Armored Cars with Luxury as Their Second Nature

Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard 26 photos
Photo: Daimler AG
Audi A8 L SecurityAudi A8 L SecurityAudi A8 L SecurityAudi A8 L SecurityAudi A8 L SecurityRange Rover SentinelRange Rover SentinelRange Rover SentinelRange Rover SentinelRange Rover SentinelBentley Mulsanne armored by Streit GroupBentley Mulsanne armored by Streit GroupBentley Mulsanne armored by Streit GroupBentley Mulsanne armored by Streit GroupBentley Mulsanne armored by Streit GroupRolls-Royce Phantom armored by Alpine Armoring Inc.Rolls-Royce Phantom armored by Alpine Armoring Inc.Rolls-Royce Phantom armored by Alpine Armoring Inc.Rolls-Royce Phantom armored by Alpine Armoring Inc.Rolls-Royce Phantom armored by Alpine Armoring Inc.Mercedes-Maybach S600 GuardMercedes-Maybach S600 GuardMercedes-Maybach S600 GuardMercedes-Maybach S600 GuardMercedes-Maybach S600 Guard
The United States presidential state car is known by two names. The first and most popular is The Beast. The second is Cadillac One. The thing is, the current presidential limousine went into service in 2009 and it is an old heap of General Motors junk riding on a strengthened GMT560 medium-duty truck platform.
As old and as utilitarian as it may be, Barack Obama’s daily drive weighs more than 15,000 pounds (6,800 kilograms) and it costs around $300,000. “Is Obama mad? How could he pay three hundred big ones for an old Caddy DTS that doesn’t have keyholes?” The answer to that question lies with the protective add-ons integrated into the mammoth presidential car.

Eight-inch (200 mm) thick doors, 5-inch (130 mm) thick bulletproof glass, an interior sealed to protect Obama in the event of chemical warfare, and an armored fuel tank are just a few of the goodies. In terms of luxury, I find hard to mention anything other than four rear seats wrapped in leather, wood accents, and a stereo connected to a 10-disc CD changer.

This matter got me thinking what armored cars offer first-rate protection without cutting back on luxury. After all, the people who buy these things want the best of both worlds. VIPs and oligarchs regularly choose luxury to the detriment of safety, but I wouldn’t call that a bad thing. Many luxury cars are available in tough-as-nails configuration because demand for such products continues to rise.

Mercedes-Benz is the first automaker in history to bring presidential-level security to one of its models without sacrificing luxury. It’s the safest passenger car in our list of armored cars with luxury as their second nature, which is why I’ve saved the best for last. That said, let’s find out which luxury cars can withstand a potential terrorist attack.

Audi A8 L Security

Audi A8 L Security
Photo: Audi
The German outfit has a knack for armor-plated luxobarges. It all started with the 1928 Horch 8 Typ 375 and the latest word regarding impregnability in the form of the Audi A8 L Security. Presented at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, this full-size sedan complies with the class VR 9 ballistic protection standard, the second toughest for civilian cars.

What does VR 9 mean in this context? Simply put, the Audi A8 L Security can withstand 7.62×51 mm NATO bullets. This type of round was introduced in service in the late 1950s in the M14 rifle and M60 machine gun. It’s not hard to imagine how good this car is in terms of direct fire protection. And yes, it’s pretty resistant to explosives as well.

The defensive capabilities of the most secure Audi ever made are seamlessly integrated into the car. This makes the A8 L Security hardly distinguishable from the A8 with the long wheelbase, which makes this thing more impressive than it already is. Did I mention this armor-plated sedan is available with a champagne cooler and massage rear seats?

Range Rover Sentinel

Range Rover Sentinel
Photo: Jaguar Land Rover
Range Rovers are like opinions. Everybody with a 7-digit account balance has one. For crying out loud, even Khloe Kardashian has one that she ruined with a velvet wrap. What Khloe Kardashian will never ever have is this - the Range Rover Sentinel. Thanks to a retail price in excess of $450,000, the Sentinel is a privilege for the wildly rich crowd.

Developed and built by the SVO skunkworks, the ultimate Range Rover has been given a VR 8 level certification. Although it isn’t as safe as the Audi A8 L Security, the Sentinel can hold its own against 7.62 mm high-velocity incendiary bullets, those developed to pierce tactical armor. If that isn’t impressive enough, this SUV has another trick up its sleeve.

According to Jaguar Land Rover, the Range Rover Sentinel boasts lateral protection against 33 pounds (15 kilograms) of TNT. DM51 hand grenades are also useless against this leviathan’s sides, roof, and belly. The best thing about the Sentinel, however, is that it has the same top-shelf goodies found in the self-indulgent Range Rover Autobiography.

Bentley Mulsanne armored by Streit Group

Bentley Mulsanne armored by Streit Group
Photo: Streit Group
When the Streit Group set up shop in Canada in 1992, it didn’t want anything more than to become the go-to company for those in the market for military tactical vehicles and armored passenger cars. Among others, the Government of Dubai and the Dubai Police use Streit Group products.

For civilian customers, Streit offers an armored version of the Bentley Mulsanne. It is the largest and most sumptuous model made by the British manufacturer, with pricing starting at $305,000. Streit’s take on the palatial Mulsanne, on the other hand, is considerably more than that because it is equipped with Hutchinson run-flat devices in all tires, among other things.

The curb weight of the standard Mulsanne (5,700 lbs or 2,585 kg) is bumped up to 8,080 pounds (3,672 kilograms) after armoring. That’s the equivalent of a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata automatic. Despite the added fat, the 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 with 752 lb-ft (1,020 Nm) under the armored hood has enough get-up-and-go to motivate Streit’s Bentley Mulsanne.

Rolls-Royce Phantom armored by Alpine Armoring Inc.

Rolls\-Royce Phantom armored by Alpine Armoring Inc\.
Photo: Alpine Armoring Inc.
Rolls-Royce pushed the envelope of ultra-luxury when it was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce. As before and as now, the Phantom embodies the motorized ambitions of the ultra rich. But what about those richer than the ultra rich?

For the most privileged among us, a company named Alpine Armoring offers the safest Rolls-Royce of them all. 4 mm hardened ballistic steel and multi-layered 40 mm polycarbonate are just the tip of the iceberg as far as protection is concerned. Among the details that make the difference, this Rolls has armor plating for the engine battery and the computer module.

As a consequence of all the added protection, the side windows lower just five inches (12.7 centimeters). Not that an ultra-ultra rich person would care about this detail when they have four-zone climate control at their disposal. Another downside of this Rolls-Royce is that you can’t drive a 7,798-pound (3,537 kg) goliath over structurally deficient edifices like the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard

Mercedes\-Maybach S600 Guard
Photo: Daimler AG
€470,000 or $518,000 without value added tax will buy you the safest passenger vehicle available for civilian use. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard is the first car in the world to be worthy of the VR 10 protection rating.

When it comes to blast protection, this juggernaut of opulence is rated ERV 2010. The criteria used to determine the Explosive Resistant Vehicles 2010 rating isn’t in the public domain. Therefore, it seems like we’ll have to believe the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation in this matter.

The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard isn’t just the safest non-military vehicle on the planet, but Daimler also highlights that it’s unsurpassed in terms of spaciousness, onboard features, and ride comfort. I can’t argue with that. At the end of the day, what Daimler created with the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard abides by “The Best or Nothing” slogan. And then some.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Mircea Panait
Mircea Panait profile photo

After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories