2011 Mercedes-Benz SL – Click above for high-res image gallery

On the opening day of the Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a carbonite sculpture depicting its future design direction, featuring two major elements set to infect the rest of the automaker's line up.

The first is the massive SLS AMG-inspired fascia with its Flava-Flav-sized three-pointed sta,r and the second was a set of exaggerated rear fenders pulled from the E-Class. Although the sculpture was likely a teaser of the forthcoming CLS update, Mercedes is actively working on incorporating these new design details into the rest of its line and here we see the first recipient.

While the SL just underwent a refresh in 2008, the former flagship coupe/convertible was caught cold weather testing in Scandinavia wearing M-B's new fascia, gaping maw and mammoth logo. The prototype headlamps don't divulge much, but they're more upright than the current units and don't appear to stretch as far back onto the fenders. The hood is completely covered in plastic cladding, so it's safe to assume that a few more ridges and creases will be added to tie the SL's styling to the SLS', and the camo-clad rear fenders are a clear indication that the upswept and extruded blisters seen on the E are set to arrive on the SL. Considering the CLS replacement is likely to arrive at the Geneva Motor Show this March, we'd suspect that the revised SL will debut later in the year, so the smart money's on a Frankfurt rollout.

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