Mike Stevens | Dec 15, 2010

With a new and leaked promotional video last week revealing all on Mercedes' next-generation SLK, there remains little doubt that the new model's debut is just around the next bend.

Today, new spy photos of a lightly camouflaged SLK in what is likely its final 'shakedown' testing add credence to the likelihood of a debut in the coming weeks.

Mercedes-Benz has dropped more than a few hints and teasers of its own in recent weeks. Today's photos and last week's leaked video follows earlier 'Magic Sky Control' images and safety features diagrams.

Among the safety features will be Mercedes' Pre-Safe occupant protection system, designed to activate protective systems when an imminent collision is detected. This includes seatbelt pretensioners and airbag initialisation processes.

Similarly, post-crash systems will be featured. Depending on the level of damage, these include activation of the interior light, lowering the windows for ventilation, and automatic upward movement of the steering wheel.

Power for the2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK is expected to come from the company's 2.2-litre BlueEfficiency four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel, developing 152kW and 500Nm of torque.

Petrol engines are also expected, with talk of a twin-turbo version of the company's new 225kW 3.5 litre V6 on the cards for a AMG version of the new SLK, developing around 260kW.

Exactly when Mercedes will reveal its hand is unknown, although January's Detroit Auto Show - where BMW will show its new 1 Series M Coupe - seems a strong chance.

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