December 2, 2020

AfricaTopForum

AfricaTopForum – News Around Africa

Military-grade Merc: Brabus Automotive bites the bullet with G-Class

5 min read

Mercedes is gunning for the African VIP security market in high-risk regions with its new Brabus Automotive-produced Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV.

SVI Engineering, a local leader in vehicle armouring, is the official distributor of Brabus Automotive armoured products in Africa starting with the INVICTO range. The technical capability of the firm, as well as a strong market base, made it an easy choice for Brabus Automotive seeking to expand its footprint on the continent.

Brabus Automotive Invicto
Image Supplied

Ballistics protection: Brabus Automotive INVICTO

The INVICTO represents a high-end armoured version of the latest Mercedes-Benz G-Class and is produced by Brabus Automotive located in Bottrop, Germany.

The so-called INVICTO Shelter Cell meets OEM factory armouring standards and make use of hot-formed armouring steel plates and innovative 3D-printed parts. The ballistic protection level is VR6 (stopping AK47), however it is extended by a side-blast protection at the level of a luxury state limousine.

And finally, the INVICTO VR6 Plus explosion-resistant vehicle (ERV) is currently being developed.

Brabus Automotive Invicto
Image: Supplied

Choice between three different variants:

PURE – discreet protection

The PURE is the understated INVICTO, just pure protection. With the INVICTO Shelter Cell and all its guarding components, it offers maximum protection at VR6 Plus ERV level.

Invicto Pure
Invicto Pure
Images: Supplied

At the same time, however, the exterior and interior remains as close to series production as possible. Therefore, the INVICTO PURE is “undercover” in more than one sense.

LUXURY- safety and style

Invicto luxury
Image: Supplied

Safety at the highest level of comfort and individualisation – that’s INVICTO LUXURY. Tailor-made and handcrafted interior in finest leather or Alcantara as well as exterior components and performance upgrades from the BRABUS accessory program.

The INVICTO LUXURY – almost invisibly – combines maximum security at level VR6 plus ERV and with a stylish, luxurious interior.

Invicto luxury
Image: Supplied

Made for MISSIONs

The INVICTO MISSION is made for missions and more. Special target groups have specific requirements to an armoured vehicle. With the MISSION Brabus Automotive complies with this in every way and meets the exceptional demands for challenging purposes.

With its sophisticated interior and the exterior features, like protection vest compatible integral seats with variable foam geometry, “MOLLE”-system door panels and seat backs, a roof rail system, a digital rear display mirror, the Acetech system with two touch control panels, an intercom system and 20-inch rough profile off-road tyres the INVICTO MISSION is especially made for special forces.

Invicto Mission
Image: Supplied

Of course, the INVICTO MISSION doesn’t only provide reliable protection at VR6 plus ERV level, it also fulfils the highest demands regarding suitability for everyday use, comfort, driving dynamics, active and passive safety as well as manufacturing quality.

Therefore, the INVICTO MISSION is the perfect trace protection and escort vehicle with military compatible interior and special exterior features and offers furthermore lifestyle, too.

Custom-made choices

For an individual configuration of their INVICTO customers can select for the three different lines various options from the accessory programme.

For example, lightning and signal systems, auxiliary roof lights, a fire extinguishing system, an infrared package, including a night vision device, a fresh air system with filter or an escape hatch — just to mention a few. Think of it as a “panic room” on wheels…

Safety cell

The highest technical standards were also paramount for Brabus Automotive when it came to developing the new armoured vehicle based on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Right from the very start, the overall ballistic concept was designed for a maximum protective effect corresponding to the level of OEM factory armour plating.

Unlike with other retroactively armour-plated vehicles, the components of the protection system were not individually welded into the vehicle’s bodywork structure.

Rather, the engineers at Brabus Automotive developed a self-contained, self-supporting, bolted structural cell, the so-called INVICTO Shelter Cell. It is inserted into the body shell in a disassembled state and then constructed.

One of the structural features of the shelter cell is the zero-joints design. The armour components are mounted to the shelter cell without any gaps. Unavoidable weld seams, on the doors for example, are achieved with material overlapping and so-called labyrinths.

Invicto
Image: Supplied

The design of the upper windscreen frame is also innovative.

Brabus Automotive CEO Christian Draser said: “For the first time anywhere in the world, we’re using protective elements here, which are produced in an additional manufacturing process in a 3D printer. We’re definitely the first to do it.”

Biting the bullet from all angles

Every single material pairing, and screw connection was tested by being shot at from several angles and at projectile speeds which are well beyond the standard speed of the calibre being protected against. Furthermore, individual assemblies were also subjected to several explosions in preliminary tests in a so-called blast frame.

“We have the entire vehicle certified by an accredited German ballistics authority, both with regard to being fired upon and being subjected to explosions as per resistance class VR6 Plus ERV,” said Draser.

The side-blast protection (ERV) is at the level of a luxury state limousine.

Invicto mission
Image: Supplied

Mercedes-Benz G-Class uprated

The added weight of the overall vehicle due to the armour plating is comparatively low at around 1,000kg, but the load-bearing capacity of the chassis must be modified to meet the high requirements of Brabus Automotive when it comes to driving dynamics and lifespan.

The necessary adjustments cover the entire front and rear axle construction of the vehicle. The entire wheel suspension, for example, has been replaced by own new development, while frame reinforcements around the longitudinal beams and the spring dome increase the strength of the original vehicle structure.

The obligatory verification of the new construction included simulations using the finite element method (FEM), component analyses, stationary endurance runs and road tests.

Invicto
Image: Supplied

To ensure a high degree of driving dynamics, Brabus Automotive equips the chassis with reinforced springs, stabilisers and shock absorbers.

The shock absorbers of the active chassis now have a pipe diameter of 60 instead of the previous 50mm. A modified braking system with 402mm brake discs and six-piston brake callipers at the front and 380mm brake discs and four-piston callipers at the back ensure adequate deceleration, even with the maximum additional load.

Wheels with increased load-bearing capacity and a special run-flat system developed by Brabus Automotive round off the chassis adjustments of the vehicle.

Power on demand

Maximum performance for the G63 can be increased by opting for the Brabus B40S-800 performance kit. Each kit consists of two Brabus special turbochargers with larger compressor units (52 mm diameter) and modified core assemblies with reinforced axial bearings.

The performance increase is completed with the Brabus PowerXtra control module for the engine control unit. In addition to a bump in peak torque from 850Nm to 1 000Nm, the rated output jumps by 158kW from 430 kW to 588 kW.

Pricing for bulletproof wallets

  • PURE from R5.4 million*
  • LUXURY from R5.4 million*
  • MISSION from R6.2 million

*Pricing excludes base vehicle, shipping, taxes and the rand value is an estimate.