The hotly anticipated spiritual successor to the classic Mercedes Benz 1950s 300SL sports car will be unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show next week.

The car is officially called the SLS AMG - but will share the 300SL's nickname "Gullwing" due to its unique retro doors that are hinged on the roof and open upwards.

Images of the Gullwing have already been unveiled on the web, and also handed out to various media outlets.

The retro-styled car is powered by a specially-tuned 420kW version of Mercedes-Benz's fire-breathing 6.2-litre V8.

The SLS AMG boasts an acceleration of 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds.

Its design echoes the classic 1950s 300SL's long flowing bonnet, gaping grille with huge three-pointed star in the centre and bonnet vents and shark-like gills on the fenders.

Beneath the retro-designed bodywork is a aluminium spaceframe chassis, carbon ceramic brakes, dual-clutch transmission and an optional carbon-fibre bonnet.

The car is the first Mercedes automobile designed in-house by AMG.

Its estimated value is $0.5m when it hits the market next year.

Unsurprisingly, mint condition versions of the 1950s 300SL are worth much more - with one recently auctioning for $805,000.

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