Mercedes-Maybach S Guard: Is this the first limousine to be bulletproof?

The car can withstand hardened steel core bullets fired from an assault rifle.

Mercedes-Maybach S Guard: Is this the first limousine to be bulletproof?

The biggest problem with buying a flagship luxury ride, from a Rolls-Royce Phantom to a BMW 7-Series iL, is how much money they lose so quickly, but Mercedes' latest Maybach is built so that quite literally nothing can dent its value.

And that's because the Mercedes-Maybach S Guard is the first civilian vehicle ever to achieve a VR10 ballistic protection rating.

It may cost €470,000 before taxes, but for that amount owners will get all the comforts associated with the Maybach range including reclining rear seats, the softest leathers and an optional drinks chiller cabinet optimized for champagne.

But they'll also be able to sip said bubbly from their bespoke Maybach glasses knowing that the car's windows and body panels can withstand "hardened steel core bullets fired from an assault rifle" -- hence the VR10 rating. For a higher rating, prospective clients would need to consider a non-civilian mode of transport.

It's also just as adept at keeping occupants protected from explosive devices. The entire underbody is shaped and armored to deflect an explosive charge detonated under the car, and Mercedes says that the same level of protection can be expected if said charge is detonated at the vehicle's side.

As such, the Maybach complies with directive ERV 2010 for blast protection, the criteria for which are actually a secret, or at least not available in the public domain. Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation tested the car and returned it to Mercedes with full approval and without any constraints.

But perhaps the most impressive thing about this particular Mercedes-Maybach is that all of this extra protection has been integrated into the car without changing its appearance.

From the outside it looks just like any other Maybach S 600. And as business people and heads of state -- the clients Mercedes hopes to attract with its latest Guard model -- know all too well, being inconspicuous is just as important as bulletproof glass when it comes to keeping safe. As is a clean getaway. The Maybach is designed to keep moving even when under attack thanks to run-flat tires, a very powerful engine and a reinforced, tamper-proof fuel tank.