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A car for the paranoid: the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard

By raccars Published

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Perfect for hated dictators and military leaders, Mercedes-Maybach has made the S600 Guard...

Most of us are not unduly worried by the possibility of being attacked by rocket propelled grenades on the school run or while on the way to the supermarket. If, however, you have managed to upset a few people, you may want to consider investing in what is probably the safest car in the world.

The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard has attained a ballistic protection level of VR10, the highest rating which can be given to a civilian vehicle. This means that the car's bodywork and windows can withstand hardened steel core assault rifle bullets, plus ERV 2010 for Explosive Resistant Vehicles.

The scores are awarded by the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation in Ulm, Germany after a rigorous and violent testing process, details of which are not released to the public. Until now the highest level of ballistic protection awarded to a passenger car has been VR9, given to armoured Mercedes, Audi and BMWs.

The Guard treatment

The S600 is the latest car to be given the Guard treatment, together with the G500 Guard, the GLE and the S-Class Guard. The Guard treatment was conceived with an S-Class in the Nineties, with the model's bodywork designed from the start to allow Mercedes to integrate armour.

Given the level of protection on offer, the £438,000 price tag actually sounds like a bit of a bargain. But even if you can afford one, you still require approval by Mercedes prior to buying one of its Guard armoured vehicles. Mercedes likes to vet potential purchasers' activities to make sure that it is not assisting the work of criminals and other undesirables.

The safest car in the world

So what does it take to add a ballistic level of protection to a luxury barge? Well, for a start the S600 Guard's cabin is wrapped in a special stainless steel armoured layer. This layer is of double thickness in vulnerable areas such as panel gaps to make sure that occupants are protected from the harshest sniper attack.

The super thick glass used for the windows is protection laminated, with an interior polycarbonate coating make it shatter proof. Underneath the cabin there's another protective shield to deflect an explosion if you happen to be driving through an IED-ridden area or perhaps a minefield.

The S600 Guard can also protect occupants from noxious gases by pumping the cabin with fresh air - if you take that up as a £7,000 option, that is. For another £1,863 you can have a weapon safe built into the boot.

The car is fitted with special run-flat Michelin tyres, using a 'Proceed on Function' system. This means that the rubber is impregnated with steel rings to ensure it that stays attached to the wheel rim for a speedy getaway, even if pierced by bullets.

In addition to the major alterations, most of the standard components - axles, steering etc. - of the S600 have been reinforced, while the fuel tank is made with a self-healing material so that it can seal itself in the event that a bullet should puncture it. Apache attack helicopters use the same feature.

All of this protection weighs quite a bit, but fortunately the S600 Guard is bestowed with a 6.0 litre twin turbo V12, giving it 523bhp to help it evade pursuit. Remaining mobile in the event of an attack has been a priority in the design of the S600 Guard.

To the casual observer, the S600 Guard looks just like the standard limousine and retains all of the luxury you'd expect of a premium limo. Repositioning the rear seats to accommodate all of this protection has actually made the rear passenger cabin even more spacious. The business tycoons, politicians and oligarchs at whom the S600 Guard is aimed would expect nothing less.

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