Mercedes S600 Guard Review
Car Tested: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 11.50 Crores
The S-Guard can save you from ballistic attacks while you’re relaxing in pure luxury
Mercedes launched the new generation S-Class in India last year, which they claim is the ‘best car in the world’ and we second that. The S-Class is a paragon of luxury on wheels that spoils you with never-ending convenience features on offer along with an extremely comfortable cabin. It is quite thrilling to drive as well and how can we forget the graceful styling, which is second to none. Now, Mercedes has launched the S-Guard in India, which makes the best car in the world also the safest luxury spot on earth. We get to experience the exquisite ‘Guard’ at the Buddh International Circuit.
The Mercedes Guard portfolio in India currently comprises of the S-Guard, E-Guard and M-Guard. These are basically special armoured protection vehicles meant for high profile business tycoons, VVIP politicians or you can say mafia chiefs. To avoid suspicion, the Mercedes Guard range look identical to the original model and same is the case with the S-Guard. It looks exactly the same as the regular S-Class save for the high profile run-flat tyres and thick window bezels to name a few.
The regular Mercedes S-Class weighs 2200 kgs while the S600 Guard weighs about 4200 kgs, which is almost double the weight, thanks to the protective components of special steel and super thick glass used. Each window weighs about 100 kgs while the windscreen tips the scale at 200 kgs. The doors are extremely heavy to operate but to make things a bit convenient, the doors have suction system. The S-Guard is VR9 certified, which is the highest level of ballistic protection. It can withstand rifle fire from military weapons, protection from grenades and explosive charges.
The interiors carry over the same equipment and features from the regular S-Class with additional protective features as well. It comes with panic alarm system, fire extinguisher with automatic activation, emergency fresh air system to protect from ingress of smoke, hydraulic power windows, special rear cooling compartment and more. All the emergency controls are hidden ahead of the front armrest under a panel. The oxygen cylinders and spare battery are placed in the boot.
Now, if stuck in such a situation where you are being attacked with grenades and rifle firing, you have to escape right away and for hauling this beast of a car quickly, it needs a highly powerful engine. This is where the massive 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 engine comes, churning out 530 BHP of power with 830 Nm of meaty torque, which is highly capable of escaping danger zones in a jiffy.
In spite of the 4.2 tonne weight, the S-Guard has impressive thrust on offer
Mash the throttle hard and the 12 cylinders come alive with a muffled growl that sounds quite Herculean. It glides forward with immense twisting force on tap, 830 Nm of it carrying 4.2 tonnes of weight with ease. There is no flat spot across the rev range and it keeps pulling in a linear fashion. Sending power to the rear wheels is a silky smooth 7-speed automatic transmission that delivers power seamlessly. Top speed has been limited to 210 km/hr keeping in mind the enormous weight it carries. It has the lowest level of emissions compared to its rivals and is relatively the most fuel efficient, returning a claimed 7.75 km/l of mileage.
The V12 engine makes the S-Guard feel easy to drive in a straight line but what about the handling, ride and overall dynamics? I must say that when I was about to hit the first corner, I expected the tank-like saloon to throw significant weight while cornering at high speeds but the way it holds the mass together is impressive. You feel like you are lugging a big car around as the steering is quite heavy but it’s not very intimidating and the S-Guard is very much controllable.
It’s just that you have to brake early before entering corners, steer in smoothly and throttle out gently when you get hold of your line. This way it feels like driving a normal car but when you give it the beans and play hard, the S-Guard transforms into a Hulk on wheels. Hit the throttle hard mid-corner and the tail tends to move around. Handling is good and confidence inspiring thanks to the electronics (ESP and ASR) that work hard. There is some body roll but the ride quality is extremely pliant and flat. The Michelin PAX run-flats are quite grippy and if damaged, they can run up to 30 kms. The brakes have been improvised because of the added weight and the S-Guard comes to a halt without any drama.
It is a one-of-a-kind experience to drive an armoured car on a race track and I must say that it was a lot of fun pushing the Mercedes S-Guard to its limits. The best part about this special vehicle is that it never turns you down when you treat it like any other car and does things which it’s not meant for. Such aspects make the S-Guard a highly reliable and safe car for those who require highest levels of protection on the move. So if you have enemies and are ready to shell out a substantial fortune for your safety then the S600 Guard is indeed the safest luxury spot for you. And Mr. Ambani we wish you could have waited a little before picking the 7er Security.
The Mercedes S-Guard is a vehicle with versatile characteristics. You can be chauffeur driven on a daily basis to work, arrive in style at weekend parties, drive around yourself with its easy-to-drive nature and most importantly feel safe with the highest level of VR9 protection.
* The best car in the world is now also the safest car in the world
* Smooth performance in spite of carrying almost double the weight
* Excellent ride and handling balance for a super luxury bullet proof vehicle
What’s Not So Cool
* Exorbitant price, not that it matters to prospective buyers anyways
Alternatives: Audi A8L Security, BMW 7-Series High Security, Armoured Tanks
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