German luxury car manufacturer Mercedes Benz invests heavily in developing usable technology that make their cars feel special in your regular day to day life. But what if your regular day to day life involves more specific and risky threats like, for eg. being shot at with a handgun, or having grenades being hurled at you. Worry not, Mercedes Benz has an answer for this too: The Guard.
While The President of India travels in the back of a Rs. 6 crore black Mercedes Benz S600 Pullman Guard, Mercedes Benz just launched an even more usable Guard: The Rs. 2.49 crore M-Guard. The M-Guard is an armoured version of the ML Class, and here in India, available only in the ML500 trim. And you would thank Mercedes Benz for that, because when you want to escape gunfire, the 4,663 cc V8 with 408 bhp and 600 Nm on tap will take you and the 2,785kg. SUV from standstill to 100kmph in just 6.5 seconds, onwards to a limited top speed of 210 km/h.
The new M-Guard meets the requirements of protection level VR4 according to testing guidelines BRV 2009 (Bullet Resistant Vehicles 2009), carried out at the Ballistics Bureau at Ulm, Germany. This certifies that the vehicle is safe to withstand assault from, and including a .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum, and blasts from a DM51 Hand Grenade (if equipped with floor armor). You can read more about the certification here.
The ‘Guard’ series took birth when, on request, Mercedes Benz added special safety features to its 1928 Nurnburg Limousine. Since then, Mercedes has constantly developed and delivered armoured vehicles to dignitaries, and people who could afford them all over the world.
The Mercedes-Benz M-Guard is built according to the brand’s integrated protection design principle, which means that individual protection elements are incorporated into the raw vehicle bodyshell, creating a comprehensive protection system against ballistic attacks. The Guard features chassis, suspension, drivetrain and electrical components that are designed specifically to carry, handle and manage all the extra weight. The run flat tyres have been designed to drive on safely for a distance of up to 30 km at a speed of 80 km/h.
Mercedes claims that the entire cabin is area protected, including the roof frame, door locks, the door gaps and even the external mirror mounts, and this is why building from the ground up results in a safer end product than retrofitting after assembly. Mercedes even winter tests the Guards in ice and snow, to make sure its dynamically as capable as the regular car even with the extra bulk. Extensive trials are carried out at their heavily guarded facility, where the engineers make sure that everyday driving, high speed driving, off road capability, structural integrity and reliability is as per Mercedes Benz’s already high standards. Hence, unlike aftermarket armoring which drastically reduces the life and usability of the car the donor car, MB claims that their Guard cars will have the same (if not more) life and usability of their non armored counterparts.
The best part is, that the M-Guard does not lose any of its interior space, boot capacity or payload compared to its regular counterpart. It can be ordered with all the exclusive options that the regular ML Class has, such as high end audio, exclusive leather, infotainment system (COMAND Online) etc.
For Rs. 2.49 crore, its about 4 (four) times as expensive as the ML350, but more importantly, in the price range that there are car buying options. However, no car offers safety like this one does.