Do you ever feel your life is in constant danger? Do you hold a high-ranking ministerial position? Are you a Colombian judge investigating a drugs cartel? In short, is a drive to the local supermarket going to hold all the potential of you being kidnapped or even assassinated?
So what do you do? The answer is simple: you buy a car which can withstand everything up to a small nuclear explosion.
These vehicles are very discreet indeed. There isn’t any hint they are sheathed in enough military armour to successfully fend off a head-on mortar or rocket-grenade attack. To the prying public they appear to be just another executive car.
For obvious reasons, the world of armour-protected cars is shrouded in a heavy cloak of secrecy, however, we’ve managed to infiltrate it and bring you – just in case you were in the market – the top 10 cars favoured by the world’s secret service.
If it’s good enough for the most powerful man in the world, then it is certainly good enough for you. President Obama’s choice of ride, fondly known as The Beast, was specially commissioned from Cadillac.
The $300,000 seven-seat, eight-tonne Beast has bunker-like protection (obviously). However, the armour is so thick each door weighs the same as a Boeing 747 cabin door. It also comes complete with a separate oxygen supply and a totally sealed interior to protect against a gas attack. Oh, and several litres of the Commander-in-Chief’s blood, too.
The official line from Porsche is, “we don’t armour-plate our cars”. Perhaps they don’t, but they may very well point you in the general direction of JS Armoured Cars of Frankfurt, Germany, who will undertake the conversion.
Recently, JS took a Panamera Turbo and gave it enough protection to stop an M16, 9mm or .44 Magnum fired at point blank range. And, if, by chance, an assailant chose to attack by means of grenade or landmine, then a heavy dose of 3mm ballistics steel added to the roof and floor will further ensure safety.
You’d be forgiven for thinking a Range Rover is pretty much indestructible, but apparently it isn’t until it has had a few more additional factory-fitted options. Bullet resistant glazing, ballistic steel armouring, flat run tyres, self-sealing fuel tank and under-floor protection all go towards ensuring this 5.0-litre V8 Range Rover can withstand an attack by high velocity, high calibre bullets providing optimum occupant protection. That should do it then.
Having a very exclusive clientele does mean Rolls-Royce is a little reticent about giving away too much information on exactly what is used in their cars to protect the rich and famous that travel in them. Then again, knowing all their cars are bespoke-made it is a fair assumption they will kit it out with whatever the customer wants.
Specify all-round Kevlar armour, a pair of matching 18-carat gun mounts or a diamond encrusted pepper spray holder and they’ll build them in – obviously, at a price.
Built by Volkswagen R, the special projects wing of Volkswagen, this particular long-wheel base Phaeton is available in a level of individualisation normally only reserved for the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Not only will they customise the interior and exterior to suit a customer’s precise requirement, they also have the ability to armour plate and prepare the car to fend off the most brutal of attacks.
The S600 Pullman could never really be described as discreet. It is absolutely enormous.
Everything about this bulletproof, bomb-resistant limo is served in seismic proportions. Firstly, it is over 6.3 metres in length and then there’s the engine; a 5.5-litre V12, bi-turbo power source, able to produce 517bhp and pull an astonishing 612lbs of torque.
As for the price? Expect to pay in excess of $800,000 plus VAT.
Apart from being able to withstand a blast from a roadside device, the 760Li is also offered with the option of an intercom system which allows safe communication with people outside the car without the need to open the windows or doors.
An additional safety feature includes irritant gas sensors. When the system detects excess gas levels, it automatically closes all the windows and air vents and then pumps breathable fresh air from its own air supply.
Just like every other armour-protected car, the specially prepared Quattroporte is virtually indistinguishable from the standard model. Only the very sharp-eyed will notice this car sits slightly differently due to the suspension modifications which had to be implemented to compensate for the additional weight of the reinforced ballistic-proof body shields.
In the strictest of secrecy, B7 armour plating – the highest class of vehicle protection currently available – is factory-fitted to the Audi A8.
In true Teutonic fashion, every eventuality has been thought out – even a means to evacuate in an emergency situation. Sited around the windscreen is the thinnest thread of explosives which can be detonated to blow out the glazing and give a safe passage. Keep the kids away from that switch.
It takes all the expertise of Bentley coachbuilders, Mulliner, to convert their new flagship, the Mulsanne, into a near-impenetrable, mobile fortress.
None of the anti-terrorist armour plating is retrofitted; all the conversion work is undertaken during the Mulsanne’s initial build stage, limiting any loss of performance or handling to a minimum.