By: IOL Motoring Staff
Stuttgart, Germany - The old joke line that "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you" takes on a whole new meaning with the announcement of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard.
From the outside it looks just like the standard Pullman (the two version were developed side by side, says Mercedes) but its steel plate, composite and laminated glass armour will withstand multiple hits from military weapons up to 7.62 Nato calibre or a 15kg TNT blast from just two metres away - even the floor of the passenger compartment is armoured. That's a lot of paranoia.
Unlike most armoured cars, the Pullman doesn't have a laminated rear window; instead there's a steel bulkhead behind the rear-seat head restraints. The oversize rear doors are so heavy that they have electric motors to help you open and close them, and their windows are raised and lowered by hydraulic rams. All the laminated glazing is also coated with polycarbonate on the inside for splinter protection.
Optional extras exclusive to Guard models include sirens, flashing blue lights, two-way radios, an emergency starter battery and external loudspeakers.
The Pullman guard has the same six-litre twin-turbo V12 as the standard Pullman, rated for 390kW and 830Nm from just 1900rpm, but because of the weight of the Guard model (more than five tons!) it's electronically limited to a top speed of 160km/h.
The Pullman and Pullman Guard models are about six and a half metres long overall on a wheelbase of 4418mm - more than a metre longer than even the long-wheelbase S-Class - and 1598mm high, 100mm taller than an S-Class, allowing for even more luxurious rear seating as well as 60mm extra headroom.
The VIP occupants sit on two executive seats facing forward, their backrests and seat cushions adjusted separately - from a wide-awake 19 degrees to a relaxed 43.5 degrees - while footwell and seat reference points remain unchanged.
Each seat has a calf support, adjustable for length and angle, and each head restraint has an extra cushion, for resting the weary head of state. And facing them are two more seats, almost as luxurious.
The entire interior is trimmed in leather - including the door frames and headliner - with three analogue instruments set into the headliner displaying outside temperature, speed and time. The glass partition can be raised or lowered electrically - or darkened, like an automatic welding mask, at the touch of a button. There's also a 47cm widescreen-format monitor in the partition that can electrically raised.
The first customer deliveries of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard are scheduled for second half of 2017; paranoia is, however, expensive: pricing for the armoured version starts at just under €1.4 million (R21.2 million) ex factory, almost three times the cost of the standard Pullman.