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Survival of the Fittest: A high-performance luxury car you can bond with

AutoWeek | Published 04/07/06, 11:30 am et

Building a car able to make fast getaways in a cloud of smoke is not an unusual request for Mercedes-Benz tuner Brabus. Depending on the size of your Merc’s engine bay and your budget, you can choose from a full lineup of beefed-up, tire-roasting Brabus-massaged Mercedes motors, up to a 6.3-liter, 730-hp bi-turbo V12.

But when a customer walked into the Newport Beach, California, showroom requesting Brabus build him a car that can quickly leave the scene trailing smoke emanating from more than just the tires, he got Brabus North America president Steven Beaty’s undivided attention.

“We built him the Brabus 6.1 Urban Tactical Vehicle, an armored urban tactical luxury sedan,” Beaty said of the specially commissioned project based on a 2002 S-Class. The UTV, explained Beaty, is “designed for individuals who demand luxury transportation that not only offers comfort and enhanced performance, but also integrates tactical features that provide defensive, evasive and preemptive danger-containment subsystems for unexpected emergencies such as attempted armed carjacking, high-speed chases, random violence, natural disasters, surveillance and counter-surveillance.”

In other words, it is more than just another armor-plated limo. Who orders something like this?

We’ll call him Yuri. Yuri calls himself an international venture capitalist. His work involves hanging out with some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people. Despite the type of car he owns, Yuri is very approachable about why he commissioned a UTV.

“I like Mercedes-Benz and I like Brabus,” Yuri said. “A Hummer is one thing, but I wanted luxury. I was inspired by my world travels and my training to create a paradigm to fit my lifestyle.”

By training, Yuri means his studies with Alon Stivi. Stivi, born in France, grew up in Israel where he served in the Special Forces. He moved to the United States 20 years ago. A World Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee, Stivi trains law enforcement personnel and special military units (e.g., the Navy SEALS) in tactical threat control and other survival-related matters. He also provides security services for high-profile individuals. Stivi’s clientele obviously remain anonymous, but past clients include Warren Buffett, Larry King and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Stivi’s company, Direct Measures International, worked closely with Brabus in the selection and implementation of the protective, evasive and defensive equipment—things we might call James Bond stuff but Stivi classifies as “risk mitigation.” Stivi, by the way, could serve as the human role model for the Brabus UTV in his designer sport coat impeccably tailored to accommodate the muscular and metal arsenal underneath.
Almost as discreet is the black briefcase that contains a device from CORE Testing, a developer of sophisticated and mainly top-secret electronic countermeasures. The device neutralizes any wireless signal up to 50 meters away, canceling any chance of electronic eavesdropping or remote detonation of hidden explosive devices. The unit also uses sensors to detect and warn of any magnetic fields that indicate a bomb is attached under the car, and issues a warning if it detects the doors, hood or trunk have been opened since the vehicle was parked. Anti-laser capabilities complete the ability to make the vehicle electronically invisible.

Blacked-out exterior lighting and a Raytheon night-vision system with front and rear-mounted cameras provide the capability of driving in stealth mode. A high-intensity flashing strobe light perched in the rear window discourages pursuers. More aggressive means of pursuit discouragement are the oil slick and smoke screen dispensers poking out below the rear bumper.

Pace car-style red, white and blue flashing strobe lights and a traffic-light preemption system contribute to safe getaways assisted by a PA system and sirens. Propul- sion comes from a 6.1-liter, 426-hp Brabus V8. Braking and suspension upgrades are also from the Brabus catalog, as are Brabus 9.5x18-inch five-spoke wheels with 245/55ZR run-flat tires.

Just in case things do turn ugly, the body panels are reinforced with military helicopter-grade armor padding with protection equivalent to steel armor weighing at least three times (1500 to 2000 pounds) as much. Similarly, thick bulletproof window glass is eschewed in favor of a shatterproof, blast-resistant covering that will stop multiple close-range rounds from pistols up to a .44-caliber Magnum. A trunk-mounted 20-minute air supply lets you wait out the siege until help arrives courtesy of a real-time vehicle-locator system.

Of course there are the usual Brabus luxury interior upgrades, plus a 500-watt Nakamichi 6.5 sound system with DVD/TV/satellite radio.

Despite all the extras, the UTV is fun to drive, sporting better-than-average luxury-sedan handling and snappy acceleration accompanied by a throaty warble from the quad exhaust outlets. Other than that, it appears pretty benign until you fiddle with the toggle switches hidden in the center console.

If you can survive the $325,000 sticker price, the Brabus UTV should handle the rest.


1,712 Posts
If I was going to be trying to take this guy down I certainly would wait until he is away from his car... or even just attack him in the car and send a .50 cal slug through the glass.

4,499 Posts
Aren't several of those upgrades illegal for use on American public roads?
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