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By Mark Kleis

For many months now we’ve seen photos of Mercedes-Benz’ next-gen ML-Class SUV prototypes wearing heavy camouflage. Today, however, our spy photographers have caught two ML-Class prototypes during winter testing on video, with the most bulky camo removed.

Judging from this new spy video, the new ML’s wheelbase seems almost the same as today’s ML. Whatever the dimensions will be, for efficiency reasons weight is definitely going to be reduced. This chassis will also be shared with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2011 Dodge Durango.

From the latest video we can see that the doors have new sculpting, with two bold character lines visible, along with new door mirrors. A large angular grille with at least three chrome cross bars can also be seen, flanked by revised headlights similar to the units found on the revised CL-Class coupe.

Under the hood we expect a similar range of engines powering today’s car, including the 3.5-liter V6, 5.5-liter V8 and the 6.2-liter V8 for the AMG model. A 3.0-liter turbo diesel should also continue on in the lineup. We’ve also heard that Mercedes may offer the new ML with a standard or plug-in hybrid right from the start.

This next-gen ML-Class should make it to dealers before the second half of 2011, with a starting price around the same $46,000 for the ML 350 now, ranging on to roughly double that for the premium 6.2-liter AMG model.



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