Mercedes-Benz has a long and storied history as an armored vehicle manufacturer. Be it Adolf Hitler’s bulletproof 770K limousine or the early, army-spec G-Class SUVs, the Germans have provided the world with some of the best ironclad rigs. More recently, Stuttgart has been developing and selling armor-plated automobiles through its Guard program, which already includes a generous range of sedans and SUVs, such as the E-Class and the M-Class . Going into the 2015 model year, the Stuttgart crew expanded its flagship S-Class lineup by adding the S600 model to the Guard program. The result is astonishing, as the segments most luxurious and comfortable limousine has also become the safest vehicle in the world.
Surrounded by a two-inch-thick steel plate and bulletproof glass, the S600 Guard is certified for ballistic protection class VR9. That’s the highest ballistic protection class as of 2014 and makes the S-Class safe against anything from small fire arms to grenades. In fact, the S600 Guard is the first vehicle in the world to be fully certified as having VR9 levels of protection, a feat that’s likely to send it in the fleets of many heads of state.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard.
At first glance, the S600 Guard is nothing more than a standard S600 fitted with strobe lights and flag mounts on its front fenders. That’s quite normal actually, as any VIP would prefer not to draw attention even when traveling in an armored vehicle.
Things change rather dramatically under the skin, where the S600 Guard is reinforced to the teeth. Both the base structure and the body are strengthened during the production stage. Protective components made out of special steel are inserted between the body structure and the outer shell, while special aramid and PE components deliver additional splinter protection. The glass area, an essential part of any armored vehicle, is coated with polycarbonate on the inside. The coating enables the glass are to deliver splinter protection while maintaining its visual characteristics.
So how strong is the S600 Guard? Mercedes says the two-inch-thick steel plate surrounding most of the passenger cabin can withstand anything from small fire arms and splintering explosive devices fired at close range to explosive devices. In short, the S600 Guard has been certified for highest ballistic protection in resistance class VR9, making it the first vehicle to qualify for this class and the safest civilian armored car in the world.
Despite the heavy steel plating reinforcing its body, the S600 Guard retains the interior feats that make the 2015 S-Class a class-leading sedan. The limousine offers generous headroom and elbow room in the rear section, where, for the first time in this segment, buyers can opt for either a two-seat or three-seat configuration. Trunk capacity is mostly unaltered at 12.3 cubic feet.
Technology-wise, the S600 Guard is packed with the latest convenience and safety features available from Mercedes-Benz. Standard equipment includes adjustable head restraints for the driver and front passenger, electrically extendable footrests, Executive rear seat with leg rest and cushion bag, and heating and massage functions.
Additionally, the company offers a continuous Business console that transforms the two-seat rear compartment into a mobile office with touchscreen and hands-free telephony. A Warmth Comfort package further increases passenger comfort by warming all surfaces inside the cabin. On the options list there’s a rear reading lamp with LED technology.
Other optional extras specifically developed for the S600 Guard include opaque roller blinds, heated windshield and side windows, a panic alarm system, a fire extinguisher system with automatic activation, and an emergency fresh air system that protects passengers from smoke or irritant gases.
Motivating the S600 Guard is the same V-12 mill found in the standard S-Class S600. The engine displaces a full six liters, and generates 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque. The impressive amount of power goes to the rear wheels through a 7G-Tronic automatic transmission.
Being heavier than the standard S600, the armored limousine is also slower. There’s no official 0-to-60 mph rating, but don’t expect the S600 Guard to complete the sprint in less than seven seconds, which is still impressive considering the added weight. Top speed sits at only 130 mph, mainly due to the higher strains the tires and braking system are subjected to. By comparison, the regular S600 can reach a top speed of 155 mph.
2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard: Drivetran Specification
|Type||V12 petrol engine|
|Top Speed||130 mph|
Suspension and Brakes
Although heavier than its regular counterpart, the S600 Guard is equally comfortable. The limousine is fitted with the company’s Airmatic suspension with variable damper control, which is backed by reinforced and enlarged components. To cope with the increased weight, the Germans also reconfigured the ESP and ASR systems, while adding steel springs to the rear axle.
Extra weight also means larger brakes are needed to come to a halt. Both the calipers and the brake discs are significantly larger than those fitted on the S600, with six-piston calipers available up front. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin PAX run-flat tires that come with additional pressure monitoring. The tires can run up to 19 miles when damaged, enabling the S600 Guard to escape when its passengers are in danger.
Pricing information is not available as of 08/05/2014, but the S600 Guard is expected to cost at least $400,000. We’ll be back with more info as soon as we get our hands on it.
Although Mercedes’ Guard program also builds armored versions of the E-Class, M-Class, and G-Class, potential customers have a bevy of options to take into consideration. One of them comes from INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing, which sells a very special version of the G63 AMG. Fitted with bulletproof body armor and glass area, this SUV is different from what you can buy from Mercedes-Benz. The G63 AMG is not only longer than the standard vehicle, it’s also equipped with a revamped interior that resembles that of a private jet plane.
Captain-style seats, acres of high-quality leather, built-in TV monitors, a safe and a bar are only a few of the amenities stuffed behind the front seats. The biturbo, 5.5-liter V-8 engine remains stock, but the 536 horsepower that come standard with it are enough to power the heavier SUV.
Mercedes-Benz is already known as the industry’s leader as far as luxury vehicles go. Not only the brand-new S-Class came to cement that image, the armored version of the limousine enhances the company’s credentials through its VR9 ballistic certification. Sure, the S600 Guard won’t be a volume seller, but it’s the kind of vehicle that appeals to heads of state and even celebrities. And that’s a niche that matters to the Germans, who have been building civilian armored cars and SUVs for decades now. As of 2014, the S600 Guard is the first vehicle in the world to be certified for the highest ballistics protection class, and that says a lot about Mercedes’ advancements in the business.
- Certified for the highest ballistics protection class
- Numerous convenience and safety features
- Powerful engine
- Plain exterior provides discretion
- Added weight ruins the vehicle’s performance
- Not a driver’s car
Gallery Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard
Mercedes-Benz has updated its range of special protection models with the new S 600 Guard based on the new S-Class. The S 600 Guard provides all-round protection to the level of resistance class VR9 (both in transparent and non-transparent areas). With first-class comfort, an outstanding AIRMATIC suspension, powerful V12 engine, intelligent driver assistance systems and unrestricted day-to-day suitability, the new flagship Guard model sets an unprecedented new standard in this segment, seamlessly continuing the long tradition of armoured special protection models from Mercedes-Benz.
With its Guard models, Mercedes-Benz has the world’s widest range of special protection vehicles available ex factory. The Mercedes-Benz Guard range currently has models from the S, E, M and G-Class. The latest member of the Guard family is the Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard.
No weak spots – integrated special protection
The armouring of the S 600 Guard follows the principle of integrated protection based on many years of Mercedes-Benz experience in building special protection vehicles. The major advantages are:
Outstanding strength and stability thanks to specific reinforcement of the base structure which is integrated into the bodyshell production stage.
The high level of comfort is maintained by sophisticated integration and intelligent overlapping of all protective elements.
Already at the bodyshell stage, protective components of special steel are integrated into the cavities between the body structure and the outer skin. Special aramide and PE components provide additional splinter protection. Intelligent overlapping systems at particularly critical points ensure comprehensive ballistic protection.
The glass areas are an essential part of the protective concept. They are coated with polycarbonate on the inside for splinter protection, and have outstanding visual characteristics thanks to their laminated structure. Particular attention is devoted to the protective performance of the glass areas, with an appropriate choice of materials and thicknesses.
The interaction between all the components provides the occupants with a highly effective protective space which not only includes ballistic protection, but also comprehensive protection against explosive devices. The occupants are effectively protected by the armouring if a splintering explosive charge is fired at close range on either side.
With its sophisticated and strong protective system, the new S 600 Guard has immediately met all the personal protection requirements of the relevant authorities in Germany, and is the first vehicle to have been comprehensively certificated for highest ballistic protection in resistance class VR9 (according to BRV 2009, version 2).
Where explosive charges are concerned, the new S-Guard has demonstrated its protective capabilities by meeting the requirements of ERV2010 and the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation. Innovative underbody armouring almost entirely covers the underbody for the first time, a unique feature in the civilian special protection segment.
Discretion as a matter of course
Despite the extensive protective measures, the S 600 Guard is externally hardly distinguishable from the standard model. Its exterior has the same emphatic lines that already suggest power and dynamism when at standstill, the same striking design of the LED High Performance headlamps and the same LED rear light clusters inset like gemstones. As the S 600 Guard is hardly recognisable as an armoured saloon, it meets a further important requirement for special protection vehicles: maximum discretion thanks to unobtrusiveness.
Protection without compromises
The S 600 Guard has a generously spacious interior. Like the flagship S-Class model, the S 600 Guard excels with exemplary headroom and elbow room in the rear, and is also in a class by itself in this segment in terms of comfort dimensions such as entry height and door apertures. In addition, for the first time and as the only car in this segment, the new S 600 Guard is available both as a 4-seater and as a fully-fledged 5-seater, and offers unrestricted day-to-day suitability by virtue of a 350-litre boot capacity and high payload.
Thanks to the intelligently integrated armouring, the Guard version retains the first-class ambience of the S-Class Saloon for its occupants, and meets the highest expectations with regard to perceived quality, appointments and comfort. The comfort features of the standard model, and especially its innovations, are also almost without exception available for the S-Guard. These include:
The Chauffeur package, which has a chauffeur position for the front passenger seat, EASY ADJUST luxury head restraints for the driver and front passenger, folding and removable on the front passenger side, and footrests electrically extendable on the front passenger side.
The Executive seat in the rear on the front passenger side has a legrest and cushionbag.
The Rear Seat Comfort package includes multicontour outer rear seats, seat heating Plus and now also the ENERGIZING massage function.
The Rear PRE-SAFE® package with illuminated belt buckle extenders, PRE-SAFE® belt tensioners and beltbags for the outer rear seats, assisted closing for the doors and boot lid.
The First-Class rear suite with a continuous Business console transforms the rear into a mobile office with two individual seats.
Business telephony in the rear features a handset with touchscreen and a separate hands-free zone in the rear.
The Warmth Comfort package pleasantly warms all surfaces with which the passengers come into contact.
The AIR-BALANCE package, including ionisation, improved air filtering and fragrancing.
A rear reading lamp with newly developed LED lights is also optionally available for the S 600 Guard.
The S 600 Guard delivers superior performance thanks to its V12 petrol engine, which now generates 390 kW (530 hp) and therefore has even more pulling power than the engine of the preceding model. Thanks to 830 Nm of torque and the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission, which is available with the V12 engine for the first time, the S-Guard combines lower fuel consumption with impressive acceleration for a rapid escape from the danger zone when under threat. For weight reasons the top speed is electronically limited to 210 km/h.
Highly efficient air suspension
The S 600 Guard offers its passengers outstanding ride comfort and excellent driving dynamics to a high Mercedes standard. This is ensured by the AIRMATIC air suspension with variable damper control, as well as reinforced, redimensioned suspension components and adapted control functions such as ESP® or ASR to cope with the increased vehicle weight. The air springs at the front are reinforced, for example, and additional steel springs are used at the rear axle. As in the unarmoured S-Class, all-round level control also maintains a constant vehicle level irrespective of the payload in the S‑Guard. In the S 600 Guard it also compensates the reduced ground clearance caused by the underbody armour.
The brakes of the S-Guard are considerably larger than those of the standard model, so that the extra weight can be safely handled. Larger 6-piston brake callipers and significantly larger brake discs are used at the front axle, for example. The rear brakes are also of larger dimensions than on the standard model.
Standard equipment on the S 600 Guard includes Michelin PAX run-flat tyres with an additional tyre pressure monitoring system which allows an escape from the danger zone up to a distance of 30 km even with damaged tyres.
Intelligent assistance systems
The S 600 Guard is also equipped with the latest technical innovations that make the Mercedes-Benz S-Class a shining example of passenger car development in general and the world’s best-selling luxury saloon. As part of Intelligent Drive, these optionally include assistance systems which considerably enhance comfort and safety.
The following options are available:
the Driver Assistance package PLUS – this includes the assistance systems DISTRONIC PLUS with Stop&Go Pilot, BAS PLUS Brake, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian recognition and ESP®, and an electric parking brake.
Night View Assist Plus
LED Intelligent Light System
Guard-specific equipment for more comfort and safety
In addition Mercedes-Benz offers further optional extras which were specifically developed for the S-Guard. These include:
opaque roller blinds all-round in the rear
heated windscreen and side windows
easily operated panic alarm system
fire extinguisher system with automatic activation
emergency fresh air system protecting occupants from the ingress of smoke or irritant gases
hydraulic power for the heavy side windows
gimbal LED reading lamps in the rear
special cooling compartment in the rear
As in the case of standard production models, the full manufacturer’s warranty also applies to the S 600 Guard and the other models in the Guard family. All the Mercedes-Benz service outlets worldwide are also able to service, maintain or carry out any necessary repairs for the Guard models.