There’s an old saying about how some cars are mechanically “bulletproof”. But in the case of the car you see here, that’s a literalism.
The new Mercedes-Maybach S600 Guard armoured car is the most bomb- and gun-proof car civilians can buy, according to its German maker.
It’s the new pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz’s Guard range, which also comprises the G500 Guard, GLE Guard and S-Class Guard, all successors of cars such as the 1928 Nurburg 460 and the 1960s Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman models.
The newest member of the growing Mercedes-Maybach family has attained the highest ballistic protection level for non-military vehicles, VR10. This means that the bodywork and windows must be able to withstand hardened steel core bullets fired from an assault rifle.
The vehicle also has an ERV 2010 rating (Explosive Resistant Vehicles), which in plain English means that there’s sufficient body and under-floor armour to handle an explosive detonation next to, or under, the vehicle.
The test criteria used to determine this rating are not in the public domain. But after inspection by Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, the vehicle was approved without any constraints, according to Daimler.
In the brand’s words: “Heads of state and business leaders en route have never been as comfortable and simultaneously as well protected as they are in the new Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Guard”.
Mercedes-Maybach detailed some of the construction techniques that differentiate the Guard from the regular Maybach, which is stylistically all-but-identical.
At the bodyshell stage, protective components of special steel are integrated into the cavities between the body structure and the outer skin. Aramid (a heat-resistant synthetic fibre) components and “intelligent overlapping systems” at particularly critical points, such as material transitions, provide ballistic protection.
The thicker bulletproof windows are coated with polycarbonate on the inside for splinter protection. There’s also comprehensive armouring outside and under the body.
Inside, the rear seats have been pushed back to give more privacy. Rear occupants also get voice amplification so their driver can hear over any clamour. At 5453mm long with a wheelbase of 3365mm, the Mercedes-Maybach range is 200mm larger in both areas than the S-Class long-wheelbase.
In the event of an attack, a series of “special technical features” make sure the Maybach S-Class remains mobile to exit the danger zone (Kenny Loggins overtones). Expect this to mean hardcore tyres and a separate oxygen supply as with the US Presidential car, The Beast.
Hot-footing you out of trouble is a 6.0-litre biturbo V12 engine with 390kW and 830Nm from about 1900rpm. The heavier Guard will no doubt be slower to accelerate than the regular Maybach, which tackles the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.0 seconds.
MORE: Mercedes-Maybach Review