What makes PM Modi's new Mercedes-Maybach S650 so special?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official state car model has received a major update, from Range Rover Vogue Sentinel High-Security Edition and Toyota Land Cruiser to Mercedes-Maybach S650 Pullman Guard. The armoured limousine is custom built and its body and windows are capable of withstanding blasts and bullets.
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Prime Minister Modi was recently seen in the new Mercedes-Maybach S650 armoured limousine at Hyderabad House when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin during his short visit to India. Later, the vehicle was spotted in the Prime Minister's convoy.
The Mercedes-Maybach S650 Guard comes as the latest facelifted model with VR10 level protection, which is the highest-ever provided in any production car.
What makes the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Guard so special is the armoured body of this vehicle. It comes with a 2010 Explosion Proof Vehicle (ERV) rating and occupants are protected from a 15 kg TNT explosion from a distance of two metres.
The cabin of this limousine is coated with polycarbonate and there is a heavily armoured lower part to protect the occupants from explosions. There is a special air supply mechanism that activates in case of a gas attack. There is a separate and secure communication system as well. The cabin is not only hi-tech but luxurious with a seat massager, repositionable rear seats.
The fuel tank of this car gets a special protective mechanism. It gets a coating of a special material that seals the holes automatically in case of a puncture. The material is the same that Boeing uses for its famous AH64 Apache attack helicopters. The Mercedes-Maybach S650 Guard runs on special run-flat tyres in order to make sure it can quickly escape.
The power source for the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Guard is a 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 engine that is good to produce 516 bhp of power and a peak torque of approximately 900 Nm. Despite the massive weight it carries due to the protective mechanism, this limousine can run at a top speed of 160 kmph.
The history of Indian state cars is pretty fascinating and Mercedes cars get a special place among them. President Ram Nath Kovind too uses a Mercedes-Maybach S600 model as his official ride. After becoming the Prime Minister in 2014, Narendra Modi used a BMW 7 Series High-Security Edition for a couple of years before switching to Range Rover Sentinel.
The procurement procedure of the state vehicle is looked after by the Special Protection Group (SPG), which usually submits the request for a new car. The SPG identifies security requirements and determines whether the person they are protecting needs a new vehicle. The SPG also procures the same model of vehicle that is used in the convoy as a decoy.