It looks like a Dakar truck crossed with a hangover from a Judge Dredd movie. Officially it’s the world’s first heavy duty 4×4 off-road bus, and it is a 2020 recipient of the prestigious Red Dot award for design. This is the Torsus Praetorian, a go anywhere vehicle with multiple configurations that make it a big boys toy for governments, industry, billionaires and Bond villains.

Made by Slovak firm Torsus, in connection with design studio Werkemotion, the core of the Praetorian consists of an upgraded heavy duty MAN Chassis, engine, and drivetrain riding on Michelin off road tyres and parabolic springs. The six cylinder, 6.9 litre MAN diesel engine produces 240bhp and a grunty 925NM of torque. A semi auto gearbox is mated with a 2speed transfer case and diff lock, and the whole body is painted with ballistic military grade Line-X paint, so trolley dings at Tesco are a thing of the past.

As the world hunts for resources in more extreme locations it will inevitably need more extreme vehicles to get there. In bus format, the Praetorian offers a top speed of 117km/h a fording depth of 700mm with under axle ground clearance of 389mm. Features also include something described as a ‘Resistant to hard exploitation’ floor surface, which I presume means it’s durable. It can cater for 35 passengers kept in comfort by adjustable seats and individual air con, run off a central 15KW system, perfect for taking your work crew opal hunting in Coober Pedy or logging in Kamchatka.

The really clever part is the vehicle body. A one size fits all module that can be configured to your specific requirements. The extreme conditions work Bus is just one example. Configure the basic vehicle for Alpine ski tours and you have a luxury bus for off piste adventure. Other packages see this kitted out as a scientific research vehicle, an off road ambulance, and a cross country fire fighting vehicle. For travellers with deep pockets there is an Overlander version. You can accessorise this with an additional fully equipped living trailer to pull behind the truck, a genius option to socially distance from the wife on your world tour.

Scrolling through the catalogue for the build variants, there is something for nearly everyone, including some definitely not for everyone. There’s a SWAT truck version complete with armoury (Bound to find sales in Texas) a riot wagon with dozer blade and water cannon (no one tell Boris), and perhaps the winner of the Orwellian Prize, a snoop anywhere surveillance facility that invokes an urge to wrap myself in tinfoil and hide in a bunker.

In fact the only version they don’t make is the one I want. It strikes me the Praetorian is the perfect vehicle for an Italian job sequel. You can ram the Carabinieri out the way, drive over the Turin traffic, load up all the gold and, thanks to the diff lock settings, not lose the back end on an Alpine pass and sod up the greatest movie heist in history.

RHD is an option. Mind you, starting at 150,000Euro just for the basic bus, I wont be running out to buy one just yet.

About The Author

Steve Swanson

Steve turns any opportunity to write about cars into a roadtrip. It's seen him ride shotgun in a Bentley Blower with Clive Cussler, and cross paths with automotive YouTubers in Canada and the US. His work has been published in Magneto, Classic Cars, Classic American and some magazines that no MotorPunk reader has ever heard of. When he's not writing or driving you can find him kicking tyres at seedy auctions and hawking junk optimistically described as Automobilia

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