Peace of mind, as they say, comes at a high price. And when you consider the burgeoning number of high net worth individuals, celebrities, business tycoons, political big wigs and heads of state, it’s a small premium to pay for the most precious gift of all- Life. The three big boys of Indian luxury car-dom are right up here with their high-security offerings, tailored exclusively for dignitaries and the super rich and boy are these exciting!
Let’s take a look at the top armoured high-security sedans in the country -
Priced at a whopping INR 9.15 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Audi A8 L Security Edition comes with upgraded ballistics protection, meaning that VR9 level security is provided to occupants while special materials including alloys, aramid fabric and hot formed steel armour are used. The car gets an armoured communications box in its luggage compartment which has the control units for the vehicle electronics, communication system, auxiliary battery and security features. Other features include an intercom for outside communication with a speaker mounted behind the grille along with selective door unlocking. There is a patented emergency exit system, fire extinguishing system and emergency fresh air system as optional. There is a remote function enabling the driver to remotely start the engine of the car.
There is a twin turbo 4-litre V8 engine that makes 429 BHP and 61.18 kgm of torque. There is another engine option, namely the W12 naturally aspirated mill that dishes out 493 BHP and 63.73 kgm. There are the Quattro all-wheel drive system and all other luxuries of the regular A8 sedan. The car has been tested for its resistance towards explosive charges as per ERV 2010 guidelines. The A8 L Security is a made to order offering. It can also handle a maximum of 600 kg as payload and shields occupants from gunfire and smaller explosives. The manufacturing location is kept secret and comes with loud and bright beacon lights in-built. There is an optional feature which detonates controlled explosives with the pressing of a button. This causes the doors to blow open, helping occupants escape. The 19 inch Michelin tyres can withstand fire and blow-outs.
Mercedes Benz S 600 Guard
Mercedes-Benz also has its own high-security rival in this category, namely the S 600 Guard which it claims is the safest vehicle in the world in terms of ballistic attacks. From Shahrukh Khand and Aamir Khan to Mukesh Ambani, they’ve all got one of these. The S 600 Guard has priced at INR 8.9 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi) and is preferred by 91 heads of state globally including our own President Pranab Mukherjee and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mercedes-Benz conducts internal background checks on every customer to ensure that only suitable individuals get this. The car looks like a regular S-class sedan but comes engineering to the VR9 level and can withstand ballistic attacks from all kinds of revolvers, pistols and rifles right from 0.45 magnum pistols to AK-47 rifles. It is also protected from hand grenade attacks (two at a time), chemical weapons and land mines.
The car underbody is sealed and there is a fire extinguisher system with automatic activation. There is a separate oxygen cask which activates emergency fresh air in case of irritant gases or smoke. The car also gets Michelin PAX run-flat tyres with added tyre pressure monitoring which enables escape from danger zones up to a 30 km distance at speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour even with damaged tyres. The heavy armouring makes the car solid and virtually indestructible. There is a V12 engine that makes 530 hp and 830 Nm. Sales details of Guard vehicles worldwide are concealed by Mercedes-Benz. There is an optional First-Class rear suite with a continuous Business console that transforms the rear into a mobile office with two individual seats.
With Audi and Mercedes-Benz upping their game in this segment, can the third angle of the German troika be far behind? BMW also has the 760Li High-Security armoured version of the 7 Series available in India. The car is certified under VR7/BRV 2009 global guidelines and meets the highest ballistic protection standards. This means that it can withstand ballistic attacks from almost all kinds of guns including the AK-47. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi uses this car for travelling around in. BMW offers extreme confidentiality and driver training programs, especially for this High-Security version. There is increased weight on account of armour plating which is handled by specific components of the chassis along with a reinforced suspension, dampers and suspension strut top mountings. BMW High-Security sedans are also serviced only by certified and a few special garages only. Needless to say, this car comes with all the luxurious trappings of the regular 7 Series along with a potent mix of security features.
When you consider these high-security luxury sedans and their jaw-dropping prices, a single thought is bound to crop up again- "Life is the most precious gift of all and securing the same is worth paying any price for".