2022 marks the centenary of the Lincoln brand becoming part of the Ford family and securing its future starting with the Model L. As the honored marque at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this year, Lincoln is celebrating by showing off a new concept that looks to where the brand might be going in the future, the L100.
In a break from recent years when concepts have become less common at Ford and Lincoln, this is actually the second concept in the past several months from the brand. Back in April we saw the Star concept which is a preview of the new design language that will be appearing on the family of battery electric Lincoln vehicles beginning in 2024. The appearance of the Star is likely very close to what we’ll see on an electric Aviator-type SUV at that time although it’s unknown if it will carry the Aviator badge.
One of the more distinctive features of the Star is the lightbar that sweeps across the downward curving front end of the vehicle and curves up and over the tops of the fenders. Combined with other backlit elements of the fascia that can be electronically animated to greet the driver as they approach, Lincoln designers have crafted a new face for the brand for an era where the current grille design becomes superfluous.
While the current Lincoln lineup consists entirely of SUVs and crossovers, the L100 goes off in an entirely different direction but picks up on the themes from the Star. The L100 can be thought of as a reinterpretation of the luxury touring coupe form of the Continental Mark II and other classic Lincolns, but at the same time, it’s nothing like them. This is tourer for the age when humans may no longer need to drive.
It is a long, flowing coupe with ample amounts of glass including the “hood.” The original L100 featured a greyhound hood ornament specified by Edsel Ford, but traditional hood ornaments are now a rarity for both safety and aerodynamic reasons. The transparent hood curves down deeply between the large front fenders and provides visibility to a crystal version of the greyhound mounted underneath, out of the airstream.
As seen in recent production Lincolns like the Aviator and Corsair, there is a downward sweep to the roofline at the rear, part of an overall tapering seen in both plan and profile views. It’s both aerodynamic and elegant. The surfaces flow continuously from front to back in a very organic way that almost feels like it might have been shaped by water flowing over it for hundreds or thousands of years.
The nearly seamless flanks of the L100 include wheel covers that remain stationary but incorporate lighted spokes that can be animated in a variety of ways to evoke motion, battery charging or otherwise communicate to those outside the vehicle.
The two enormous doors swing out from hinges at the very rear of the car and stretch all the way forward to just behind the front wheels. Since they are so large, everything is motorized as is the roof panel that tilts up from the rear for easier ingress and egress. The way everything opens up as the occupants approach is like a friend coming in for a hug, fitting in with the Lincoln Embrace theme.
The back seat is actually the primary seat in this concept which is meant to drive the passengers rather than being driven. The front bench seat backs can be in a conventional position for front occupants, folded back, turning the seat into an ottoman or folded forward, transforming it into a rear facing bench.
There are no conventional driving controls, but the center console which stretches back to within reach of the rear occupants is dubbed the chessboard. A jewel shaped controller known as the chess piece can be used to control the vehicle as needed.
The entire digital floor of the L100 features animated imagery to create different themes based on the occupant’s preferences such as flying over clouds. At the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show the Subaru stand featured something similar with a floor that appeared to be constantly in motion and it was quite disorienting when standing still on it. However, interior design chief Ryan Niemiec said they’ve actually thought about that.
“Some of those video things at Disney, like where it’s just the video, it messes with my head completely so I understand,” said Niemiec. “So we mentally said that has to be a slower moving scenario. We can have that embrace and that sort of drama, but once you’re inside it’s about creating an atmosphere and not throwing in disorder and we don’t want to put you that state of mind.”
It’s unlikely that we’ll see anything quite like the L100 on the road this decade, but the concept does give a look at where the Lincoln design team is thinking about heading in the brand’s second century.