Oligarchs no longer have to choose between safety and the environment: the world's first bulletproof Mercedes S400 Hybrid went on sale early this year.
Texas Armoring's custom Mercedes S400 Hybrid retails for $255,000 to start; it's capable of withstanding multiple high-power assault rifle rounds at close range from weapons like the AK-47 and M-16. Customers are free to enhance security with options such as electric-shock door handles and hidden ballistic steel bumpers, but that costs extra.
Why, might you ask, would anyone want a bulletproof hybrid?
The answer has less to do with the environment and more to do with the electric bandwagon. Texas Armoring CEO Trent Kimball says the future of vehicles is electric and hybrid. To develop lighter custom armoring solutions better suited for the reduced horsespower of hybrids, his company has been working with industry partners, such as Honeywell, to produce lightweight bulletproofing for these new breed of vehicles.
There's another upside to choosing an armored hybrid. Better fuel economy also means fewer stops at gas stations. The ability to travel longer distances without stopping is another benefit to security conscious occupants. The 2011 Mercedes S400 Hybrid is outfitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 335 horsepower and 381 pound-feet of torque; it gets 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. No details on fuel economy for the armored version were given.
The bulletproof Mercedes is the second hybrid the San Antonio-based company has armored. Texas Armoring has also produced a bulletproof Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, and it hinted that more armored hybrids could follow in 2011.