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First spy shots of new Mercedes ML

These are the first spy photos of the next generation Mercedes ML, which is due to go on sale in late 2011.

Although details are scarce, the photos suggest that the new Mercedes ML's wheelbase is either the same size or slightly shorter than the current model's. The chassis is expected to be shared with the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.

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Mercedes is understood to have undertaken a comprehensive weight reduction programme on the ML, in order to increase efficiency.

The car's lines are heavily disguised in these early test photos, but reports suggest the doors are now more heavily sculpted than currently, with bold character lines running across them. The door handles also appear to have been repositioned from the current model.

Reworked bumpers and a large angular deont grille are also evident, while LED daytime running lights are expected to feature.

Engines are expected to be similar in capacity to those in the current car, including a 3.5 V6, 5.5 V8 and a 6.2 V8 for the AMG model. A 3.0-litre turbo diesel is also expecetd continue on in the line-up.

A hybrid model may be available from launch, using a derivative of the powertrain developed for the S-class.

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