Olaf Scholz relies on a heavily armored Mercedes S Class of the S 680 Guard type, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder prefers to drive an armored Audi A8 and BMW has its current BMW 7 Series in its range for the first time as a heavy tank version with electric drive. There’s a reason why bodyguards have had their hair stand on end. Even the armored vehicles have long since become more than rolling fortresses, but also a rolling business card. Since some politicians, such as the Green Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, liked to switch from their armored Audi A8 to a hybrid Mercedes S-Class before appointments, BMW was the only manufacturer to date to decide to offer a factory tank with an electric drive if desired.

In addition to the BMW And while the Mercedes S 680 Guard or Audi A8 are only available with combustion engines, BMW also wants to attract those politicians with the armored BMW i7 who value environmental impact above all else. The effort it takes to armor a sedan like the BMW from the factory is immense, as the vehicle looks almost like a normal BMW 7 Series from the outside, but has hardly anything in common with it, especially in the passenger compartment. The effort is even greater for a battery-electric vehicle like the BMW i7. It becomes even heavier due to the battery pack in the underbody and needs to be particularly strongly secured against attacks such as booby traps. The BMW 7 Series and i7 High Security are produced at the main plant in Dingolfing. “The new BMW i7 combines a unique all-electric driving experience with the most advanced technology package in the entire industry,” says BMW Chief Development Officer Frank Weber, “which is why it was completely clear to us that we would also offer a first-class, high-security vehicle based on this high-tech product. “

The 5.39 meter long safety double is manufactured in a complex manufacturing process at the main factory in Dingolfing, with the first deliveries scheduled to take place in December. A self-supporting body structure made of armored steel combined with secured doors, underbody and roof armor as well as safety glazing ensure the safety of the occupants in accordance with protection class VR9. These panes meet the requirements of the highest resistance class VPAM 10 for civil special protection vehicles. The combustion engine version of the BMW 7 Series Protection also has a leak-proof fuel tank and, upon special request, can also be upgraded with body armor according to VPAM 10, which is intended to protect against fire from explosive charges and various types of firearms. Visually, the tank versions hardly differ from the normal BMW i7 / 7 Series models. The models can only be recognized by their thicker and therefore darker safety windows, which can now also be heated at the front. The 20-inch wheelset has run-flat properties that enable you to continue driving if the tires are defective.

BMW is the first large-scale manufacturer to offer a luxury sedan as a protective vehicle with its i7, at least in Europe. The drive is provided by two electric motors on the front and rear axles with an output of 400 kW / 544 HP / 745 Nm. It gets up to speed from a standstill in 9.0 seconds and is locked electronically at 160 km/h. The standard consumption: 30.0 kWh / 100 kilometers. For everyone who still relies on a combustion engine, the armored sedan is also available worldwide with a double-charged eight-cylinder. The 4.4 liter combustion engine with its 390 kW / 530 HP / 750 Nm makes the armored sedan reach speeds of up to 210 km/h.

Mercedes took the armored G-Class out of its range years ago. The demand for unarmored series models is so great that we want to concentrate on this for the time being. No luxury sedan in the world is better known than the Mercedes S-Class and this has also been available as a tank version since the W116 generation in the mid-1970s. It became particularly important in Germany as a protective vehicle for politicians and business leaders who were supposed to be protected from the terror of the Red Army Faction since the 1970s. The tank versions of the Mercedes 560 SEL / W 126 and 600 SEL / W 140, in which Helmut Kohl and Vladimir Putin, among others, traveled with high security for many years, are almost legendary.

Just like the small number of competitors, the Mercedes S 680 Guard can only be distinguished from its civilian standard brother at second glance. “The vehicle occupants don’t want to attract attention at any cost. That’s why the S 680 Guard is almost always painted black, a few white,” says production manager Christof Wittlinger. The armored version has a shell made of armored steel, which is equipped with aramid elements, i.e. Kevlar, in critical areas and has a sheet metal shell that gives it the look of the series S-Class. “The trick is the safety cell,” explains series manager Dr. Andreas Zygan, who describes the trade in armored vehicles as a “business that takes place in secret.” Mercedes technicians are always in contact with experts from the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Fire Department, who try to uncover the weak points of the S 680 Guard. That’s why they fire the car with over 300 rounds of VR10 ammunition to see whether the biofidelic dummy survives the hail of bullets unscathed. The doll has 42 bones and twelve soft tissue and tissue components that recreate the structure of a Homo Sapiens.

The 4.5-ton tank all-wheel drive vehicle is powered by a six-liter V12 engine with 450 kW / 612 hp and a torque of 830 Nm. The limited maximum speed: 190 km/h. To ensure that even bullets of caliber 7.62 x 54R (steel full jacket, pointed head, hard steel core with incendiary device) or 12.5 kilograms of plastic explosive cannot get through, the 680 is maximally armored. So even Dragunov bullets bite their teeth into the vehicle. That has its price: The rolling protective suit costs at least 543,949 euros, but with special requests it can be even more.