Mercedes-Benz has quite a history with gull-wing doored sportscars; not as much with hybrids. Regardless, the German automaker appears ready to combine the two in the next version of its SLK range, which is rumored to add the upward-opening doors and regenerative braking technology to its repertoire in 2012. It's the hybrid drivetrain that may be causing MB to look to its past 300SL's unique portal configuration since the twin battery packs will be placed in large side sills, a configuration that would preclude the use of normal doors.

Mercedes hopes to gain experience with the KERS hybrid system that's currently making its way into Formula 1 racing, where the German marque has been doing quite well over the last few years. Teamed with a 3.5L V6 engine, preliminary reports suggest that the hybrid SLK could get up to 40 miles per gallon on the European cycle while also being able to accelerate the coupe to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds. They could sure use the efficiency boost.

[Source: Auto Express]