Spied: Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Testing in Nevada

These spy photos give us our first look at the next Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. The car was spotted by an eagle-eyed reader driving through Nevada. Though the car wore Michigan manufacturer plates, our source tells us the man behind the wheel had a German accent and referred to the camouflaged SL as “da prototype.”

The new SL follows the same basic formula as before, with a folding metal roof and long-hood roadster design. The front fascia and grille appear to have been flattened slightly, similar in look to the SLS AMG and 2012 SLK and CLS. Peeking through the camo tape, we spy redesigned headlights and new wraparound taillights with a curving white element at the top of the housings.

We have previously reported that the next Mercedes SL-Class will be loosely based on the rear-wheel-drive platform of the new E-Class, but with an elongated wheelbase. That makes for more passenger and luggage space, as well as wider door openings that make it easier for the car’s older customers to enter and exit. The suspension will feature Magic Ride Control, which uses a camera to scan the road ahead and automatically adjust damping settings. The folding roof will feature Magic Sky Control, a set of glass panels whose opacity can be adjusted electronically. Inside, expect to see a redesign dashboard and center console that is easier to use and looks similar to that in the SLS, along with more-comfortable seats.

As for power, we expect the base SL will employ a 3.5-liter V-6 good for about 305 hp, followed by the SL500 with a 435-hp, twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8. There will be two AMG versions: the SL63 AMG gets a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 good for about 565 hp, while the SL65 AMG will retain a 6.0-liter V-12 engine with 630 hp and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Other SL trims will eventually get a nine-speed automatic.

Mercedes-Benz has yet to talk about the next SL-Class, but we think it’s logical to expect the car to debut at next year’s Geneva Motor Show. Until the car is fully revealed, enjoy the spy photos below.

Thanks to reader Frank H. Wu for the photos!

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