Lincoln's recent rebirth as Ford's focus for luxury, led by the 2009 MKS sedan, has targeted it for a market that doesn't focus heavily on compact cars. The game is changing, however, as even BMW and Mercedes are looking at four-cylinders and smaller cars for the U.S. market as efficiency and emissions concerns rise. According to Derrick Kuzak, Ford's product development guru, that train of thought could be making a stop at Lincoln.

Specifics are still a ways out, but Kuzak says the company sees "room for a smaller car in the Lincoln brand," reports Automotive News. With the MKS (pictured) doing duty as the E-Class, 5-series and CTS-sized sedan and the recently-confirmed MKT taking on the flagship crossover segment, a compact sedan below the two could make sense. If it does come to the brand, it could share underpinnings with Ford's Kuga crossover, though some of the company's European sedans could also donate mechanical elements.

If the Lincoln compact is green-lighted, it likely won't arrive for sale until 2010 at the earliest, with a 2011 date more reasonable for adequate product development, branding, styling and marketing lead-in. While it's unlikely that Lincoln would use the same EcoBoost engine it's planning for the MKS and MKT in a smaller vehicle, the performance potential of such a car would be impressive, potentially outclassing even the formidable BMW 135i's 3.0L twin-turbo inline six-cylinder with its 3.5L twin-turbo V6, rated at 340hp (253kW).