Short of riding around in a tank, among the highest levels of protection while motoring are provided by armored Mercedes-Benz. The German automaker has been protecting heads of state and captains of industry for 80 years now, and to mark the anniversary has officially released the new S600 Pullman Guard limousine, which was initially announced way back in February 2007.
Based on a stretched version of the standard, off-the-shelf S600, the Pullman is engineered right off the assembly line to withstand handgun fire, grenades and explosive charges to the stringent B6 and B7 ballistic protection standards. The extra weight of all that armor is pulled around by Mercedes' top-of-the-line 517-hp 5.5-liter twin-turbo V12 and is further supported by run-flat tires, a self-sealing fuel tank and integrated fire suppression system. Of course, the stretched limousine can be specified with all manner of luxury equipment, coddling its occupants in security and opulence. All that protection and luxury surely doesn't come cheap, but for wealthy public figures under threat, price is presumably no object. However, Mercedes also offers an armored E Guard and G Guard as well as the standard-wheelbase S600 Guard.
Related GalleryMercedes-Benz S600 Guard Pullman Limousine
The Mercedes-Benz special-protection unit marks its 80th anniversary with the launch of the new S 600 Pullman Guard state limousine
Mercedes-Benz is proud to present a prestigious new luxury limousine for use by government leaders, captains of industry and royalty – the S 600 Pullman Guard with integrated Highest Protection. The latest in a long and unique tradition of large, armoured, prestige limousines from the world's oldest automaker, this model also marks a special anniversary for the Stuttgart-based firm: 80 years of manufacturing vehicles with factory-integrated special protection.
The very first Mercedes-Benz car to be built with factory-integrated special protection was a Pullman limousine version of the "Nürburg" 460 (W08) series which was introduced in 1928. At the beginning of the 1930s, this was followed by the 770 (W07) "Grand Mercedes" (which provided protection befitting the status of Japanese Emperor Hirohito, to name but one prominent user) as well as by the special-protection variants of the 500 (W08) and 770 (W 150) model series. In the 1960s, the legendary Mercedes-Benz 600 took on the mantle of state limousine for a period of almost thirty years which saw it serve as an official vehicle not only for the German government, but also for many other countries' leaders and ruling houses. Further special-protection Pullman versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Guard followed their distinguished predecessors – the very latest being the new S 600 Pullman Guard.
Like the famously luxurious and spacious open-plan Pullman railway coaches after which it is named, the new S 600 Pullman Guard treats its occupants to a travelling environment characterised by generous accommodation and the highest comfort. The vehicle owes its remarkably spacious interior to its 4315-millimetre wheelbase (115 centimetres longer than that of the long version of the special-protection S-Class). Indeed, with an overall length of 6356 millimetres, the S 600 Pullman Guard is a vehicle of truly majestic proportions which offers its passengers not only a maximum of comfort, but also a superbly appointed setting for discreet meetings, equipped, of course, with all the key communications and entertainment systems. This ensures they are always able to remain fully in touch with the rest of the world while enjoying the luxury and comfort of their own very special place in it.
Developed as a new vehicle on the basis of the S 600
The technical basis for the new Pullman limousine is provided by the S 600 Guard, the top of the Mercedes-Benz Guard range. It is powered by a superbly smooth twelve-cylinder biturbo engine with a displacement of 5513 cubic centimetres and an output of 380 kW/517 hp with an impressive 830 Nm of torque.
The suspension and basic vehicle structure have been modified as it would be impossible to guarantee the long-term overall stability of the vehicle with its extra-long wheelbase if the lengthening process consisted of simply inserting an additional body section. The modifications also provide a solid foundation for the integration of the heavy special-protection elements. Furthermore, the new state limousine is equipped with a higher rear roof for easier access and greater headroom. Four passengers can be accommodated in the rear compartment behind the partition - in comfortable seats whose face-to-face arrangement recalls the great Pullman tradition.
Integrated special protection for outstanding safety
What's more, the new Mercedes-Benz S 600 Pullman Guard offers its demanding passengers extremely effective protection from terrorist attacks. Its Highest Protection status means that it has been engineered to resistance level B6/B7, as tested and certified by state-approved organisations, and also meets additional requirements which go beyond those laid down in the standard but which are tested by public and independent organisations. Its armour resists military-standard small-arms projectiles and provides protection against fragments from hand grenades and other explosive charges. Additional safety features include run-flat tyres, a self-sealing fuel tank and a fire-extinguishing system.
In order to ensure that the vehicle offers outstanding protection, specialists with many years of experience in this field apply the principle of integrated special protection to the Pullman limousine. In effect this means that, rather than retro-fitting the protective elements in the doors, rear wall, side panels, roof lining and firewall etc. of an already finished vehicle, they fully integrate them into the bodyshell in a dedicated production process. This effectively creates a coat of armour around the entire passenger cell. Even the roof frame struts, door locks, door gaps, exterior mirror mountings and other components are incorporated into this security concept. The resulting vehicle offers hallmark Mercedes-Benz build quality combined with comprehensive Highest Protection characteristics, even in those areas where retrofitting would be all but impossible.
A further advantage of integrated special protection is that the protective features actually reinforce the body structure rather than exerting extra strain. In addi-tion, Mercedes-Benz' integrated design approach means that any body-structure reinforcements required due to the weight of the protective elements can be integrated right from the very start. The result is extraordinary longevity and the same exceptional quality all round that distinguishes Mercedes-Benz standard-production models.
All Mercedes-Benz Guard models display the same outstanding ride comfort and effortlessly superior handling as their series-production counterparts. Further-more, generously dimensioned suspension components and brakes ensure that their handling qualities are almost identical to those of the standard-production models, thus giving the driver an optimal driving feel with high dynamic reserves at all times. The chassis is also designed to provide hallmark Mercedes ride comfort despite the extra weight.
The basis for this is the long-standing, continuous and close cooperation with nationally and internationally recognised security authorities. For decades, this has ensured that the Mercedes specialists have been able to continuously increase their expertise in the fields of development and manufacturing while also applying their vast experience in vehicle protection technology and ballistics to meet the highest standards.
Thanks to the seamless integration of the special protection features, the paint quality and corrosion protection match the standards of Mercedes-Benz series-production vehicles. And, like all other Guard models, the Pullman limousines can be serviced in any Mercedes-Benz service outlet anywhere in the world – another important factor which ensures easy access to comprehensive service of the highest standard.
80 years of Guard – factory-integrated special protection
As the inventor of the motor car, the world's oldest automaker has always felt a special obligation to drive forward the development of automotive technology at the highest level and to keep on setting new standards for the industry. This demanding objective which Mercedes-Benz has set itself also applies to its special-protection vehicles, as is demonstrated by the Stuttgart-based premium brand's unique track record in this field. As early as 1928, with a vehicle based on the Nürburg 460 model, Daimler-Benz became the first company to factory-fit vehicles with special protective elements design to provide the occupants with effective protection from attack with firearms and explosives. This was the start of eight decades of extensive materials testing and focused development, during much of which Mercedes-Benz enjoyed a unique position in the field of special-protection vehicles.
The special-protection version of the Mercedes-Benz "Nürburg" 460 model was followed in the 1930s and 1940s by armoured variants of the 770 "Grand Mercedes" as well as the 500 and 540 K models. In September 1963, Mercedes-Benz presented a new, exclusive prestige vehicle – the legendary 600 model – to meet the requirements of the most demanding customers. Shortly after the launch, the German government approached Daimler-Benz with a request for an armoured version for state visitors. For the engineering team in Stuttgart, this marked the beginning of a new era chara-cterised by a new set of challenges – not least, how to reconcile the requirements of a special-protection vehicle with a self-supporting body structure which had by now become the industry norm. With no other German manufacturer at the time able to offer factory-built armoured passenger cars and Mercedes-Benz limou-sines being held in high esteem by many governments around the world, a close working relationship developed between Daimler-Benz and the German author-ities. In the course of this cooperation, the Stuttgart-based automaker came up with many new techni-cal solutions and concepts. Indeed, this intensive cooper-ation formed the basis for the current European standards which define the different resistance levels.
In 1970, when there was suddenly great demand for special-protection vehicles following attacks on diplomats in Latin America, Daimler-Benz rose to the occasion with armoured versions of the 280 SEL 3.5 model. Demand grew once again during the 1970s with the attacks by the RAF terrorist group. Mercedes-Benz therefore built special-protection variants of the eight-cylinder 350 SE, 350 SEL, 450 SE and 450 SEL models which it supplied to a select group of customers, including state bodies and governments in Europe and beyond.
All subsequent generations of the S-Class have been available in the form of special-protection variants. This was the case with the 126 model series as well as the 140, 220 and the current 221 model series. In addition to its S-Guard line-up, Mercedes-Benz today also offers E-Guard and G-Guard special-protection vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz offers High Protection and Highest Protection
Mercedes-Benz uses this know-how acquired over many years to provide answers to different risk scenarios all over the world, offering Mercedes-Benz Guard models with various resistance levels in accordance with the European standard.
- High-Protection vehicles, engineered to the European B4 resistance level, resist large-calibre revolver ammunition and offer particularly good protection against the increasing threat of drug-related and violent street crime.
- Highest-Protection vehicles, engineered to resistance level B6/B7, provide effective protection against the threat posed by terrorist attacks. Their armour is designed to resist rifle-launched projectiles from military weapons which have a velocity almost twice that of bullets fired from a revolver. They also offer resistance to shrapnel from hand grenades and explosive charges.