A luxury sedan for China born in California. The Lincoln Zephyr Reflection, which made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show 2021, is the latest expression of Lincoln’s global design headed by Kemal Curic expertise and shows the evolution of the styling philosophy of the American manufacturer of the Ford group. The model, which is the result of synergistic work between the Ford-Lincoln style centre in Irvine, California, and the one in China, anticipates a production sedan for the Chinese market coming later this year.

Work on the model began in 2019 following a normal studio design programme, but everything changed with the arrival of the pandemic. Members of the design team were forced to work remotely from their homes using digital tools and other methods to make the Zephyr a reality. “In this context, the challenge was to increase the use of digital tools by sharpening our skills more than ever,” says Tyler Blake, Exterior Design Manager.

Guiding the team’s strategy was the target customer: a young, affluent Chinese clientele. A choice also suggested by Rocki Shi, Interior lead designer, and young designer born in China but now living in Irvine: “Never in my career have we been in a position where the designer identifies with the actual client. This has made things much easier because you can immediately intercept their needs, their desires and what motivates them,” says Michael Thomson, Interior Design Manager.

Thomson, Shi and the rest of the interior design team have developed a cabin with a relaxing atmosphere in which passengers can regenerate. The concept debuts a new digital display that spans the entire length of the car and consists of an instrument cluster and a central screen that controls the infotainment system. The two panels can be customised independently.

The exterior is designed to create an emotional connection with younger customers. Blake and the team, including Lead Exterior Designer Paul Muzio and exterior designer Daniel Prochilo, used Lincoln’s signature horizontal design language to create a modern aesthetic. The typical Lincoln grille is raised with an elegant star pattern that cascades down the dashboard, while the star flows seamlessly over the flush door handles.