BMW has whipped the covers off its new X5 Protection VR6, an armoured vehicle created for “private individuals and persons at risk”.

The Munich-based firm says the four-seater vehicle offers “customised protection against violent attacks, kidnapping or organised crime”, something customers in regions like South America, Africa and Russia are increasingly requesting.

BMW says the X5 Protection VR6 (here, “VR6” refers to the resistance class) is “almost identical to the production model” in terms of driving characteristics, cabin quality and design. Under the armoured skin, though, the suspension and brakes have been upgraded to handle the increased weight.

According to the German automaker, the idea of an armoured model was kept in mind during the development of this latest generation of the X5. The company claims there are “decisive advantages” to this approach – in contrast to retro-fitting armouring – in terms of the effectiveness of the protective equipment and the vehicle's handling characteristics.

Seemingly based on the X5 M50i variant, this armoured SUV employs BMW’s turbocharged 4,4-litre V8, which offers 390 kW and 750 N.m. The sprint from standstill to 100 km/h takes a claimed 5,9 seconds (some 1,6 seconds slower than standard thanks to all that extra heft), while top speed is electronically limited to 210 km/h (rather than 250 km/h).

The interior offers passengers what BMW describes as “an extremely high level of protection against attacks with firearms and/or explosive devices”. An armoured passenger compartment, an aluminium underbody splinter shield, an armoured luggage compartment partition and security glazing are all standard.

Multi-layered safety glass (with a thickness of around 33 mm for the windscreen, doors and luggage compartment partition wall) is used, and is able to withstand AK-47 attacks. Furthermore, BMW says the armoured passenger compartment can withstand lateral blasts of up to 15 kg of TNT from a distance of four metres. The armour-plated floor offers protection against hand grenades of the type DM51, while enhanced underbody reinforcement comprising fibre composite materials is optionally available (as is an "extensively armoured" roof).

A special sheathing ensures the fuel tank closes automatically following an attack in order to prevent fuel spillage, while standard runflat tyres with reinforced sidewalls are also included in the package. Other standard model-specific features of the X5 Protection VR6 include an intercom and an attack alarm system.

Original article from Car

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