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Armoured V-Class offers protection against firearms

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With violent crime levels remaining stubbornly high, vehicle manufacturers are increasingly partnering with specialist firms for vehicle armouring. The latest to receive this treatment is the Mercedes-Benz V-Class.

A new special-protection adaptation of the V-Class by authorized VanPartner, SVI Engineering, was unveiled by Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa. The special-protection modification offers drivers and passengers the peace of mind that comes with B4-ballistic armour. Level B4 offers protection against handguns up to the .44 Magnum calibre.

“At Mercedes-Benz Vans, we strive to gain a deep understanding of our customers’ needs, which enables us to craft innovative and forward-thinking solutions that bring the luxury of ease and convenience to life. Therefore, we take great pleasure in announcing the availability of this special B4 conversion of the V-Class, in collaboration with SVI Engineering. The B4-armoured V-Class retains the luxurious spaciousness and performance of the original vehicle – as well as the vehicle’s standard warrantees – but with the added benefit of ballistic protection. We trust that this added safety will provide our customers with more peace of mind on the road,” said Marinus Venter, Head of Product & Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Vans SA.

The armouring package acts as a covert anti-hijack solution and is entirely hidden, making it nearly invisible to the untrained eye. According to a statement from Mercedes-Benz, “SVI’s team of experienced engineers methodically developed a B4 solution, specific to the V-Class, using top-quality imported materials.”

Both high-grade 21 mm ballistic glass and lightweight Kevlar are extensively used in the customized package, with the latter being expertly bent to OEM specifications. Additionally, all pillars have been fitted with specially made armored steel plates, allowing the front windows to open up to 200 mm.

Modern Mercedes-Benz safety systems, particularly those that rely on sensors positioned behind the windscreen, continue to function flawlessly. A PA system, B4 roof armor, and B4 floor armor are further options.

The conversion adds about 400 kilograms to the V-Class overall and takes three months to manufacture. This weight is well within the vehicle’s payload and is comfortably managed by the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine of the V-Class.

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Beginning in September 2023, customers can place direct orders at any Mercedes-Benz dealership in the country for the B4 discrete package, which is available on all V-Class cars. SVI’s armored V-Class upgrade includes the chosen PremiumDrive maintenance plan in its entirety.

The armouring is covered by a two-year/unlimited-mileage guarantee from SVI. Current V-Class owners can upgrade their cars with the B4 discrete package while still adhering to their existing maintenance schedules and warranties.

“We have seen a rise in demand for armored luxury people movers over the past few years. We were excited to collaborate with Mercedes-Benz Vans SA to bring this OEM-backed conversion to life because there is no greater example of this type of vehicle than the venerable V-Class,” according to Jaco de Kock, Chief Executive Officer of the SVI Group of Companies.

According to Mercedes-Benz, SVI Engineering has successfully passed a rigorous screening process to become an authorized VanPartner, demonstrating that it complies with the German manufacturer’s quality standards. Since 2004, SVI has focused on building armoured vehicles. The Pretoria-based business caters to the private, corporate, security, mining, and governmental segments. TÜV Rheinland has certified SVI’s quality-management system to ISO 9001:2015. (SVI maintains a Level 2 B-BBEE accreditation.)

Starting conversion price: R960 750 (VAT excluded)

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