Earlier this month, Mercedes revealed its S600 Guard armored car. BMW has now followed suit by using Moscow’s International Auto Salon to launch the new X5 Security Plus, an armored version of the X5 SUV designed to protect customers against "violent assault, kidnapping and organized crime."
The new X5 Security Plus isn't BMW's first attempt at an armored SUV. The last generation X5 was also given the Security Plus treatment, after BMW took a standard X5 and made it AK-47 proof, while retaining the luxury features for which the German brand is renowned. The new car takes a similar armor plating system, and applies it to the third-generation X5 SUV.
Changes start with the X5’s passenger cell. The cockpit is surrounded by a steel armor-sheath, and potential vulnerabilities in the car’s structure are protected by pre-shaped aramid and polyethylene components. Special attention has been paid to areas where body panels overlap and gaps in the car's doors.
On top of the armor plating, BMW has fitted its beefed-up X5 with run-flat tires and a self-healing fuel tank. All of these changes add up to a car with a ballistics protection level of VR6, which falls short of the S600 Guard's maximum rating of VR9, the highest possible rating for protection against ballistics.
Glass shrapnel is another one of the big dangers that faces occupants when they’re under attack, so the X5 Security Plus has been fitted with laminated security glass, which is thicker and stronger than the glass you’ll find on an everyday X5 SUV. After all, soccer mums aren’t often under threat from AK-47 wielding attackers on the school run.
If you’re under attack, being able to get out of trouble is key. All armored X5s are fitted with a 330 kW (443 hp) TwinPower turbo V8 engine, which puts its power down through BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. BMW claims that the powertrain of the Security Plus has "outstanding driving characteristics," which will allow the car to be "guided securely through difficult situations."
Driver dynamics are also taken care of by standard chassis systems like active steering, which BMW claims give the X5’s armored cousin the same depth of dynamic talent afforded to the standard SUV.
Like Mercedes, BMW hasn’t revealed details about pricing, but expect a hefty premium over the standard X5’s price tag.