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Lincoln’s L100 concept teases luxurious autonomy | Autoblog

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Lincoln chose Pebble Beach (not to mention its brand centennial) to show its new autonomous coupe concept. This unconventional 2+2 has everything you expect from a classic Lincoln luxury car — an extravagant presence, over-the-top appointments and, most importantly, the most ridiculous suicide doors we’ve ever seen. It may not seem obvious in photos, but the L100 is truly massive. It’s longer than a Navigator (Lincoln’s words) and arguably has a far more impressive aura. The wheels are tucked beneath the L100’s body work to make the car more slippery; the slick impressions adorning the bodywork are lined with LEDs, allowing for a customizable movement “signature.” 

And then there are the doors. The L100’s massive portals are mounted on hinges the likes of which you’ve never seen, which is appropriate given the scale of this massive coupe. The doors open rearward, then outward imbuing the works with look akin to that of a mechanized insect startled by an intruder. The angle can be customized, Lincoln says, and the ingress/egress points are lined with LEDs that allow for custom lighting effects, including an illuminated “red carpet” that makes puddle lamps look like weak party tricks. 

“We are at a special moment in our history. Over the last 100 years, Lincoln has pioneered multiple innovations and pushed the boundaries of design that have come to define our brand as we know and love it today,” says Joy Falotico, president, Lincoln. “With the Model L100 Concept, we reimagine what the Lincoln sanctuary might look like for our clients of tomorrow moving us forward to define the next chapter of the Lincoln story.”

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Lincoln was light on the L100’s technical details, suggesting only that it utilizes next-gen (solid state) battery tech and a wheel-in-motor configuration to maximize available interior space. The stylized “wheel” panels eliminate turbulence and are sculpted outward from the car’s centerline to maximize space for the actual wheels and tires hidden beneath them. Lincoln’s designers say it was surprisingly easy to assure clearance for the front wheels to pivot with steering inputs, but despite the L100’s size, it’s hard not to fixate on how narrow that front track must be.

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Lincoln’s idea of the next chapter is one where people still own their own cars even if they don’t drive them. This is in contrast to Cadillac’s InnerSpace concept, which is otherwise very similar in both concept and execution. Cadillac’s all-electric autono-coupe was conceived for a future where autonomous vehicles are more likely to be managed by a rideshare service and available to anybody with a subscription.

The L100 is also a bit more versatile, offering seating for up to five rather than just two. Its controls are well outside the envelope of today’s convention. The car does the driving for you, after all, so even the term “controls” is a bit misleading. The occupant need only enter an address, which can easily be done via voice commands. Lincoln could have left it at that, but one of its designers offered up a charming alternative: Why not set the destination using a car? As you can see in the above images, Lincoln did just that. The L100 concept’s control interface is a faceted miniature of the car itself. You’re meant to take it in your hand (the way a child does with a toy) and place it at your desired destination. The L100 will take it from there. 

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“Concept vehicles allow us to reimagine and illustrate how new experiences can come to life with the help of advanced technologies and allow our designers more creative freedom than ever before,” said Anthony Lo, chief design officer, Ford Motor Company. “With the Model L100, we were able to push the boundaries in ways that evolve our Quiet Flight brand DNA and change the way we think about Lincoln designs of tomorrow.”

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