Built primarily for “heads of state and business leaders” who, naturally, might have made some enemies on their journey to the top, the Mercedes-Benz S680 Guard 4Matic is an armored version of the new S-Class.
Keeping its very important occupants safe is a new protective body shell developed specifically for this car and VPAM VR10 certification—the highest ballistic test level available for civilian vehicles. Passing the necessary tests meant body panels and windows that can hold up against armor-piercing rounds coming out of assault rifles. More specifically, VR10-rated vehicles can withstand a 7.62x54R from a Dragunov, according to Aurum Security.
Blast protection is also said to be similarly solid, with the S680 Guard passing the explosive-related tests with flying colors, although the specific test criteria here remain “not freely available” for obvious security reasons.
Mercedes has taken the S680 Guard’s testing so seriously, it’s opted to use something called biofidelic dummies, a particularly realistic fake-human which consists of simulated bones made of epoxy resin aluminum powder, ligaments and tendons made of propylene webbing, and silicone and acrylic mimicking tissue and other internal organs.
The cabin-facing side of the multi-layer glass is covered in polycarbonate to prevent splinters while the entire glass “sandwich” was designed in a way to preserve visibility and an unassuming appearance from the outside. Hydraulic window lifters instead of electric ones ensure that windows can be closed at a moment’s notice even if the car is off or if it’s had its power system sabotaged. There’s an onboard fire extinguishing system as well as an emergency fresh air system to combat smoke and gas attacks. Standard Michelin PAX run-flat tires can travel up to 18.6 miles after being damaged.
The company has also used some admittedly magnificent-looking door hinges and actuators to make opening and closing the much beefier doors as easy as opening and closing the doors on a normal S. Not that many S680 Guard passengers will be expected to open and close their own doors, of course. This feature was mostly implemented so that bodyguards will be able to operate the doors with one hand, keeping the other free to fend off any incoming trouble.
Under the hood sits a 612-horsepower, bi-turbo, 6.0-liter V12 engine hooked up to all-wheel drive for the first time in a Guard-spec S, which is actually kinda surprising. How on Earth did third-world dictators manage to evade guerrilla warfighters on just rear-drive in the older armored S-Classes? In any case, top speed is capped at 118 mph “for weight reasons.” Per Motor1, the car weighs a husky 9,259 pounds.
While it may not be as fast as the regular S-Class on the autobahn, Merc has apparently tuned the engine, transmission, and suspension so that the Guard would handle like and last just as long as the unarmored S. The automaker also says the interior here is just as luxurious as that of the less protected S-Class but, to presumably shield its occupants against drone-based coups, the Guard cannot be optioned with a sliding sunroof.
The Mercedes-Benz S680 Guard will reportedly cost around $650,000, although anyone who’s sweating over the price of a car that could potentially save their life probably isn’t wealthy or important enough to need this anyway.
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