Development of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SL-Class appears to have reached the road testing stage, as a well-camouflaged example was caught undergoing what appears to be routine maintenance.
This mule, clearly meant to be hidden from prying eyes, sports what appears to be production-intent body panels and a cloth top, confirming earlier reports that the new SL would ditch the folding hard top.
Moving away from the outgoing SL's folding roof is just one of the measures being taken to make the two-door both more practical (as this will open up space behind the front seats) and purpose-built as a high-performance roadster. To that end, Mercedes performance division AMG is engineering it alongside the replacement for the GT.
What does that mean in practical terms? Well, power, for starters.
In its high-output spec, the new SL is expected to boast 800 horsepower and more than 735 pound-feet of torque from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with a little electric boost.
To further enhance the SL'd street cred, Mercedes has hinted at plans to make its styling "butch" and "almost mean-looking." These photos don't reveal enough to say for certain whether the company's designers have pulled that off, but we can see from the nose that it has adopted the general shape of other two-doors in the Mercedes-Benz lineup.
Several engines are expected to be offered in the more mainstream variants of the new SL, likely including a 435-horsepower inline six cylinder, a 522 hp twin-turbocharged V8, and a hotted up variant of the latter making north of 600 ponies.
In addition to that, the 2+2 will be a good bit lighter, with reports suggesting a drop of more than 300 pounds thanks to an aluminum-heavy diet.