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Why the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Guard is the pick of armoured cars

So you’re a billionaire tycoon, politician, gangster or despot in need of a new set of wheels?

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Guard is here for you.

Built to protect very important people from very dangerous enemies, the S-Class Guard is the ultimate off-the-shelf limousine.

The big ‘Benz meets the “VR10” protecting requirements, which means it can easily stop bullets from hand guns, assault rifles and even sniper weapons with armour piecing ammunition.

That’s a level beyond the armoured BMW used to transport the Australian Prime Minister.

New bodywork that looks just like the regular S-Class is capable of withstanding explosive blasts, and its Michelin tyres work when punctured, allowing you to drive to safety when ambushed.

The windows are 10 centimetres thick, and powered by a backup hydraulic lifting system that works in the event of electrical failure.

An on-board fire suppression system works in tandem with an emergency oxygen supply to protect passengers from smoke or gas.

A control panel in the driver’s compartment has buttons for sirens, flashing lights and radio controls to communicate directly with bodyguards or police.

All of that gear adds almost two tonnes to the Mercedes’ weight, which is controlled by beefed-up suspension capable of handling its extra mass.

Power comes from a hand built twin-turbocharged V12 petrol engine with an enormous 450kW of power for spritely getaways.

The difference between the Mercedes Guard and aftermarket solutions built by third-party companies is that military-spec protection was a consideration from day one of the design process, which wasn’t necessarily the case for armoured versions of regular cars such as the Toyota LandCruiser.

The standard S-Class is already one of the safest cars on the road, with world-class driver assistance features and clever wraparound airbags for back-seat passengers.

And the S-Class’ luxury is hard to beat – you get sumptuous leather seats with electric adjustment and a “hot stone massage” function, world-class hi-fi, iPad-style infotainment features and the option of a mini fridge for refreshments on the go.

None of this comes cheaply.

The standard car costs about $258,000 drive-away.

Mercedes doesn’t advertise prices for armoured cars, but we wouldn’t expect any change from $1 million by the time it arrives in Australia.

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