The Man of Steel can outrun speeding bullets. Mortal, earthly types tend to do better when they don’t need to be concerned about bullets. For that latter group — specifically the Russians among them — Audi has unveiled the A8 L Security in the land of the Rus. It takes 400 hours to make an A8 L worthy of the Security designation, the label designating more than mere projectile defense, although there’s plenty of that. The cabin is rated for vehicle resistance level 9 (VR9) ballistic protection, able to withstand anything shooting a NATO 7.62×51 mm round, even the hardened kind, as well as explosive devices like grenades and mines. The glass is rated VR10, the highest you’ll find in any vehicle not specifically designed for a war zone.
Because threats don’t only come from guns, the A8 L Security includes a fire suppression system with nozzles under the hood, in the wheel housings, at the fuel tank, and throughout the underbody. A sealant in the fuel tank patches bullet holes. In case of chemical attack, the sedan’s air flaps close and an onboard oxygen supply pipes fresh O2 into the cockpit. Run-flat tires on 20-inch rims are good for 50 miles at 50 miles per hour with no air, and recessed emergency vehicle lighting behind the grille, in the side mirrors, and in back will get other motorists out of the way — if the gunfire hasn’t already.
If those measures still can’t get a VIP away from the threat, an armored box in the trunk contains an additional battery and communication electronics to call for cavalry. And if things go literally on their side or upside down and the doors can’t be opened the traditional way, explosives blast the door hinges so troops can exfil to run their Angel has Fallen routine on foot.
Gearing up an A8 L like some Warhammer 40K Astartes punishes the scales, the Security model coming in at anywhere from 8,700 to 9,300 pounds. Instead of using the A8’s 4.0-liter V8 with 453 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque, the Security takes advantage of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 from the S8, making the full complement of 563 hp and 590 lb-ft. The 0-62 mph run takes 6.3 seconds, 2.5 seconds longer than in an S8, and top speed is reduced from 155 mph to 130 mph.
The price in Russia starts at around $750,000 before additional options, each build — tested on a proving ground against live fire — taking from three to six months to complete.