Remember how Mercedes used to say the V12 would only be offered in the extra-long Maybach S-Class going forward? Well, this is a Benz-branded limo with the twin-turbo 6.0-litre engine hooked up to an all-wheel-drive system. Granted, it's not an "ordinary" version of the German fullsize luxury saloon as we're dealing with the Guard model, which is Mercedes speak for its armoured vehicle offerings.
Known by its full name as the Mercedes-Benz S680 Guard 4Matic and available with a long wheelbase, the stately saloon has been engineered to receive VPAM VR10 certification. It's the highest level with regard to ballistic protection for a civilian vehicle, meaning it can withstand some gunshots and explosions. It's therefore suitable for high-ranked people, such as politicians, heads of states as well as public figures looking for maximum protection while being bathed in all the luxury the three-pointed star can offer.
Gallery: Mercedes Classe S Guard 2021
Rather than integrating protective materials into a regular S-Class, the engineers revamped the entire bodywork to offer greater resistance compared to the previous Guard model. The windows are 10 centimetres (nearly four inches) thick and the car rides on Michelin PAX run-flat tyres that can be used for up to 30 kilometres (19 miles) after a puncture.
Other changes compared to a standard S-Class include hydraulic windows, meaning they'll still work even after the onboard electronics fail following an attack. Mercedes also had to recalibrate the gearbox and steering to better handle the extra weight commanded by the armouring. Speaking of which, we're hearing the new Guard tips the scales at a hefty 4.2 metric tonnes (9,259 pounds).
Interestingly, the V12 has been detuned in terms of torque from the configuration used by the Maybach S680 as it now pumps out 830 Nm (612 lb-ft) instead of 900 Nm (664 lb-ft). Horsepower remains the same, at a colossal 604 bhp (450 kW). Due to its massive heft, the new Guard comes with an electronic speed limiter kicking in at 118 mph (190 km/h).
Price? It starts from €547,400 (about £466,000) at current exchange rates and comes with a four- or five-seat interior, complete with a built-in oxygen tank in case something goes horribly wrong. It takes 51 days for a single S680 Guard car to be finalised and German media is reporting there won't be a stretched Guard-spec Pullman version as this long-wheelbase Benz S-Class will serve as the sole armoured limousine.