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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Mercedes-Benz’s armored S-Class can withstand AK-47 bullets

Mercedes-Benz has developed an armored version of the latest S-Class capable of protecting its occupants against a wide selection of attacks. It’s heavy and it’s expensive, but it’s a safe (literally) bet for those who hang out in war zones.

Designed and built in-house, the S-Class Guard looks almost like a regular-production S-Class when it’s viewed from the outside. That’s intentional; it can’t resemble a tank for style and tactical reasons. Well-trained car spotters will notice it’s armored by detecting the thicker windows and specific Michelin tires fitted with a run-flat system.

Mercedes-Benz will only offer the S-Class Guard with a long wheelbase, though buyers can choose whether it’s built with four or five seats. Regardless of interior configuration, it’s built to offer VR10 ballistic protection, so it can help the occupants survive bullets fired by an AK-47 or a powerful sniper rifle like a Dragunov. Official details about what it can and can’t drive through are few and far between; sharing this information could be deadly.

Adding all of this equipment increases the sedan’s weight to around 9,250 pounds, meaning it’s about 4,000 pounds heavier than the regular-production model (and roughly 250 pounds more than the non-armored GMC Hummer EV). It’s fitting, then, that the only engine available is a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 that normally powers the ultra-luxurious Maybach-branded model. It sends 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque to the four wheels via a permanent 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. There’s no word yet on what effect the extra mass has on performance.

We hope your enemies are taking a long vacation this summer, because German magazine Stern learned the S680 Guard takes about 51 days to build. Pricing starts at roughly 500,000 euros (nearly $594,000). The list of extra-cost options includes a trunk-mounted fridge that can be accessed from the cabin, a built-in fire extinguisher, and an air filtration system that keeps smoke, tear gas, or whatever substance gets pelted in your direction out of the cabin.

Dictators, druglords, and other at-risk individuals who want an armored Mercedes-Benz have other options to choose from; the market is stunningly large. German tuner Brabus introduced an armored G-Class that offers VR6 ballistic protection in 2020. It’s not quite as safe as the S680, but it can nonetheless survive a grenade attack.

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