An engineering mule of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG successor has been spied undergoing testing in Europe.
While from the outside the test car could be easily mistaken for a mild facelift, there is far more to this silver Roadster prototype than meets the eye.
Larger front bumper intakes facilitate improved engine cooling, suggesting turbocharging will have a role to play in the next-generation sports car’s new propulsion system.
Despite its more compact dimensions, the new model will carry over an almost unchanged version of the chassis underpinning the SLS AMG.
That means the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout will remain, though design elements, including the SLS AMG’s extravagantly long bonnet and gullwing doors will make way for more modern, conventional sports car styling.
Mercedes’ new model will not wear SLS AMG badging, with the German brand preferring to allow its sports nameplates to run their course then retire them, as it did with the SLR McLaren of 2003-2010.
It’s unclear exactly if the SLS AMG will run a full seven-year lifecycle or be phased out early to coincide with the launch of the new model that’s expected in 2015.
A standard lifecycle would take the SLS AMG through until at least the end of 2016, overlapping with the new model by more than 12 months.
Mercedes-Benz has no plans to facelift the SLS AMG before is it discontinued, preferring to keep its styling consistent across the car’s lifecycle.