10 Armored Cars For VIPs

Car Culture / Comments

You can't outrun a bullet, but you can stop it from hitting you.

If you're a one-percenter, a state or federal politician, a dictator, or, perhaps, the head of a crime family, then you all have something in common. Someone, somewhere, likely wants to take a shot at you. If the threat is real for assassination or kidnapping, then there's a surprising amount of armored car options for high profile targets. They range from light to heavy armoring and all kinds of extra features to protect from projectile weapons, explosives, or even gas attacks. These are the ones we would be cross-shopping if we wrote one article too many criticizing Tesla.

CarBuzz

Mercedes S-Class Guard

The default vehicle for the rich to be chauffeured around in on a daily basis is the Mercedes S-Class. The German automaker has been offering factory-built armored cars for almost a century. Every iteration of the S-Class has had a version offered for those fearing bombs and bullets. Today, there are three versions of the S-Class, each using the V12 engine to deal effortlessly with the extra weight. The "base" version can be ordered in VR10 certification for ballistic protection. At the top end is the Maybach S650 Pullman Guard, which is 41.5 inches longer and nearly 4 inches taller. VR10 is the highest certification standard available to civilians. That's a high level of resistance to firearms rounds and explosives.

The Guard models are reinforced with overlapping materials at critical points, the body is made using projectile resistant materials, and the windows are laminated and feature polycarbonate coating. The underneath is also armored against explosives.

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Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz

AddArmor Audi RS7

The problem with armoring a car is that the added weight from reinforcing everything kills the car's performance. AddArmor has addressed this problem using the Audi RS7. It was originally built as a showcase for lightweight protective materials and techniques but started by upgrading the RS7's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 to produce 760 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque. AddArmor uses lightweight polycarbonate paneling and polycarbonate weave cocooning that's been demonstrated to be ten times more resistant than ballistic steel while weighing significantly less. You wouldn't want to drive through a war zone, but the RS7 is rated to withstand small arms fire to the European B4 level of protection.

You could escape a war zone, though, as the AddArmor Audi RS7 will hit 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds, and is reinforced around the front to smash through roadblocks. When evasion doesn't work, there are gun racks in the trunk secured using biometrics. Just remember to load it with rifles and sidearms.

AddArmor
AddArmor
AddArmor
AddArmor

Range Rover Sentinel

If you need style, refinement, off-road capability, and the ability to withstand a heated firefight, Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) department has something for you. Bullet resistant glass, a full protection cell for the occupants, roof and under-floor blast protection, run-flat tires, and, if things truly go pear-shaped, an emergency escape system. That shouldn't be necessary though, as there's a well-protected supercharged V8 under the hood. The under-body protection is rated at STANAG 4569 level, meaning it would take a mighty mine in precisely the wrong place to harm the occupants. Running is preferable to fighting, though, so along with the powerful engine, SVO has upgraded the chassis, suspension, and braking systems.

Land Rover
Land Rover
Land Rover
Land Rover

Klassen Stretch Rolls-Royce Cullinan

So, after a long and bloody coup, you managed to secure the dictatorship of a small country rich with valuable mineral reserves. Once you've bathed in the blood of your enemies, you need to be wary of a counter-uprising. You also need something to be driven around in that exudes power and impresses foreign leaders. What you need for that is a stretched Rolls-Royce Cullinan that can fend off the occasional peasant's revolt. For six months while it's being built, you'll have to make do with the former incumbent's Mercedes-Benz W100 600 Grosser. However, when it's ready, your new pimped ride will have the benefits of Level 7 or Level 9 ballistic protection and a twin-turbo 6.75-liter V12 powering the enormous 250-inch wheelbase version of the luxury barge on wheels.

Klassen
Klassen
Klassen

Inkas Lincoln Navigator L

If you need some serious protection and want to ride American, a Canadian company can help you. Inkas Armored Vehicle Manufacturing specializes in high-end armored vehicles for the rich and endangered. Inkas leaves the inside of the longer wheelbase version of the Navigator as standard but adds all the necessary features needed to protect from an attack. They include multi-layer ballistic glass, upgraded suspension, run-flat tires, emergency lighting, armoring all around, including underneath and on top of the vehicle. It reaches BR6-level protection meaning the Inkas Navigator can withstand attacks from 7.62x51mm or 0.308 Winchester FMJ ammunition, as well as explosions from two hand grenades.

INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing
INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing
INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing
INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing

Alpineco Land Cruiser 78 Series

If you need to cross into some rough and dangerous territory while keeping a low profile, an old 78 Series Land Cruiser should blend right in. Alpineco is an armored car company based in Virginia with a huge amount of vehicles it can prepare. In this case, it comes with multi-layered ballistic glass, anti-mine and grenade fragmentation protection, a run-flat tire system, and reinforcement to handle the extra weight. Special care is taken to make sure sensitive areas like the fuel tank, battery, and ECU are protected. You can add options from there, but protection to level A9 or B9 is standard. Customization can extend to adding lights, intercom systems, and an engine fire suppression system.

Alpineco
Alpineco
Alpineco

Volvo XC60 and XC90 Armoured

Volvo has carefully cultivated a name in safety for decades, but the fact the Swedish company builds armored vehicles aren't widely known. Both the XC60 is available to the American NIJ-IIIA standard of protection, as well as VPAM BRV 2009 standards for light armored vehicles. Volvo reinforces the chassis and upgrades the brakes to keep the driving dynamics as close to normal despite the extra weight of comprehensive ballistic protection being integrated covertly into the design. The XC90 comes built to VPAM VR8 ballistic and explosive certification and is built in partnership with armored vehicle specialists, TRASCO Bremen GmbH.

Volvo
Volvo
Volvo
Volvo

Armormax Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk

For an armored SUV with a crazy high level of performance, the Armormax Cherokee Trailhawk is the perfect ticket. With a 707-hp Hellcat under the hood, you might not be able to outrun a bullet traveling at around 1,800 mph, but you have the best chance possible to outrun gun-toting would-be kidnappers. Armormax has a long list of available features on top of varying levels of certified-level armoring. They include bomb blackout protection, a smoke screen system, a James Bond-style road tack dispensing system, and electrified door handles.

Armormax
Armormax
Armormax
Armormax

Audi A8 L Security

Russia isn't most people's favorite country right now, so Audi made sure it quietly introduced the Audi A8 L Security in Putin's back yard. If you like it, a quiet word with Audi and a big check might work elsewhere, though. In Russia, it costs the equivalent of around $750,000 and qualifies under VR9/VR10 protection classification. It should protect from a 0.50 caliber round, but also has extra features safeguarding the occupants from more than bombs and bullets, including a ventilation system using compressed air that can be switched in during a gas attack, and a fire suppression system under the hood. It looks exactly like a stock A8 L, but under the hood is the 563-hp V8 engine borrowed from the S8.

Audi
Audi
Audi
Audi

BMW X5 VR6 Protection

BMW's Special Sales division has a long history of providing armored, diplomatic, and military vehicles. The Protection series is currently the X5 VR6 model and built to exacting specifications. The passenger cell system features overlapping ballistic resistant materials, and the ballistic-glass features "Post-Blast-Protection," meaning it's designed to resist a secondary attack. Underbody armor protects from explosives, and the fuel tank if someone manages to pierce it. The effect on handling with the added weight of all that protection is minimized with upgrades to the chassis. That includes the M50i 4.4-liter V8 engine making 530 hp under the hood.

BMW
BMW
BMW
BMW

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