2013 Mercedes M-Class Latest in Armored Vehicle Lineup

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Attention foreign diplomats, drug lords and anyone living in Bogotá, Colombia: your new ride is ready. Mercedes-Benz is introducing an armored version of its M-Class SUV, the latest addition to its Guard family of vehicles.

The Germans know a thing or two about armor, and the ML is built like a Königstiger tank from the Second World War. The truck’s passenger compartment is protected by special laminated glass, while the A-, B- and C- pillars as well as the roof and firewall are constructed of special steel that “increases structural firmness.”

The Mercedes M-Guard was designed from the beginning for armored-car duty. During development, engineers incorporated special attachments into the vehicle’s structure. They allow for the easy addition of protection elements. The company claims this ground-up approach is more effective than adding armor to a vehicle after the fact.

What does all of this mean? Well, the M-Guard complies with the VR4 protection class in accordance with BRV 2009 (Bullet Resistant Vehicles 2009) standards. In plain language it can resist hand-grenade blasts as well as bullets fired from .357 and .44 Magnums. Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan would approve.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTEC Review

Supporting the added mass of all that armor, the special-service ML features a standard AIRMATIC suspension with adaptive dampers. It’s also been fitted with stronger axles to handle the increased weight. Run-flat tires add additional piece of mind.

Surprisingly the addition of armor plating does not detract from passenger space or luxury. The M-Guard’s luggage capacity and payload ratings are identical to a standard M-Class.

The M-Guard is offered with two different engine options. The base powerplant is an efficient and torque-rich BlueTEC diesel V6. It puts out 258 horsepower. If gasoline is a more appropriate fuel a 408-horsepower V8 is also available. A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission offered.

With the addition of the ML 350 and ML 500 Guard models Mercedes-Benz offers customers nine armored vehicles to choose from. The lineup runs from the ever-popular E-Class to the flagship S-Class. Even the military-grade G-Class is in on the action.

The new armor-plated Mercedes M goes on sale March 15. In Germany the ML 350 Guard starts at €105,050, about $137,000. The ML 500 Guard model kicks off at a richer €118,650, roughly 155 grand.

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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  • Xajn Xajn on May 28, 2013

    Not only did you spell Colombia wrong, your misconceptions are about 10 years past their expiration date. It's not a dangerous land of drug lords anymore. Pff.