Security or rather safety in cars has now become very paramount with almost all the foreign countries asking even the entry level models to feature Electronic Stabilization Program or ESP as also atleast a driver airbag. Some of the manufacturers who think these are waste features in a car are then shown the door by the respective governments. This gives a nice feeling that the government of a country is actually concerned about their welfare and not only about filling their coffers. However the situation in India is exactly the opposite. Here none of the manufacturers in India care about the safety aspect, forget the security thing. However there are some manufacturers who actually make custom made vehicles for the state patrons with all the security aspects inculcated in them. However these cars never make it to the show rooms and make for private buys, whose details aren’t even discussed. I know that Tata sells the Safaris with these additional safety features and also BMW sells its 7 series with all the security dragnets. After all, it has to carry the Pope around and carrying the Pontiach is no mean feat. Volvo does give all the safety features but what would happen would the Volvo step on a landmine? Yes, it would be blown to pieces. That’s where the security systems come into play. I haven’t heard of a Volvo being brought into India with the security features that would give it a leeway in the occurrence of a bomb blast or some other catastrophe.
Most of the cars roaming around in the country’s capital or its sub regions are the usual luxury cars which are retrofitted with bullet proof glass, armored body panels and other technology derived straight from a war zone. However one vehicle, which would be available off the shelf in the near future is the Audi A8L Security in India. This car was recently unveiled by Audi USA in the recently concluded Geneva Motor Show. During the unveiling, Audi India said that this is an exclusive highly reinforced version of the standard luxury Audi A8L and it conforms to the highest level of civilian security norms at present. However in profile, there is little to distinguish the standard Audi A8L with the Security version. The only giveaway that this is a beefed up version is the oddball tyres and the highly enchanting LED indicators on the mirrors. The length of the car has also been kept the same and that is 5.27m. The exterior panels at first glance also seem the same. If you take a regular Audi A8L sedan and ask the people at Audi to make it to the Security version, then the car would be first sent back to Audi’s Neckarsulm plant in Germany wherein a small but highly secretive staff would actually spend close to 470 hours to get the Audi A8L Security ready for you. The car is literally dismantled and then put together again with the highest standards that Audi maintains for its cars.
The Audi A8L Security in India will have a safety cell which would be actually a mix of extremely tough resistant materials which would have hot formed armored steel, special alloyed aluminium, aramide fabric, multi layered glass and ceramics. All these coupled with the interior armor weigh in approximately at 720 kgs. In the event of an attack by terrorists or goons, the entire body structure of the car which has to bear the sheer force, has been reinforced. The aluminium floor and also the side sills have also been given the special treatment. A polycarbonate coating on the windshield, side and rear windows accounts to nearly 300 kgs over the usual road going Audi A8L. There is an open close assist provided for the doors, much in the same fashion as the ones in the Rolls Royce, the very reason being that the doors themselves weigh in at approximately 380 kgs. The fuel tank as also the battery are also given their fair share of protection material. As is the general trend of making the Audi A8L Security, the most beefiest car as far as security goes, Audi’s behind the scenes taskforce which checks out the ECU and also the software governing the Audi A8L’s safety systems have also being given a strict manual to follow. There are many patents which have been filed by the Audi A8L team and those include the likes of an emergency exit system. This emergency exit system is activated when the doors don’t open due to some reason or the other or if some one is actually clinging onto the door handle and is ready to barge in (the Audi wouldn’t allow him inside in the first place), then the occupant or passenger can actually press a switch which is tamper proof in nature. This switch after being activated, flashes a message on the car’s MMI system asking the passenger to actually pull the inside door handle. Once the inside door handle is pulled, some pyrotechnics separate the screws from the hinges and this in turn detaches the door. A slight nudge of the hand is enough to send the door and its clinging miscreant flying. There are invisible fire extinguishers inside the leather interiors. These are activated by the push of a button or by the various heat sensors located inside the car. So that the occupants don’t pass out with the fire extinguishers, there is also a oxygen gas dispensing system.
With all these safety and security features in tow, one would be forced to think that the luxury and passenger comfort for which the Audi A8L is known would take a back seat. However that isn’t the case. Instead the sense of luxury is heightened. The various security devices have been nicely covered up in leather and there aren’t any hints that this beast is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. There is an all new LED head lamp cluster which makes its presence felt and gives the A8L a sleepy look. Under the hood, the A8L to compensate for all the weight gain comes with a 6.2 liters W12 engine which features Audi’s direct injection technology. The peak power output by this engine is in the region of 507 Ps while the maximum torque push is 625 Nm available at a relatively high 4800 rpm. Audi claims that with 93 octane petrol, the Audi A8L Security in India will go from 0-100 kmph in only 7.3 seconds while the claimed top speed is 210 kmph. The top speed is a restricted one since the Audi runs on fatter rubber which has got a 255/720 section. These are specially fabricated ones resistant to puncture and land mines.
As far as delivery or rather the time, the Audi A8L Security would make it to the show rooms, it would be very late in the summer of 2012. Moreover Audi would also offer a diesel engine later on. As of now, a safe estimate of the price of the Audi A8L Security in India would be Rs 5-7.5 crores. Are there any takers for it? Yes, many would be lining up with their cheque books ready at an Audi show room. However those would be reaching the show room with a Maybach or some other limo in tow. Unfortunately that limo doesn’t guarantee that they would survive a landmine blast. As of now, the Audi A8L Security price in India isn’t decided however the speculations are that it would hover around the aforementioned price bracket. This car conforms to the VR7 2009 grade and this means that it has been subjected to a volley of military used weapons like AK 47 and Kalashnikovs. The term VR7 actually is a part of the Bullet Resistant Vehicle norms. Some hand guns like 357s and also 0.44 Magnums wouldn’t even scratch the paint on the Audi A8L Security. An Explosion Resistant Vehicle certificate has been given to this car. Well, reviewing or test driving the Audi A8L Security in India is out of question since this car would be a very exclusive one.