As Mercury slides quietly into the night, Ford is prepping Lincoln for a new-product burst, including seven all-new or significantly refreshed models coming over the next four years. The most interesting addition may be the brand's first-ever C-segment vehicle, which could be based on the svelte Lincoln C Concept.

The C Concept, first unveiled at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, was billed at the time primarily as a vehicle for demonstrating upcoming connectivity technology. With a new Focus platform headed to the U.S., however, Lincoln may get a version of the car's underpinnings inside a C Concept-esque production car. Lincoln has yet to reveal any details on the upcoming car, however.

Ford also plans to push Lincoln into more "refined, modern design" territory, with "an unexpected blend of responsive driving enjoyment and warm, inviting comfort." Cutting through the corporate-speak, that likely means fresh faces on existing Lincoln models plus the addition of EcoBoost models to all vehicles in the Lincoln range, including the Navigator and the C-Segment car. An all-new V-6 engine is also on the docket.

Look for more focus on high-tech convenience options, not unlike Lexus and BMW, including push-button gear selectors and computer-controlled suspensions. The MyLincoln Touch connectivity technology and further SYNC development are also a given.

As for the models, a "significantly refreshed" 2011 MKX is due later this year, and will debut the MyLincoln Touch tech. The remaining six new/refreshed vehicles will be spaced over the coming four years.

Finally, Lincoln will be working to improve its dealership experience to better compete with recognized successes like Cadillac and Lexus.

So far it's a lot of good talk, and we'll have the revamped MKX later this year to evaluate the first steps in the new direction, but we'll have to see how the market takes to the Lincoln brand even if the product does come along.