With its Guard models, Mercedes-Benz offers the world's widest ex-factory range of special protection vehicles. The range comprising E-Guard, S-Guard and G-Guard features tailor-made protection to European standards. A high level of protection is provided by armour made from state-of-the-art materials such as glass/plastic composites and high-strength special steel in combination with plastic elements. All protective elements are incorporated at the bodyshell stage during a separate and independent production process.
The E-Guard is available in three engine variants, with an option of the basic ELEGANCE line or the AVANTGARDE line. The E 500 and E 350, as well as the diesel-powered E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, are designed as five-seaters with a boot capacity of 540 litres and a high payload of up to 550 kilograms, which means they are fully suitable for day-to-day and family use.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Guard models are available in three engine variants. The six-cylinder diesel unit in the E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Guard develops 195 kW (265 hp) and 620 newton metres of torque. The V6 petrol engine in the E 350 Guard has an output of 200 kW (272 hp). The most powerful variant is the 5.5-litre V8 in the E 500 Guard, which develops 285 kW (388 hp). Because of the run-flat tyres which are standard for all E-Guard models, their top speed is limited to 240 km/h.
The suspension and brakes are adapted to suit the increased weight caused by the protection features. The E-Guard is equipped with a special Level II version of the AIRMATIC air suspension system as standard. The electronic control and restraint systems that assist the driver in critical situations have been specifically adapted to suit the different parameters versus the standard model. The car is fitted with 17-inch wheels and run-flat tyres designed for a maximum speed of 240 km/h as standard. With the tyres deflated, the vehicle is still able to cover up to 80 kilometres at a speed of 80 km/h to enable its occupants to escape from the danger area in the event of a corresponding attack.
All E-Guard models are equipped with high protection to level VR4. Despite the high level of special protection, the comfort-related advantages of the E-Class are fully retained. This applies equally to the generous spaciousness of this fully-fledged five-seater, the spatial acoustics, the sun protection and the lighting/control functions. The rear window is heated, and the power windows on the driver and front passenger sides are fully retractable. Efficient power windows are also available for the rear. Optional extras include an emergency alarm system that causes the headlamps to flash and sounds an alarm at the touch of a button in the event of a threat. An intercom system allows communication between the protected passenger cell and the outside world. In addition the E-Guard features the numerous, innovative assistance systems of the E-Class.
All special protection vehicles from Mercedes-Benz follow the principle of integrated special protection. In effect this means that, rather than retrofitting the protective elements in the doors, rear wall, side panels, roof lining and firewall etc. of an already finished vehicle, they fully integrate them into the bodyshell in a dedicated production process. This effectively creates a coat of armour around the entire passenger cell. Even the roof frame struts, door locks, door gaps, exterior mirror mountings and other components are incorporated into this security concept.
Only the integrated protection concept allows highly effective detailed solutions of this kind and enables Mercedes-Benz Guard models to offer such complete protection. Specialists see to it that any potential weakspots are fully protected: at gaps in the body, at the doors or at the joins between metal and glass sections, an ingenious, overlapping system prevents projectiles from penetrating the interior. Hence Mercedes-Benz Guard vehicles provide their occupants with seamless all-round protection. High Protection or Highest Protection is combined with hallmark Mercedes-Benz build quality, even in those areas where post-production access would be all but impossible.
A further advantage of integrated special protection is that the protective features actually reinforce the body structure rather than exerting extra strain. In addition, Mercedes-Benz' integrated design approach means that any body-structure reinforcements required due to the weight of the protective elements can be integrated right from the very start. These reinforcements include suspension mountings or sturdier door hinges and window frames, for example. The window frames support the special side windows which are coated on the inside with a tough polycarbonate layer, while the hinges have to support doors whose weight is increased to over 150 kg on account of their special-protection features. Despite this extra weight, the hinges operate smoothly and reliably for the entire lifetime of the car. The result is extraordinary longevity and the same exceptional quality all round that distinguishes Mercedes-Benz standard-production models.
All Mercedes-Benz Guard models display the same outstanding ride comfort and effortlessly superior handling as their series-production counterparts. Furthermore, generously dimensioned suspension components and brakes ensure that their handling qualities are almost on a par with those of the standard-production models, thus giving the driver an optimal driving feel with high dynamic reserves at all times. The chassis is also designed to provide hallmark Mercedes ride comfort despite the extra weight.
Thanks to the seamless integration of the special-protection features, the paint quality and corrosion protection also match the high standards of conventional Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. And needless to say, all Guard models can be serviced in any Mercedes-Benz workshop anywhere in the world, and come with full warranty cover.
For a high level of protection, the passenger cells of Mercedes-Benz Guard vehicles are clad in armour made of state-of-the-art materials such as glass/plastic combinations, high-strength special steel or special steel-and-plastic composites.
Mercedes engineers use high-alloyed special steels and are constantly researching new materials to determine the optimal degree of protection for each particular resistance level. They do this on an in-house firing range equipped with a laser measuring system. This commitment to exploring the potential of new materials and technologies has made Mercedes-Benz the number-one trailblazer in the field of special-protection vehicle development – a position it has held for several decades. The experts' aim is to reconcile the highest degree of protection with the lowest possible weight.
On the outside, there is hardly any difference at all between a Mercedes-Benz Guard saloon and its standard-production counterpart. That's because, when it comes to special protection, discretion is just as much of a must as trust, reliability and quality. Statesmen, diplomats and senior business figures all over the world appreciate being able to travel incognito in vehicles that do not immediately betray their special status. But even those customers who are less in the public spotlight realise that discretion is the best form of protection. And because the protective elements in Mercedes-Benz Guard models are already integrated into the bodyshell, they not only offer extremely effective protection, they are also inconspicuous in everyday life. Nobody actually sees the hard core that lies within.