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Edition # 12
Review - Volkswagen Aggressor TDi
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The highways of the future will be no-go areas for all but the most advanced PPVs (personal protection vehicles). VW is set to unveil their prototype later this year: the Aggressor TDi Mark1. With a high-end combination of power, luxury and weapon systems, this new anti-riot vehicle promises both driver comfort and unimaginable violence. I got a sneak preview.
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The Aggressor is based on the chassis of the classic VW camper van, tooled and modified to deliver nothing less than 600bhp intimidation. Independent suspensions and portal axles provide 14 inches of ground clearance, front, rear and centre differentials are Torsen type and there are disk brakes on each wheel.

Double wishbone suspension allows the vehicle to approach any terrain with confidence and at 8.6m long, 2.2m wide and boasting an 8 cylinder Deisel 5.5 litre engine, this is sure to be a head-turner when you roll into the car park of your local supermarket.

Defence systems and anti-riot features include a reinforced steel plow, bulletproof windows and Kevlar tyres. As for the on-board anti-force deterrents, look forward to front and rear mounted high pressure water cannons, bean bag launchers and gas bombs. A full-functioning kitchen and 4 fold down beds allow the vehicle to stay on the road for days at a time, with an electric shower and a compact "chill out room" (DVD, wi-fi and X-Box 360) allowing passengers to relax inside while all hell is breaking loose outside.

If you ever dreamed of putting the family in an RV for an adventure trip around Afghanistan, this is the car for you.

The Mark 1 is the entry level Aggressor and is aimed at the regular consumer who anticipates no more than day to day low intensity combat situations. The variants promise a host of extra features, like the snow treads and triage facilities in the soon to be seen Mark 2.

On the road
At a whopping 3,500kg, I found the vehicle sluggish in the turn and frustratingly slow in the overtake stakes. Still, this baby was not built for speed: it was built to generate fear and alarm. And in that respect - it's a winner. In an hour long test, lead developer John Kiernan and I succesfully broke up a BNP rally, a gathering of crusties and a hostile crowd of pensioners banging on the windows of a failed bank.

In the cabin
The Aggressor has a fully armored driver/passenger area protected by bullet-resistant glass and toughened steel. In a nice touch, VW have included the flower holder seen on the dashboard of the Beetle, helping to give the Aggressor the feel of a user-friendly people carrier, rather than an anti-riot vehicle. In fact, the front interior will be familiar to anyone who has driven the Beetle: airy, spacious and - dare I say it - a little feminine.

The surprisingly user friendly dashboard provides at a glance touch screen access to everything from Heads Up Display (HUD) to radio frequency jammers and the iTunes Store.

It's a looker, it's got muscle, it does what it says on the tin and more, but it'll set you back a whopping £170,000, For those with deep enough pockets, the Mark 3 comes at twice that price but includes air support. What it's got most of all, of course, is the "I Want One!" factor. The Aggressor could be a hit.

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