Audi has introduced an armoured version of its top-of-the-range sedan, called the A8 L Security, meant for heads of state or very important people who need such a blanket.

The car doesn’t look any different than a standard production A8, so the bad boys won’t be able to tell. Which is presumably how its owner would like to keep it.

Indeed, secrecy is the buzzword from the word go – the armoured sedan’s custom security modifications are performed by hand in a small, well-guarded workshop with specially secured doors and where the use of cellular phones is strictly prohibited.

Around 450 hours of work is carried out in making the A8 into a litreal armoured car. There’s a heady mix of materials – hot-formed armoured steel, aramide fabric, ceramics, special aluminium alloys and polycarbonate-coated multilayer glass.

The interior armouring alone weighs approximately 720 kg, and if you add the additional 300 kg for the special glass and 360 kg for the closing assist feature found on all the doors, that’s pretty much another car in there.

It does transform the A8 L Security into a VR 7 class ballistic protection certified offering though, with the sheet metal and glazing in the passenger cell able to withstand 7.62 mm rounds, as well as a hand grenade. In certain areas, the armour is even VR 9 and VR 10 class compliant.

There’s more in the way of security, among them an emergency exit system utilising pyrotechnics to detach the door, as well as a fire extinguisher system covering the wheel arches, underfloor, tank and engine compartment. Also on, an emergency fresh-air system, which has two oxygen cartridges housed in the protected area to prevent toxic gases from penetrating the cabin.

A standard two-way communication system allows passengers in the A8 L Security to communicate with the outside world when the windows are closed. The system makes use of a speaker in the single-frame grille as well as microphones for the cabin and exterior.

Other items include a smoke extractor for the passenger compartment, an LED signaling system for convoy travel, flashing lights, a siren, a permanently installed telephone, an accident data recorder and even a flag holder.

Of course, the quattro permanent all-wheel drive car sacrifices none of the mod cons expected of a luxury sedan. The 6.3 litre W12-equipped vehicle – offering 500 hp and 625 Nm, working with an 8-speed transmission – will begin shipping to customers sometime in mid-year, though Audi is set to introduce a second engine choice in 2012.