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R8-million Audi on guard at Jims

2013-10-17 08:02


DURCH TECHNIK SECURITY: With each car taking six months to build, ‘Audi’s A8 L Security’ could well be as unique as any potential owner of this type of specialized vehicle. Image: DAVE FALL


Wheels24's roving Johannesburg motorcycling correspondent DRIES VAN DER WALT took a day off to visit the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show. Here are his thoughts - and his pictures.

This Friday (18th-27 Oct) sees the JIMS Motor Show taking place at the Nasrec Showgrounds in Gauteng. It’s a must-see event for any petrolhead and we hope that lots of Wheels24 readers will take time out to enjoy the show.

Wheels24 has already offered a glimpse of the vehicles on show but a closer look by our columnist DAVE FALL found at least two automakers boldly offering "armour-plated, virtually indestructible" models that are almost indistinguishable from their regular siblings. Here's his words...

One of them costs R8-million.


At first we couldn't find out the price, but eventually an Audi exec admitted the price was a whopping R8-million! The other is from Mercedes but I’ll wager that, given our propensity for gangsters that seem regularly to escape the long arm of the law (and who knows, maybe even a few politicians) in South Africa, we could soon see dozens of these heavyweight but extremely capable Tonka Toys on our roads protecting their occupants from mortar fire, large-calibre handguns and even the odd grenade attack.

Mercedes offers three armour-plated models for those who feel nervous enought to keep one (or more, perhaps?) in their driveway from this week forward: E500 Guard, S600 Guard and the latest addition to the range, the ML 500 Guard, with an altogether not unreasonable ticket price of R2 295 000 (including VAT, but excluding CO2 emissions tax).

Audi is the second manufacturer showcasing something similar - the A8 L Security. This long-wheelbase derivative of the familiar-to-most A8 has a host of special security features - in addition to its heavy but undetectable armour.

While Mercedes-Benz revealed its new Guard model in their substantial line-up for all to see, Audi chose to hide their secret weapon in an enclosed room. I was sworn to secrecy, along with having to wear dark glasses to even take a close-up peep at their, quite literally, heavyweight flagship.


“You can only take external pictures of the car – nothing of the interior of the car,” I was told in no uncertain terms. These guys were big, and meant business... perhaps even armoured.

Again, concealing a whole raft of highly efficient, components to protect the car’s occupants, the Audi A8, at 5.27m, is simply huge. The glass fitted to the car weighs 300kg, I was told.

Minute specifications in detail weren’t asked for – or tendered – but with two engine options, one a 309kW V8, the other a whopping 368kW (four rows of three cylinders each) W12 FSI mill; the use of cutting-edge materials such as high-strength steel, aramid, ceramics liberally spread in, under and on top of the car, would suggest complete immortality for the occupants in the event of an attack from let’s say a small army.

The good-looking Mercedes-Benz M-Guard, meanwhile, meets and exceeds the requirements of protection level VR4 (whatever that is) and capable of preventing occupancy injury from a 0.357 Magnum – even up close.

With passengers in either vehicle cosseted in luxury as they speed along our highways and byways, minding their own business of course, should there be an attack they probably wouldn’t even be mildly inconvenienced – let alone feel anything!

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show.

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