2009_mercedes_benz_m_classMercedes-Benz gave its M-class SUV a mild freshening last year. But a more-thorough makeover is on the way two years from now for the 2012 model.

These prototypes–the first we’ve seen of the new M-class–are wearing a lot of camouflage, but through the nose opening we spy a sharper grille design that looks similar to the GLK.

We also see some styling changes in the door area. And the addition of LED headlights is likely–most of Mercedes’ competitors in Europe are moving in that direction.

Mercedes engineers are focused on getting some weight out of the new M-class, in response to tougher fuel economy and emission standards. Look for the powertrain lineup to stay pretty much the same. But a hybrid is likely to join the mix.

The new M-class should be in showrooms in summer 2011.