At the Detroit Auto Show, Lincoln unveiled its MKZ concept, a lightly veiled version of the next car it will introduce. Critics say that, like the current version, it is a Ford Fusion with some wood and leather seats. Some even consider it a misstep for a brand that desperately needs to reinvent itself.
Two college students had a better idea of where they wanted Lincoln to go. At the very same show, they introduced their 2025 Lincoln Continental concept mockup. We won’t go as far as to say it’s pretty—because it isn’t—but with its Fisker-Karma-meets-Cadillac-Ciel curves and evocative design cues of past Lincolns, it’s brash, bold, and daring. And brash, bold, and daring are exactly the kick in the butt Lincoln needs to become relevant again.
Designed by Lawrence Technical University students Colin Bonathan for the exterior and Jeeho Cha on the inside, the 2025 Lincoln Continental concept was conceived in their undergraduate design course with computer modeling. Ford officials liked the car so much that they commissioned a quarter scale models to be created in their Dearborn design studios.
“We’re not just doing pretty pictures. We’re designing beautiful cars that actually work,” Bonathan said of the transportation design program at Lawrence Tech in an interview with the CBS affiliate in Detroit.
Bonathan and Cha created the Continental concept to feature active aerodynamics, a food and drink cooler, a sliding trunk in the back, and the Lincoln badge fused into the glass that makes up the roof. The interior features all of the luxury features you’d expect of a flagship luxury car and one you wouldn’t: a rear-seat bonsai tree.
While this mockup is simply a model from some college kids, it shows that there’s plenty of life left in American designs for American cars. Whether Lincoln actually chooses to employ any of it in its upcoming cars is the only question left.