It’s no longer enough for automobiles to be merely luxurious or impervious to external danger. A new breed of specialized cars marries upmarket perks with the armored protection of vehicles used by politicians or other VIPs, reports CNN Money.
Companies like Alpha Armouring are taking upscale car models and customizing them to meet the exacting standards of people accustomed to white glove treatment. For example, CNN Money cites a Mercedes-Benz G63 SUV that’s tricked out so that its final asking price is over $1.5M and brings the vehicle’s weight in at over four tons. And while there will be standard external armoring features like bullet-resistant windows and the ability to drive for 10 miles even if the tires are punctured, inside riders benefit from luxe elements like quilted leather seats, flatscreen TVs, and massage chairs. Yet you may just miss one of these specialized super-cars: to maintain a low-profile, most of these models look like any other SUV from the outside.
Alpha Armouring says that now, just under half their customers fall within this VIP/superstar category, while other companies note that this particular market, while niche, is growing by 10% each year. These tricked-out, highly-protective rides are most in demand in the Middle East and Africa, though luxe locations like Las Vegas and Switzerland are also in need of these special automotive crossbreeds.
Still, even the highest level of security is out of reach to even the richest clients. Klaus Ackermann, owner of Alpha Amouring, notes that only heads of state are allowed access to cars with the maximum level of protection.