Lincoln L100 concept chases past glory with dramatic futuristic design
Lincoln likes to reflect upon the high points of its past when thinking about the future. The all-new Model L100 Concept may be the most dramatic example of that thinking. Debuting at a Pebble Beach show sure to have some pristine examples of the marque's past glories, the transformer-like L100 sends a jarring shockwave through Lincoln's safe design fabric, showing what a bolder, more aerodynamic breed of Lincoln looks like in the autonomous future.
Much like Cadillac, Lincoln's design team seems to be at its sharpest when dipping into the deep past to explore the future. It has come up with some stylish, envelope-pushing concepts this way, but sadly the buzz always seems to last but a brief moment before the next production Lincoln lands quietly back inside the confines of a predictable, ho-hum cookie-cutter.
The Model L100 Concept smashes that cookie-cutter to dust and raises hope that the Lincoln of the future will be a little bolder and more luxurious, the way it once was. If not for the large, bold illuminated emblem front and center, we'd never guess the new concept a Lincoln and might not even believe it when informed.
The name, on the other hand, is about as boring as it gets. But it is symbolic. The L100 celebrates Lincoln's 100th anniversary, and in so doing, pays homage to the 1922 Model L, the classic beauty pictured right below (an MY1923).
Frankly, an upright 1920s touring car is the last thing that comes to mind after being greeted by the L100's sweeping illuminated face, low stance and spacecraft-like multi-hatch opening. But the stretched wheelbase and long glasshouse quietly recall the regal proportions of classic cars from centuries gone by. Even that wild, transformative entry ties into classic Lincolns, putting an entirely new and exaggerated spin on the coach doors for which Lincoln was once famous.
One final touch that ties the Model L100 together with classic Lincolns, a crystal greyhound ornament inspired by the classic Lincoln greyhound selected by Edsel Ford in the 1920s stands below the transparent hood panel. Here, it is available for all to see and appreciate without any temptation to touch or yank it right off the hood.
While quite striking from outside, the real focus of the L100 is its interior, which continues the exploration of the next-generation "sanctuary" that Lincoln began with the Star Concept from earlier this year. Relying on the type of presumed energy density we can only dream about here in 2022, Lincoln hypothetically shrinks down the battery and powertrain, leaving an overwhelming amount of cabin space for passengers.
Rather than clutter the spacious interior with multiple passenger rows, Lincoln installs the rear sofa bench as the only fixed seating. The front bench has a rotating seat back that gives owners a choice between a traditional driver-style two-row layout or a more relaxed vis-a-vis layout. Judging from the pictures, the seat back can also remove entirely to leave the front seat bench as a footrest giving the rearmost passengers an autonomous limousine-style ride.
The L100 leans on its autonomy to further free space, replacing the steering wheel and dashboard controls with a long game board-like digital command center. An artistically crafted jewel-inspired physical controller atop this center console control area helps passengers to easily control interior settings. A combination of digital floor, canopy and ambient lighting can create a mood-enhancing symphony harmonized with both sound and scent. The full glass roof above visually opens the interior even more.
Though the concept has the aforementioned next-level battery density, Lincoln designers have still tried to sculpt it for optimal aerodynamic performance and range-maximizing efficiency. The low ride height, smooth front-end, long, arched roofline and extended Kamm tail all enhance aerodynamics, as do the illuminated smart wheel covers.
The Model L100 Concept clearly won't be the next Lincoln to arrive at dealerships, but we do hope to see the brand move in a more daring direction influenced by recent concepts ... sometime before the next 100 years are up. For now, the concept will turn many heads during its debut at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where Lincoln continues celebrating its 100th birthday.
The short clip below provides a little more context about the new concept car.