The World’s First Armored Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI Offers B4 Ballistic Protection

South Africa often makes top 10 lists of countries with precarious law and order. Johannesburg boasts the highest crime index and lowest safety index in the country, which brings us to Johannesburg-based Armormax.
Armormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicle 8 photos
Photo: Armormax
Armormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicleArmormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicleArmormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicleArmormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicleArmormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicleArmormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicleArmormax Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI armored vehicle
Demand for armored vehicles is so high that the peeps at Armormax were much obliged to upgrade the Mk 8 Golf GTI to B4 protection. Touted as the first armored Mk 8 GTI in the world, the Armormax-modified hatchback doesn’t come cheap. The starting price is 1,700,000 rands, which means a simply eye-watering $100,080 at current exchange rates.

The white-painted example in the video below is a slightly better-equipped specification, costing 1,800,000 rands or $105,435. Have a wild guess how much a bone-stock GTI costs in this part of the world. According to Volkswagen South Africa’s online configurator, the Jacara Edition is 727,500 ($42,760), while the GTI kicks off at 744,200 rands ($43,740).

B4 is the industry’s vernacular for handgun protection. Most violent crimes, including car thefts, are committed with handguns in South Africa. The Armormax-developed B4 conversion protects against the likes of 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, and 9- by 19-millimeter Parabellum rounds. At the other end of the spectrum, the South African company offers a B7 conversion that protects against 7.62x51 rounds used by NATO forces.

Under 180 kilograms (397 pounds) of armor were added to the compact-sized hot hatchback by the B4 conversion, which includes Optima ballistic glass for the operable front windows and sunroof. All doors, panels, pillars, the rear seats, and hatch feature lightweight synthetic armor. The finishing touch comes in the form of a push-to-talk intercom system.

The Mk 8 GTI looks as close to stock as possible, a feat that wouldn’t have been possible without Armormax’s experience with the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf. An entire fleet was armored in 2018 by the Johannesburg-based specialist, ranging from the 1.4 turbo to the R.

As a brief refresher, the GTI slots right underneath the R. Although both share their 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engines, the GTI cranks out fewer ponies and pound-feet of torque. It also comes with front-wheel drive as opposed to all-wheel drive. Both can be had with a manual or a DSG.

Over in South Africa, the Mk 8 GTI comes with an 8.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. The Innovision digital instrument cluster is also standard, as are 18-inch alloys wheels, LED headlights, DCC adaptive chassis control, and interior ambient lighting. There is no row-your-own transmission to speak of in this part of the world, but the dual-clutch gearbox does shift much quicker than a three-pedal gearbox.

180 kW and 370 Nm between 1,600 and 4,300 revolutions per minute are the output figures for the South Africa-spec Mk 8 GTI, figures that convert to 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) takes 6.4 seconds, and the GTI won’t stop accelerating until the speedometer indicates 250 kph (155 mph).

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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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.
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