2012 Mercedes ML spy shots -- Click above for high-res image gallery

The next iteration of the Mercedes ML-class has been caught braving the European cold and snow for some testing as it gets ready for its debut.

There will probably be plenty of subtle stylistic changes to distinguish it from the current model, but the biggest news about the coming SUV is that it will be smaller. Of course, it's hard to tell from the cloak of darkness camouflage on the prototype pictured, but it does look slightly less imposing than the current hauler. Early indications are that the various engine offerings in the next ML will focus on efficiency over performance, but we suspect it won't be a slouch dynamically.

We can expect it to appear in the middle of 2011 as a 2012 model.

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