Luxurious yet well-armored vehicles are nothing new, but the innovations being made in materials and techniques are nearly as rapid and multifarious as the weapons employed against them. Mercedes-Benz's latest armored car, based on the new E-Class and dubbed the E-Guard, is an example of the latest breed.

Starting with a standard E-Class, the E-Guard is made by inserting special steel plates and aramid throughout the chassis, while the typical glass windows are replaced with heavy-duty polycarbonate. The result is an armored car that's visually indistinguishable from a standard E-Class on the street.

The new windows are capable of withstanding a close-range discharge of a .44 Magnum pistol, while the steel-reinforced floor can protet occupants against a DM-51 hand grenade. These standards won't qualify the E-Class for personnel carrying in an active war zone, but they should serve well to ferry the car's intended passengers - business executives, families and the like - through city streets without fear of attack by typical criminals.

In order to cope with the higher weight of the armored E-Guard, the car is equipped with a special Level II version of the Airmatic suspension system. Electronic control and restraint systems have also been added, while standard 17in run-flat tires rated for a maximum speed of 155mph (240km/h) have been fitted. With the tires fully deflated, the car can still travel up to 30mi (50km) at speeds up to 50mph (80km/h) to enable a getaway even in the event of a flat.

The price for such peace of mind? €45,000 ($58,500), or about €10,000 ($13,000) more than a base E-Class in Germany, excluding VAT. Orders will open in April.