Like it or not, armored conveyances are increasingly popular among those who reside in the economic stratosphere. The trend is a telling one, and reflects a rather dismal dimension of the zeitgeist.
As a symbol, an armored car represents the fusing of wealth and militant unease in the most profound manner. And so this Audi A8 was revealed to a group of uneasy Russian oligarchs.
Also telling, in the context of the auto industry and its giants: the variant—called the A8 L Security—is not the work of a tuning company. It is a product of Audi itself. That makes it a product of the VW Group, one of the world’s largest corporations. We’ll see if other industry giants follow suit, but the way things look, it’s something of a foregone conclusion that they will.
The A8 L Security is rated to VR9 protection in the cabin, which extends to mines and armor-piercing Kalashnikov rounds. The windshield and windows are all rated VR10. It can operate with bullet-pierced tires and a punctured fuel tank, and provide oxygen in the case the air outside the car is poisoned.
The A8 is extremely heavy—its curb weight is well over four tons—so Audi compensated by borrowing the sport/performance model S8’s engine, which gives it nearly 600 pound-feet of torque.