Always fancied a BMW X5 but need that bit more protection? We're not talking about safety aids here. We're talking about protection from armed forces. Well, you're in luck as the crossover is now available in armored specification.
We're not just talking bulletproof here. The BMW X5 Protection VR6 is bombproof as well, thanks in part to high levels of additional armoring fitted to the vehicle. If you won't take BMW's word for it, there's certification for it as a Bullet Resistant Vehicle (BRV) and as an Explosive Resistant Vehicle (ERV). So what did BMW do to the X5?
The German automaker added more high-strength steel to various body panels of the crossover. There are thick steel plates on the doors, side frame, roof and front firewall to combat bullet and debris penetration. Even the undercarriage got beefed up protection, employing an aluminium underbody splinter shield, the likewise armored luggage compartment partition, and security glazing.
On to the subject of glass, it's 33 millimeters thick and has an internal polycarbonate layer to prevent shards coming into the cabin. And just to be really sure no bullets or debris makes their way inside, there are tightened seals and overlapping armor-plating, particularly within the sensitive areas of door gaps and bodywork joints, as well as the transitions between body panels and glazing.
With all that, how much protection does this bunker on wheels have? According to BMW, it can withstand continuous fire from an AK-47 so you won't have to worry as much if your attackers have 'lesser' weapons. As for its bombproof (or rather, bomb-resistant) capabilities, they say it can withstand a blast the equivalent of 15 kilograms of TNT placed just four meters away.
Not only that, it has what BMW calls Post Blast Protective Technology, which ensures the vehicle stays intact just in case there's a secondary explosion. The undercarriage meanwhile can hold off an explosion from an anti-infantry grenade or about 200 grams of C4.
To move all this mass, the X5 Protection VR6 uses a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It's the same one found in the X5 M50i and it's good for 530 PS and 750 Nm of torque. Despite all the added weight, performance figures are still fast enough to some sports cars a scare. BMW claims that armored X5 can do the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in just 5.9 seconds. Top speed, on the other hand, is capped at 210 km/h. Scrubbing off all that speed are a set of upgraded brakes while re-tuned and reinforced suspension keeps it planted on the road. Tires, meanwhile, are of the run-flat kind so you can keep moving even with no tire pressure left.
Want one? You'll have to ask your nearest BMW dealership if they can offer this package to you. If they do, price will, of course, vary from country to country.