One of the beautiful things about being a host of Top Gear – among other things, of course – is the chance to get behind the wheel of some of the most insane machines on the planet. Whether it’s a high-powered go-kart or a sports car dressed as a gypsy tent, there’s no shortage of vehicles that can escape the sharp eyes – and impeccable driving – of Clarkson, Hammond, and May.
But of all the cars that they’ve driven in their time as Top Gear hosts, there’s a good chance that they’ve never seen anything quite like the Marauder. Built in South Africa by the Paramount Group, the Marauder is quite arguably the baddest, meanest, and gnarliest set of wheels we’ve ever seen.
The gargantuan machine was even featured in the pilot episode of Top Gear’s 17th season, where folks from the Paramount Group asked Richard Hammond to drive the vehicle in some of the most impossible stunts known to cars. There’s no shortage of cupcake stunts here; the car was driven over, around, and just about all other directions to determine whether it can live up to its name as the world’s toughest vehicle. It even went through a McDonalds drive-thru so Hammond could order a burger and survived a lion attack.
Continued after the jump.
The Marauder is actually a high-mobility armored personnel carrier that can withstand the attacks of just about everything short of zombies. It’s got outstanding levels of protection against mines, IEDs, and ballistic attacks, and it can be configured in a number of ways depending on how the vehicle needs to be run. On top of that, the Marauder serves a lot of purposes apart from being one badass of a ride. It can be an infantry patrol vehicle, a command center, and even an ambulance if the need arises.
It’s got enough long range fuel tanks to travel an extra 500 km and it’s also tough enough to withstand temperatures ranging from 55°C (131°F) all the way down to -32°C (0°F). Speaking of its toughness, the Marauder can also survive explosions in the realm of 14kg of TNT under its wheels and 7kg under its hull.
Wait, there’s more.
Despite looking like a moving citadel, the Marauder has no problems getting wet and diving into water. It also has a special set of ‘run flat’ inserts, which means that it can merrily go about its way for another 50 km despite having 12.7 mm bullet rounds in its rubber. Then there’s the matter of anti blast seats that can protect occupants – particularly military troops – from roadside bombs and rocket attacks.
Finally, the Marauder can carry a maximum speed of 120 km/h – that’s about 74.5 mph – which may sound like nothing compared to the kind of cars we’re used to, but considering that the entire mastodon weighs 15 tons – 18, if it’s fully loaded – then 75 mph is a remarkable feat in its own right.
Here’s 10 things Paramount Group wants you to know about the Marauder!
1. Marauder is actually three vehicles in one. It can be produced as an infantry patrol vehicle, a command centre and even an ambulance!
2. With long range fuel tanks added it can travel an extra 500km – making it ideal for long range patrols.
3. Marauder can survive explosions of 14kg of TNT under its wheels and 7kg under its hull – making it one of the world’s toughest vehicles.
4. Whether sitting in the boiling heat of +55°C or the freezing temperatures of -32°C, occupants can stay cool or warm with the ultra modern climate control system.
5. Marauder can literally swim! It has a fording depth of half the vehicle – making it ideal for rugged and wet terrain.
6. It has special ‘run flat’ tyre inserts which means that the tyres can be perforated by 12.7mm bullet rounds and still keep rolling for at least another 50km!
7. Marauder weighs around 15 tons but can be loaded up to 18 tons when fully laden!
8. The vehicle can be fitted with an IED jammer – making it the enemy of terrorists worldwide.
9. Anti blast seats protect troops from roadside bombs and rocket attack – keeping them safe from the huge force of explosions, without just protecting the vehicle.
10. With a maximum speed of 120Km/hr the Marauder is no slow coach.