If you’re incredibly important or just incredibly paranoid, the bullet-resistant Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard just might be the car for you. Following initial Internet chatter yesterday, Mercedes released a full set of details on this luxurious armored car.
The S600 Guard is one of several armored models offered by the German carmaker (they also come in E-, M-, and G-Class flavors), and is based on the V12-powered, long-wheelbase S600, Mercedes’ current flagship.
To that impressive starting point, Mercedes adds reinforcement to the basic structure, as well as to the cavities between the structure and the outer skin. The extra-thick glass is coated with polycarbonate on the inside to prevent splintering. They’re so heavy that Mercedes had to replace the electric opening motors with hydraulics.
This allowed the S600 Guard to earn a VR9 certification, the highest for bullet resistance in Germany. The under-body also gets a complete armor package to deal with grenades or IEDs.
Other Guard-specific equipment includes a fire extinguisher, a panic alarm, and an emergency fresh-air system. It’s basically a doomsday bunker on wheels.
Yet it still looks like a stock Mercedes. The Guard won’t advertise the fact that its carrying a potentially valuable target, at least until the driver turns the flashing lights on.
The 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V12 is unchanged, producing the same 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque as in an unarmored S600.
To cope with the extra weight of the armor, Mercedes fitted the S600 Guard with a beefed-up Airmatic air suspension system with heavy-duty components. The system’s self-leveling feature was also changed to compensate for the Guard’s lack of ground clearance.
The brakes were also upgraded, and Mercedes fitted run-flat tires that allow the target of a terrorist attack to flee at speeds up to 19 mph.
However, there’s no reason not to be comfortable while getting shot at. The S600 Guard has all of the amenities of a regular S-Class, including a fragrance dispenser and business jet-like Executive rear seating options.