In a world of heightened vigilance, the Audi A8 L Security and the Mercedes S600 Guard fuse luxury with armoured vehicles
The VR9 ballistic protection standard
VR standards of ballistic protection are used to rate armoured vehicles based on the maximum protection they can provide. The lowest standard is VR4 and it goes up to VR9, which is currently the highest standard out there. If you want to know how effective it is, the VR9-rated armoured cars can withstand an M60 machine gun attack on its body, windshield and windows.
Luxury cars don’t stick out on Indian roads anymore because not a day goes by without us spotting a BMW 7-Series or a Mercedes S Class. While some say the Germans have lost their exclusivity factor, the very commonness of these cars has proven to be quite an asset for a certain ‘type’ of car buyer. We are talking about the super rich and famous, who stay carefully hidden behind their bullet-bomb-and-disaster-proof cars. Instead of opting for a bespoke armoured car, using a standard sedan makes these owners inconspicuous when they are driven around. Haven’t we learned that the first lesson in safety is to blend in?
Audi A8 L Security
Dubbed the most secure Audi ever, it looks almost identical to a standard A8 L sedan—unless, of course, you’re looking for the little details that make this security variant stand out in a swarm of other A8s. Built to satisfy VR9 class ballistic protection standards, the A8 L Security includes a hidden communications box, selective door unlocking and an intercom to communicate with those outside the car. Of course, in cars like these, the options are endless, and, if ordered, Audi can throw in their patented emergency exit and fresh air ventilation system, too. With quattro (four-wheel drive system) as the standard fitment and a choice of either the 435hp, 600Nm bi-turbo V8 4.0-TSI or the 500hp, 625Nm W12 FSI engines, the A8 L Security can speed through despite all that extra weight. Want one? You’ll need to shell out `9.15 crore (ex-showroom).
Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard
With a long tradition of providing security sedans to many heads of states, the Mercedes-Benz Guard range consists of not only the S-Class, but also the E, M and G-Classes. While the ‘regular’ S-Guard is already impressive enough—in terms of marrying luxury with security—this latest one packs in even more performance. The 530hp, 830Nm from a V12 petrol engine under the tank-like hood of the S600 Guard means loads of performance fed to the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission—the perfect recipe for a quick getaway, if ever required. Want one? You’ll need to wait till March 8, when Mercedes-Benz will officially launch the S600 Guard in India.
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—Muntaser Mirkar @BullSpeech