Friday 19 January 2018

Boomtime is back as bomb-proofed SUVs go on sale

Ultra-powerful armour-plated cars are now on the open market - a snip at just €270k

Mark o'regan

Ireland's security- conscious criminals have a chance to buy an armour- plated bulletproof executive car, fit for an ambassador or high-flying diplomat.

A fleet of ultra-powerful vehicles, kitted with the very latest security features, is now available on the open market for a range of customers concerned their lives may be at risk, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

A trawl through reveals a swish Audi A8, which previously belonged to a 'Royal person', has been bulletproofed, armour-plated, and fitted with the very latest safety features. Special roof and under-body armour protection means it can withstand two exploding hand grenades.

The car's specs say it can also protect against the force of .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .223 Remington and .308 Winchester bullets. It is impenetrable to ammunition fired from an AK-47 Kalashnikov.

However, costing over €500,000 to buy brand new, the advertised 2006 model will still set back a prospective buyer €137,000. Road tax will be an additional €1,809 per annum.

The 442 BHP sleek saloon has clocked up 41,000 miles (65,981km), within the last nine years. With a max speed of 155mph, it can hit 62mph in just 5.2 seconds. And while the hefty price tag may be a deterrent to some, it's by no means the most expensive armour-plated vehicle currently on the Irish market.

A brand new armoured Mercedes G class, reinforced with multilayered ballistic glass, comes at the princely sum of €270,000. The opaque material surrounding the passenger area has been replaced with hardened ballistic steel.

The seller, based in the west of Ireland, says the SUV has been customised to protect against high-powered rifles and grenades. Additional areas of armouring include the fuel tank, battery and "computer module".

Reinforced hinges help support inch-thick steel-plated doors, and the additional weight of the steel-plated armour. A set of four high-grade "run flat" tyres come as standard in case an emergency getaway is needed.

Run flat tyres keep the vehicle under control after a puncture, and can allow the car to operate for a limited distance at lower speed, even at zero pressure. They carry the weight of the car thanks to their significantly strengthened side wall.

They also have specially designed beads to prevent a tyre from separating from the wheel.

Another beefed-up Audi A8 is on the market for €186,000.Fitted with a six-litre engine, and with over 47,800 miles on the clock, the ex-government vehicle boasts under-body armour protection.

It can also withstand bullets from an AK47 and comes with a specially fitted "emergency exit", according to the advertisement.

While there is no suggestion those selling these cars are involved in any kind of criminal activity, a Garda source last night said any vehicles, which may be of interest to those who are involved in any kind of criminal activity, are closely monitored.

Specially armoured cars capable of stopping handgun bullets are now routinely used by a number of criminals who fear being shot.

Sunday Independent

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