We’re guessing that most of the customers for an armored black Mercedes-Benz S-class aren’t the nicest folks in the world—perhaps dabbling in imports/exports, some light oppression, those sorts of things—and now they have a new version on which to spend their ill-gotten gains, the S600 Guard. (Mercedes will of course sell them to upstanding types, too.)
We imagine there are few places better to be when guns are blazing than in the Guard’s massaging, ventilated back seat. The latest in an 80-year line of armored Mercedes vehicles, the new model is based on the current W222 S-class and offers full body protection against continuous automatic-weapons fire such as you might receive from M60 machine guns, which use 7.62 x 51 mm rounds.
The S600 Guard isn’t simply an S-class wearing a bunch of armor. The windows, several times thicker than the stock double-pane glass, are so heavy that each needs its own hydraulic lift to open and close. You’ll want them raised in the event of a gas attack, which is also a good time to activate the oxygen system that seals all exterior vents and delivers clean air to the occupants. IED threats are accounted for by underbody plating. You’ll have to shop elsewhere for smoke screens, electrocuting door handles, and South African–style flamethrower side pipes. If the road is clear, the driver—he’s still breathing, right?—can call upon the 530-hp twin-turbo V-12 under the hood to whisk you away from any threats.
The Airmatic suspension has been fortified with reinforced air springs up front and a set of auxiliary steel springs in the rear, and its self-leveling program takes into account the reduced ground clearance from the underbody armor. The stability control, suspension settings, and other electronics have been reprogrammed, and larger front and rear brake rotors and six-piston front calipers are fitted to deal with the Guard’s considerable extra mass. Your enemies should also forget about using a puny .45 to shoot out the tires, as the Michelin PAX run-flats—all but discontinued elsewhere—incorporate a special rigid ring that attaches to the rim and allows driving with zero pressure for more than 18 miles.
Options include a heated windshield and side windows, an automatic fire-suppression system, a panic alarm, and blackout blinds. Hidden blue flashing lights—a must for brushing aside Moscow traffic—and fender flag mounts are also available. Everything else, including the seven-speed automatic, semiautonomous driving functions, and hyperluxurious interior carry over from the production S600. The Guard lineup also includes the previous-generation S600 Pullman limo, plus E-, G-, and M-class versions.
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