lincoln’s Canadian-made ‘Digital Experience’ debuts in the 2024 Nautilus

We went hands-on with the luxury car brand's new infotainment software

Lincoln’s new ‘Digital Experience’ is best implemented in the Nautilus

Ford and Lincoln recently unveiled an all-new, designed-in-Canada Digital Experience, coming first to the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus.

I had the chance to try out the digital experience at a recent event in Toronto, and here’s what I learned.

The bulk of the new experience was designed in Canada, according to Jamey Schein, an in-vehicle product expert at the event. “We have a large number of people, both software, hardware, OTA, and various parts of it in Ottawa.” He added, “We’ve got a team in Oakville, and we’ve got a whole team in Waterloo, so we do have a fairly large number of Canadian employees.”

The new digital experience is essentially software that can be implemented in different ways. In the Lincoln Nautilus, it takes shape as a large 48-inch panoramic display that is easily glanceable while driving and doesn’t distract you from the road.

“For years, we’ve been talking about how do we get people to stop looking down at their phone, taking something out of their pocket and focus on what’s most important,” said Schein. “So, one of the keys to that, we think, is putting the information almost in like the line of sight, so it’s a small glance down and not necessarily like a full head tilt.”

And that is exactly what the 2024 Nautilus’ Digital Experience does. It segments the large screen into three sections, namely ‘Critical,’ ‘Supportive,’ and ‘Glanceable.’

Essential information like speed and BlueCruise details stay driver-focused on the left. This is in the ‘Critical’ segment. Navigation takes center stage in the ‘Supportive’ section with Google Maps.

The right side of the display, the one directly in front of the passenger seat, called the ‘Glanceable’ segment, is your customizable playground. Here, you can set different widgets, including clock, music, weather, fuel economy and more. “This is just where we’re starting. This is an area that we’re going to continue to invest in,” suggesting that the ‘Glanceable’ segment will likely gain additional widgets in the future.

The Digital Experience will offer users access to music, audiobooks, and podcasts using entertainment apps downloaded on Google Play, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, and iHeartRadio, as well as embedded SiriusXM with 360L.

By default, the Glanceable segment can only display three widgets at once, and users have the option to switch out and choose the widgets of their choice.

The panoramic display has a brightness of 1,000nits to make the Digital Experience legible on sunny days. The display is 4K and is directly backlit with dynamic dimming.

According to Lincoln, powering Digital Experience is a beefed-up system with 5x faster processing, 14x faster graphics, and 4x more memory, and 8x more storage than previous systems.

Elsewhere, the vehicle still supports wired and wireless CarPlay and AndroidAuto for phone mirroring.

The Digital Experience also comes pre-loaded with a Ford-exclusive version of Asphalt Nitro 2. Users get the Ford Mustang unlocked from the start, and can play the title on a secondary central screen with “any major controller,” including PlayStation and Xbox controllers, when the vehicle is parked.

“We are working with some third-party gaming platform providers on some of the software acceleration under the hoods as well,” said Schein, though he refrained from commenting on it further.

While parked, users would also be able to watch videos, movies and TV shows on YouTube and Prime Video.

According to Lincoln, the Digital Experience will soon gain Google Chrome for in-vehicle web browsing, as well as “leading” video conferencing applications.

Ford and Lincoln promise fast over-the-air (OTA) updates for the Digital Experience in the future, with frequent improvements and bug fixes.

Users can also tweak their security and privacy settings right from the Digital Experience’s settings, and toggle permissions for microphone, location, contacts, apps and more. From the looks of it, the menu wasn’t very dissimilar from the settings and privacy menu on Android phones.

Elsewhere, Ford and Lincoln’s upcoming 2024 Aviator also offers the same Digital Experience, albeit with a different implementation. It features the same experience but on a smaller, non-panaromic display.

The 2024 Nautilus is available to reserve now in Canada, starting at $64,395.

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