Meet Mercedes-Benz’s E-Guard whose bodywork can deflect .44 Magnum bullets and whose armoured floor can withstand a hand grenade explosion.
The new sedan, developed from the E-Series, is the German manufacturer’s latest armoured car special protection vehicle and makes extensive use of ultra-strong steel and aramide fibre in its construction.
Aramide is used for many military applications including bullet-resistant body armour. Its first commercial application was in DuPont’s Nomex fire-resistant fabric in the 1960s.
Mercedes says its engineers kept the need to develop a special protection version in mind when they were designing the new E-Series.
Its ability to withstand .44 Magnum bullets at random angles of fire provides “the most realistic protection possible.”
Buyers can order underbody armour to make the entire underfloor area of the passenger cell resistant to attack by a DM51 hand-grenade.
The car gets modified Airmatic air suspension and brakes to suit its increased weight.
It has 17-inch wheels and run-flat tyres designed for a maximum speed of 240km/h. With the tyres deflated, the vehicle can travel up to 50 kilometres at 80km/h to enable its occupants to escape from the danger area in the event of an attack.
An intercom system allows communication between the protected passenger cell and the outside world.
Buyers can choose from three engines - V8, V6 and turbodiesel V6.
Mercedes’ test programme for the E-Guard included endurance testing on simulated rough tracks, braking tests on Alpine passes, climatic tests at extreme temperatures, long-term corrosion tests and crash tests.