The cars will be right-hand drive – also a first – and are aimed at business leaders and politicians who fear being kidnapped or car-jacked.
The E-class will be available from next summer, at the same time as the whole range gets a facelift. It will be available as the E350, E500 or E320 CDI diesel. Although there are no UK prices available yet, in Germany adding bullet-proof glass and bodywork loads €50,000 Euros (£35,000) onto the car’s cost.
The revamped standard E-class is expected to be unveiled at one of the major motor shows next year, probably Detroit or Geneva.
The protected S-class will go on sale through British dealers in late 2006. It will be based on the all-new car, unveiled at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show and to be launched here in March.
The car comes with the same extra features as the E-class, but there’s also a higher spec model that can withstand grenade attacks and high velocity military weapons. For security reasons, all cars are visually identical to the standard versions.