Aston Martin cars in James Bond films have exhibited a variety of offensive and defensive features over the decades, but the marque itself has shied away from offering these features on an ordering menu for actual customers, for obvious reasons. Built-in ejection seats and machine guns are typically frowned upon by the DMV, but there are some features that could prove useful for real-life MI6 agents and Bond villains alike, such as armored doors and glass.
That’s exactly what Germany’s Trasco Bremen has created for the DB11, offering Level 4 ballistic protection that includes ballistic steel and composite elements under the skin and ballistic glass all around.
Level 4 is generally known as an anti-kidnapping grade of protection, useful against handguns of calibers up to a .44 Magnum, some smaller shotgun calibers and things like sledgehammers. Trasco’s entire package of armor weighs less than 330 pounds — about half of that is ballistic glass — which preserves the tricky frameless windows of the DB11. Such a low weight ensures that performance characteristics are unaffected, as that’s the weight of about two passengers, or one passenger and three briefcases filled with gold bars or something equally Bond-villainesque. (An EMP device perhaps).
Why does such a thing exist? The anti-kidnapping grade of armor, useful against most handguns, is especially popular in South America where armed street crime is a serious issue. The B4 grade is typically applied discreetly to smaller, less flashy cars like Toyota Camrys or even VW Beetles. It won’t stop multiple attackers armed with assault rifles at close range, but if faced with a gang armed with handguns it will buy owners some time to make a getaway. Items such as reinforced run-flat tires are typically a part of these B4 grades, in case a car is lured into a trap with spike strips, as are siren systems. B4 is the everyday level of ballistic protection for a growing number of professionals or wealthy individuals who don’t face targeted attacks but could be victims of a professional street gang that specializes in trapping expensive cars and robbing their occupants at gunpoint.
A few years ago, Jenson Button, having just left the Interlagos circuit in Brazil, faced such an ambush. Luckily, he was in an armored Mercedes-Benz B-Class — a pretty small car — and his driver was able to make a quick getaway as an armed gang ran toward the vehicle while it was stopped at a stoplight.
The most impressive part of this armored DB11 to our eyes is the ballistic glass in the doors, which is never an easy thing to pull off. Many armored cars feature glass that can be lowered only about a third of the way and feature reinforced and modified door frames that are far thicker than stock. The door windows of the DB11 don’t even have frames, presenting a bit of a challenge to fit flush with the armored components in the door frames and the roof.
The result is a car that looks stock on the outside unless you can spot some tell-tale industry signs such as thicker glass from a distance.
The price? Well, you’ll need a DB11, which starts at $219,581, and then it’s “For Your Eyes Only,” which means it varies on what options you want. (It’s prudent to budget another $100,000 to $150,000 for the armoring elements). Q rarely said how much anything cost, until it was wrecked by 007.
Jay Ramey is Associate Editor, Autoweek
Photos: Trasco Bremen