THE WORST assaults on their vehicle most S-class drivers are likely to experience will be flies hitting the windscreen at 70mph, or, if parked in the wrong neighbourhood, a key down the door, but the car maker has now unveiled a version that can withstand bomb blasts, shrapnel and gun fire.
The Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard is the car maker’s latest personal protection model. It is likely to be used by heads of state and the heads of large companies in sensitive locations across the world.
While Euro NCAP may test cars for their crash worthiness, Mercedes has tested its new car for its ability to protect occupants from explosive charges fired at close range on either side. The window glass, too, has been evaluated for splinter protection.
Rather than simply applying extra layers of hardened steel to vulnerable areas of the car’s body, Mercedes says protection has been built into the S 600 Guard from the start.
The base of the car’s bodyshell is reinforced at the production stage, and special steel components integrated into the cavities between the body structure and outer skin. Mercedes says that “intelligent overlapping” of these elements with other features, such as high-strength aramid fibres, ensures “comprehensive ballistic protection”.
The new model has earned the equivalent of five Euro NCAP stars from Germany’s Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, and is the first vehicle to be certified as offering the highest ballistic protection in resistance class VR9. This rates a vehicle’s performance in a number of scenarios including having a hand grenade detonated on its roof and under the driver.