New spy pictures of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SL prototype have surfaced. The luxury roadster has now begun its winter test programme after coming to grips with heat testing.

From sparse exterior bits it appears the design inspiration is straight off the Mercedes SLS AMG. That is not a bad thing. We should see feature items such as LED lights (front and back) and the usual foldable hard top.

The new SLS will sport engines such as the 5.5-litre V8 with 285kW (387hp) and possibly the rumoured 400kW (544hp)-plus 4.0-litre twin turbo. These should be mated to a 7-speed automatic as standard. We might even see a hybrid powertrain adapted from the Mercedes S400 Hybrid. Sales will begin sometime in 2012.

Gallery: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Prototype Caught Testing Near Arctic Circle

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