Armored SUVs and trucks are a common-enough sight among VIPs and apocalypse dream garage builders. But they’re not the only kinds of vehicles that can be beefed up like that. With the right modifications, you can theoretically make any car bulletproof. For example, Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit vans. Or, as AddArmor has done, a Ferrari 458 Speciale.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale isn’t AddArmor’s first bulletproof or armored car
This isn’t the first armored or bulletproof car AddArmor has released. The Wyoming-based firm has created several such vehicles in the past, some more extreme than others.
In 2019, for example, the company unveiled a bulletproof Audi RS7, The Drive reports. AddArmor installed polycarbonate armor and ballistic glass that made the RS7 able to shrug off anything up to a .44 Magnum. Plus, the RS7’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 was touched up by tuner APR. So, instead of 551 hp, it delivers 760 hp, Motor1 reports. And even with the extra armor, the sedan has a claimed top speed of 202 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds.
2019 also saw the release of AddArmor’s Cadillac Executive Escalade, Car and Driver reports. Like the RS7, it has ballistic glass. Only instead of polycarbonate body armor, this bulletproof car, er, SUV, has carbon-composite body panels rated for 30-06, 7.62, and 0.566-caliber rounds, Motor1 reports. Plus, AddArmor claims they weigh 60% less than the equivalent ballistic-steel panels do, Car and Driver reports.
The armored Cadillac Escalade also demonstrates the firm’s other modification capabilities. The SUV has 360° night-vision cameras, electric-shock door handles, an anti-jamming satellite communications system, barricade busters built into the bumpers, and an actual smokescreen system. And inside is a 32” HD smart TV, on-board WiFi, quilted leather seats, hidden locking storage, and an extra 4” of headroom.
How does one armor a Ferrari 458 Speciale?
AddArmor’s latest project, the previously-mentioned Ferrari 458 Speciale, doesn’t have all of that. In fact, in its current spec, this modified Ferrari only weighs 67 pounds more than a stock one, The Drive reports. That’s because the firm considers it to be something like a working prototype for how bulletproof cars don’t have to be outrageously heavy, Automobile explains.
The armored Ferrari 458 Speciale has a similar rating to AddArmor’s RS7, Motor1 reports. Thanks to ballistic glass and layered-composite body panels—potentially similar to the Escalade’s panels—it’s a supercar that can withstand .44 Magnum rounds. Though that given AddArmor claims its Ferrari 458 Speciale goes 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds and tops out at 202 mph, it will be fairly difficult to hit.
That top speed matches Ferrari’s factory claims for the 458 Speciale, Autoblog reports. However, the 0-60 mph time appears to be slightly better; Ferrari claims a 0-62 mph time of 3 seconds, Road & Track reports. So, how does the armored car match or beat the non-armored one?
To be fair, the 67-lb added weight isn’t the full story. The added protection technically adds closer to 150 pounds onto the 458 Speciale. But AddArmor also installs “every carbon-fiber option Ferrari offers,” Automobile reports, along with a lightweight Capristo performance exhaust. That cuts about 90 pounds from the supercar’s curb weight, hence the 67-lb total gain. However, that exhaust also gives the 458 Speciale’s 4.5-liter V8 an extra 40 hp and 65 lb-ft, Top Gear reports. In total, it makes 637 hp and 454 lb-ft.
How much does this cost—and is it really bulletproof?
Technically, most ‘bulletproof’ cars and products are really ‘bullet-resistant,’ Total Security Solutions explains. That doesn’t mean they can’t stop bullets, though. It just means they can only stop so many rounds of a certain caliber, RiotGlass explains.
There are several levels of bullet resistance. The Underwriters Laboratory has 8 levels, often used to describe protection in banks and other businesses, TSS reports. EU countries typically use the Ballistic Protection scale, Inkas reports. AddArmor’s products are rated according to the latter.
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The Audi RS7 and Ferrari 458 Speciale are rated at B4, which ArmorMax reports is good for handguns and shotguns. Think 9mm, the average 12-gauge shotgun, and Magnum rounds. The Escalade, in contrast, is rated B6. That’s good against most “high-power rifle rounds,” ArmorMax reports, including AK-47 fire.
Getting an armored Ferrari doesn’t come cheap, though. It’s $28,000 just to add the armor, minus the carbon-fiber and exhaust, Automobile reports. And AddArmor’s protection packages go up in features and price from there. However, the company claims it can outfit “any exotic or standard car” with similar protection, Motor1 reports. This is good because a used 458 is easily a 6-figure car, Bring a Trailer reports.
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