Posted : September 2010
Last week, the German Motoring program GRIP asked the very important question: What’s the best getaway car for a robbery? They only pitted 3 cars against each other, trying to escape the police, who were driving a BMW 135i. It was a good question, because a key element to any heist is the getaway vehicle. Will you need a van, or will a Mazda Miata suffice? What if the cops show up? We thought it would be more fun to show you the 10 cars we consider contenders for “Best Heist Vehicle.” And because every “job” is different, every car excels in a different way. But whether you’re stealing diamonds from a sheik in the desert or stealing gold bullion from Edward Norton, we’ve got a car to suit your criminal needs.
A real heist is a job that usually requires the teamwork of a few people (or in the case of Ocean’s 11, a lot). That means you need more seats than you find in a Caterham. But no matter what the dirt-ball salesman tells you, a minivan is not the way to go. Just because the new Sienna is “sport-tuned” doesn’t mean it’s “outrun-crown-vics-tuned.” What you want is a 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The new Cayenne is 400lbs lighter than the outgoing model, so it’s nimble enough to dodge bullets and make last-second directional changes, a key element to escaping roadblocks. It seats 5 so you won’t be short handed, with enough trunk space in the back to hold your loot and gear. It’s also a competent off-roader, and if you’ve ever watched a police-chase on TV, you know these things can go off the highway at any time. As for the slew of wailling Crown Vics? They’ll have a hard time keeping up with 500hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. I don’t care what state you’re in, no cop car can hang with the Cayenne’s 4.4s 0-60 time, and its top speed of 172mph will leave any cop in the dust.
Chevy Silverado 2500HD
The Cayenne is a great mid-size vehicle, good for the smaller bank job, or maybe some precieous jewels. But say you have a bigger payload than that. In Dark Knight The Joker used a school bus to haul off duffel bags full of money. It worked fine, but it’s not the quickest vehicle out there. We’d want something faster, but still capable of taking every last dollar. Enter the Chevy Silverado 2500HD Duramax. The crew cab means you can take all your cronies with you, and the bed in the back can hold more money than MC Hammer could spend. Plus, the tailgate provides great cover for the inevitable highway shootout. Jumping from a super-SUV like the Cayenne to a work-horse truck may seem like a step down in getaway power; it’s not. In stock form the 6.6L Diesel engine makes a moderate 360hp, but turns the planet with 650 ft-lb of torque. But spend an extra $1,500 and your truck can have over 500hp and almost 1000 ft-lb of unstoppable twist. Not only will this truck outrun any boys in blue, should they be silly enough to setup a road block the 5,500lb curb weight and massive torque means you’re going through that road block like tissue paper.
Ford Focus RS
Right now times are tough, and jobs are hard to come by, so they say you should take any job you can get. Maybe you’re the kind of criminal who prefers to rob banks close to an open Nevada highway, making the escape as easy as possible. Get on highway, mash gas, celebrate once you hit Utah. But what if those jobs aren’t coming in? What if you get hired to steal some art from Paris’ most famous art gallery, the Louvre. Even the Cayenne would feel big on those little cobblestone streets. There’s a reason the cars you see in Europe are tiny; the streets are tiny. What this job requires is something compact, without sacrificing speed or utility. As your personal bad guy transportation consultant, we’d advise you to choose the Ford Focus RS. It’s small enough to easily dart through Paris’ notorious traffic and the tight suspension will make mince-meat of its small streets. Seating for 4 and hatch in back means it can hold all the team members and original Van Goghs you need. And with 305 turbo-fed horsepower it still has enough power to haul you and your bounty away from a life in prison sentence.
BRABUS Mercedes Benz Viano
Forget the Ford Econoline that’s used in every bank robbery. This is a van BRABUS-style. They call it a “mobile multimedia office with sports car performance.” If you need an evil lair but don’t want to be tied down to one location, this might be the solution. With boardroom seating and a few flat-screens, this van has everything you need for your Mission Impossible-style planning montage.
As far as the mobility portion, how does a 5.0 Liter V8 with 420hp/458 lb-ft of torque sound? Cop cars aren’t fast, but they’re faster than the classic Ford rotor-rooter mobile. You don’t have to worry about that with the Viano. With a top speed of 152mph, BRABUS-tuned suspension and chassis upgrades, and even optional bullet proof panels, it has everything you need to steal an entire art collection, or a safe full of gold bars a la The Italian Job.
1956 Chevy Nomad
It’s a muscle car and a station wagon. There’s seating for 5 or 6, with a huge cargo area in the back. Throw in a healthy V8 motor and you have more than enough grunt to outrun the most modern cop cars. No mamby pamby dent-resistent panels here, this former grocery-getter has more steel than the Statue of Liberty and weighs almost as much. It’s like a depleted uranium missile with wheels bolted to it. It also has something many of today’s cars don’t; simplicity. Sure the RS6 Avant is faster and handles better. But what happens when the right fender gets bashed in and knocks some silly sensor loose that monitors the mood of the distributor cap? Maybe just warning lights, or maybe a system shut-down. Either way the more complicated something is, the more prone to failure (*cough* banking system). The Nomad is so simple it didn’t even come with seat belts. Four wheels and a basic V8 up front mean you can bash your way out of a jam, and back at the hideout you can have “Tank” or “Motor” – whatever you call the henchman who always seems to have a welder – fix it.
Conquest Knight XV
In some heists everything goes according to plan; the guard falls asleep on cue, you cut the right alarm wire, and the only 9-1-1 call that night is some crazy, fat imbecile complaining that Burger King is out of chicken nuggets. But if Holllywood has taught us anything it’s that A) Nothing ever goes to plan and B) The bigger the heist, the bigger the police response. Whether you’re a veteran thief on your last big score or a new hire who’s still learning the ropes, the Conquest Knight XV is for you.
Conquest’s battle-fortified beast is powered by a 6.8L V-10 engine that makes 400hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Bolted to a Ford Super Duty frame the Knight XV has bullet-proof body panels and windows, ballistic run-flat tires and a 40 gallon fuel tank. It’s like a combat-ready limosine. If Arnold lived in Baghdad, this is what he’d drive. Seasoned professionals will appreciate its large cargo area and multimedia-equipped passenger compartment. Newbies will be very grateful of the armor because it means they can make all the mistakes they want and still get away with the loot. The price for the Conquest Knight XV is $310,000, so you might need to rob a few banks just to buy it. But hey, it’s all lined with Alcantara, so it’s worth it.
Sportec Audi RS6
If you are reading this post and have never seen the movie Ronin, when you reach the end of this sentence I want you to fold your laptop, drive to a video store and rent it. Now that we’ve all seen the movie, we’re probably all in agreement that even on mute Ronin would be a good movie, simply because of the car chases. They are some of the best and longest I have ever seen. A main star of this movie is the Audi S8. It’s for that reason that we think the new Audi RS6 by Sportec would make for a phenomenal getaway/transport vehicle. If your job is anything like that of the movie, your team is going to be made up of old, stubborn men who are shifty and armed with giant automatic weapons. You want these people comfortable. The RS6 has plenty of space, nice soft leather and separate climate control. You also need to be able to get away from the other car full of angry dudes with guns. Sportec tweaks the RS6, giving it 700hp and 586ft lbs of torque. Handy if you need to be able to go 200mph without turning off the A/C. Sent through grippy AWD you’ll leave the Polizei in the dust and be betting your share at the Baccarat tables in Monaco in no time.
Buckshot Racing X2R
It’s hard to explain exactly what is the Buckshot Racing X2R. It’s built by a company that specializes in sand rails, but it has the body of a supercar, and the engine from a Texas Mile contender. Essentially, it’s a baja racer with the look and performance of a hyper car. Want specifics? It has a 427 cu. in. Chevy motor which, when the turbos are running at 22psi, puts out 1400hp. This car is faster on sand than most cars are on tarmac. And because it has shocks taller than many trees, few obstacles can stop it. It only has seating for two, and trunk space is limited to say the least, but with the combination of extreme speed and extreme off-road capability we can’t think of many situations the X2R couldn’t handle. Cop cars are simply launch ramps when you’re behind the wheel of this thing. Just imagine if George Clooney had had this in the desert in 3 Kings, the crew would have made it out without a problem.
ABT Sportsline Audi Q7 “AS7″
So far we’ve shown you some wild vehicles to aid in your “job.” But what if you’re the automotive shopping equivalent of Goldilocks; the Knight XV is too hardcore, the X2R is too exposed and the RS6 doesn’t have enough seats. Well, German tuner ABT Sportline has just the thing for you. Called the ABT Sportline AS7, it’s an Audi Q7 that has had it’s 3.0 liter turbo-diesel “improved.” Improved in the same way that an AK-47 is an “improvement” over the bow-and-arrow. Originally the V6 clanked out 221hp and 406ft lbs from the torquey elixir we call diesel. But after ABT was done, the Q7 holds an impressive 500hp and monstrous 737 lb-ft of torque. The 2.6 ton SUV can now reach 60mph in only 5.3 seconds. It also has 3 rows of seating, in case you need a small army. It’s strong enough to handle any condition, and has plenty of clearance if the escape route happens to include a dirt road. There, happy?
SMS Dodge Challenger 570
The term “robbery” is pretty wide. You can go into a 7-11 and threaten the clerk with a banana in your pocket (no joke), you can rapel down a ventilation shaft a la Mission Impossible or you can just grab a gun the size of small man, put on a bunch of black clothes, and do a good ol’ fashioned stick-’em-up at a bank. With all the identity theft and computer hacking, I feel like that type of heist is going out of style. To do a job like that, you should have a car with some nostalgia and some balls. Enter the SMS Dodge Challenger 570, from Steve Millen Supercars. It’s an old-school muscle car, but with modern reliability and handling. The supercharged engine gives you 500hp and enough torque to practically tear the door off a bank vault. In the movie Bullitt the bad guys were running in a black Charger, but they couldn’t shake Steve McQueen in his GT350. Maybe if they’re Challenger had had the 570′s SMS suspension and brake upgrades, they’d have had a chance.