Monday, June 1, 2009

Green Machine

As I've said before, I've been increasingly interested in Lincoln's styling over the past few years. Once again, this year, they didn't disappoint. Their C Concept is one of the more startling things to be found for a number of reasons.
In profile, I'm immediately drawn to the lines at the back. With the curve of the wheel well and the rake of the back window, what could've looked chopped off and stubby takes on a suave sort of 1920s feel. From directly behind, it's solidly planted on the road with an uncommon sense of gravity. It's not gimmicky creases, folds, and veins doing it, either, but just pure massing and volume.

Lincoln has really jumped onto the eco-friendly bandwagon with full force here, but they're going well beyond just saving gas. It does that, too; the C is projected to get 43mpg on the highway, which is remarkable. 
But they're doing a lot of other things, too, like using sustainable materials for the various interior amenities and things like that, like banana leaf mats, soy memory foam padding, and recyclable leather upholstery (although I'm not sure how leather can be entirely recyclable).
There you can see the floral-motif embroidery on the seats, a lovely, artistic touch but a bit girly for my taste. I won't get into how gas-guzzling might or might not be a gendered problem--we men historically do like our engines big, loud, and powerful--but most definitely responsibility toward the planet is on everyone's shoulders.

They're also embracing some interesting new technologies. The onboard computers sound like they have a level of integration well above what we're finding now. It can recognize different drivers and greets you with your own avatar, presumably it will automatically bring up all your own personalized information and preferences. They also claim that it will "learn you," which to me seems to indicate that it will remember your driving preferences even when you don't officially program them into the system. It will track your mood according to how you're driving and other things. And evidently when the C encounters another of its kind on the road, it automatically "winks" at the other C, a little trick with one of the headlights, I gather. I'm a little unclear as to why that'd be a selling point, aside from the caché being in an elite club of car-ownership.
Above all, its lines are striking. Whereas some concepts fail to look like much more than a fantasy version of vehicles already on the road, the C looks like the future.
Its interior is as large as that of the '61 Continental (one of the most gorgeous cars ever built, by the way), but the exterior is only fourteen feet long.
--Photo courtesy Serious Wheels.
They've also given the C the '61's suicide doors, but they're now somewhat amusingly called "freestyle doors." I guess connotations of danger aren't much of a selling point anymore, so they've awkwardly decided to go "urban" with their terminology instead.

©2009, Ryan Witte

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