Armored Opulence: Mercedes-Benz S 600 Pullman Guard

Armored Car

With a tradition of armored cars going back more than 80 years, Mercedes know how to build an armored car. But it will cost you.

Armored cars are expensive items, really quite expensive, and with the exception of a few especially dangerous parts of the world, regular people usually don't need to spend the money on them. It is the rich and powerful who accumulate the kinds of enemies lists which make armoring on cars a necessity, and this is why you tend to find a lot more armored Mercedes vehicles than bulletproof Toyota Corollas, although it is true that there are a few.

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The Mercedes-Benz S 600 Pullman Guard is one of the most popular vehicles for heads of state all over the world, and Mercedes has been a leader in this field ever since it first started building armored cars. It sold its first armored car to a head of state all the way back in the Thirties, to Emperor Hirohito of Japan. The name Pullman comes from a limo maker in Germany which Mercedes has worked with on long-wheelbase versions of Mercedes limousines as far back as the Twenties. The 600 in the name comes from the old model by the same name which had been the Mercedes limousine until it was overshadowed and eventually replaced by the S-Class, on which the Pullman is based.

The first thing you'll probably notice about the Pullman is that it's so much longer than the regular S-Class. The car has actually been stretched by a full 45 inches and a third row of seats has been added so that there are four in the rear compartment which face each other. This rear compartment is separated from the front seats with a partition, just as you would find in virtually any stretch limo. The difference here is that it is electroluminescent and can be made opaque with the simple push of a button. The roofline has also been altered slightly to allow for more rear headroom.

Mercedes is very insistent that there was more to making this car than simply cutting it in half and adding a section in the middle, and in fairness, this is probably true. This isn't your standard limo, and it is built from the ground up, rather than converted like most such vehicles. Mercedes makes other armored vehicles, but the Pullman is available with a B6/B7 level of armoring, a higher level than is offered on any of their other vehicles. This protects against all military-standard small arms projectiles, as well as hand grenade shrapnel and even RPGs. As you might expect, there is also a self-sealing gas tank, run-flat tires and a fire extinguisher system.

Since getting out of hotspots in a hurry is also an important safety feature, under the hood you'll find a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V12 which produces 510 horsepower and 612lb-ft of torque. All of this is necessary, as the car is nearly 21 feet long, and although Mercedes has elected not to tell us how much it weighs, we're guessing that all of that armor isn't exactly light. Prices for the Pullman can vary by quite a bit, but they tend to come in around $1.4 million. That's considerably more than a lot of other armored cars, but there are some advantages to the Pullman. First off, this is one of only a few vehicles which are built specifically to be armored.

There are others, but of these, not many have also been stretched like the Pullman. The interiors of cars that have been converted to armored cars tend to be a bit cramped, but the purpose-built and long-wheelbase Pullman will be able to offer more interior space than almost any armored car. A 19-inch monitor and fridge come standard, but if you're interested in some more extensive personalization with your car, Mercedes is always more than happy to oblige. It's not so hard to see why these are loved by presidents and monarchs.