Special forces MAN van: Torsus Terrastorm gets even tougher | CAR Magazine

Special forces MAN van: Torsus Terrastorm gets even tougher

Published: 02 July 2024 Updated: 02 July 2024

► Torsus Terrastorm gets more hardcore
► It’s an off-road van for special forces
► Based on the MAN TGE / VW Crafter

Hardcore off-road van converter Torsus has revealed an updated version of its Torsus Terrastorm product line optimised for use by ‘special operations forces’. So if the A-Team – or the SAS – should need a new set of wheels, we’ve got just the people they should call…

Based on the VW Crafter / MAN TGE large van platform, this latest variant of the Torsus Terrastorm has been developed in cooperation with Rheinmetall Military Vehicles (RMMV). It’s all a bit hush-hush, but the USP is adaptability, meaning it’s easy to equip the vehicle for specific missions, and even change priority on the fly.

What’s so special forces about this Terrastorm?

The demonstration example in the pictures isn’t super exciting in principle – the highlighted modification beyond all the usual Terrastorm off-road kit is a quick-change ‘Tarpaulin’ on the back of a flatbed body.

This can convert from a covered vehicle protecting whatever specialist kit is being transported in the back to an open-bed pickup for ‘ultra-rapid access’ (to cargo and people) in ‘minutes’. The advantages to this are fairly obvious, but not exactly scenario altering.

Torsus Terrastorm for special operations forces - rear, driving in forest

The pitch is the combination of this kind of adaptability with the existing Terrastorm off-road capability, while the partnership with RMMV means further specialist applications can be developed according to client demand.

Torsus says its vehicle has ‘unmatched ability to operate with maximum effectiveness in any corner of the world, no matter how hostile the terrain, weather or geopolitical conditions.’

Torsus Terrastorm for special operations forces - exploded diagram of add-on parts

A selection of exploded diagrams demonstrate the chassis modifications made for this variant, which include a number of under-body protection panels as well as the upgraded JRZ suspension.

Why is it based on an existing van?

As the self-styled creator of ‘world’s toughest off-road buses’ (especially the Torsus Praetorian), Slovakia-based Torsus takes agility and capability very seriously. So if it says the Crafter / TGE platform is a good choice for this while also underlining its reliability, we’re inclined to believe.

There’s a certain logic to developing an OEM commercial vehicle product like this, too, as the base manufacturer has already done a huge amount of testing for fundamental durability and proven ergonomics. For similar examples, check out the armoured Skoda Superb we drove in 2023.

Torsus Terrastorm for special operations forces - rear suspension upgrades

The Terrastorm uses the vans’ 4×4 drivetrain, powered by a choice of twin-turbo 2.0-litre TDI engines. Which is to say you could have a puny 138bhp variant with 251lb ft of torque – but no self-respecting special operations force is going to want anything less than the 174bhp model with 303lb ft.

Especially if opting for the 5-tonne gross vehicle weight variant instead of the regular 3.5t version; probably a wise choice if you’re going to be carrying a lot of heavy… kit. Both transmissions are offered, too, meaning you can have a six-speed manual or the smooth, efficient eight-speed auto also offered in these vans.

And before anyone asks, Torsus does also sell the Terrastrom as a campervan – as well as a minibus, a cargo van and even an ambulance. So if you want the ultimate in compact overlanding, you might soon be able to ask for the military package.

By CJ Hubbard

Head of the Bauer Digital Automotive Hub and former Associate Editor of CAR. Road tester, organiser, reporter and professional enthusiast, putting the driver first