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Audi's armoured response to armed attack is a tank in limousine disguise

Roudra Bhattacharya New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Audigrph

Imagine relaxing on ventilated seats with a massage function and watching your favourite

Imagine relaxing on ventilated seats with a massage function and watching your favourite movie in a moving car, and maybe take a quick nap – all while being shot at and bombed with grenades from the outside.

Away from the prying eyes of the frenzied general public, luxury carmaker Audi had a special surprise in store at the Auto Expo – the A8L Security Edition. Kept in a closed white room for a demo, the armoured car was only viewable to special invitees such as Government officials and top businessmen, apart from few lucky members of the media.

“There can be no photography inside this room,” an Audi official warned the ‘clickerati' amongst us.

At three times the cost of Audi's normal A8L flagship luxury sedan (€399,000 or Rs 2.7 crore), the Security Edition looks quite unassuming from the outside. Therein lies the trick.

The saloon can protect its occupants from almost any basic attack – a pressurised cabin with two oxygen cylinders protects against chemical weapons for up to 10 minutes, while the over-lapping body armour and five-layer glass can withstand AK47, sniper rifles as well as grenades.

“We have seen a brilliant response in India. About 50 people a day have come to check it out, of which 15 are invitees. Most of the visits have been made by Government officials,” said Mr Fritz Pakleppa, Sales Manager, Audi Security Cars International.

Though double the weight of a normal 2,000 kg A8L (L stands for extended wheelbase), the armoured car is only two seconds slower to 100 kmph than the normal car at 7.1 seconds. A 500 HP W12 FSI engine keeps power a top priority, especially when escaping an attack. The speed is, however, limited to 210 kmph.

“The car is hand-built and takes six months to deliver and 450 hours to make. 500 units have been sold since 2005. The highest sales have been in Arabia, Middle-East and Africa,” said Mr Pakleppa.

The A8L Security Edition is currently in use by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, apart from other top dignitaries around the world. In India, armoured cars in use include the President's Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman, while the Prime Minister has the BMW 760 Li.

> roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 09, 2012

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