April 21, 2009 BMW is extending its range of security vehicles with the new BMW X5 Security Plus, a car that will keep you safe as long as your assailants have nothing more than AK 47 weaponry, and it could just be one of those luxury extras to come into vogue in troubled times. At least occupants will be shielded from unintentional bullets if they stumble across a gun battle and if someone pops up beside your driver's side window with a handgun intent on carjacking you, you can now safely pull faces and show them the bird, providing of course, you've locked the door. Personally, if you're in grave danger and must travel regardless, may we recommend the late Saddam Hussein's favorite wheels, the Rhino Runner.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few armored vehicles out there on the roads, it's just that they're made to look like normal cars and you just haven't realized it. We've covered many such vehicles from Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Range Rover, Cadillac, and even fully armoured bespoke SUVs such as the Combat T-98 high performance SUV from Russia.
If the bad guys are coming for you, you'd realistically expect that in most countries in the world they might bring more penetrating hardware than AK 47s, so the biggest drawcard will probably be if you figure you want yourself and your family shielded from stray bullets, and carjacking.
The vehicle, which was developed on the basis of the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), offers room for up to four people inside an exceptionally well-protected passenger cabin. Moreover, its superior drive and suspension technology also allows the driver to cope effortlessly with demanding situations, both on the road and on rough terrain. With the BMW X5 Security Plus, BMW is defining a new benchmark in protection against crime on the road.
The security concept for the BMW X5 Security Plus focuses on its armored passenger cabin. It guarantees excellent protection, including the use of high-performance steel molded components and panels. The body features sealed joints, which also provide protection in critical areas – e.g. between doors and frames as well as between side panels and pillars – thus preventing bullet or fragment penetration, as well as security glass conceived exclusively for this bullet resistance class. Furthermore, the windows resist attack using clubs, crowbars etc. and feature a polycarbonate coating that protects the interior from glass shatter.
The BMW X5 Security Plus was tested in compliance with the BRV 1999 guideline for bullet-resistant vehicles and offers protection according to VPAM – APR 2006 in the bullet resistance class 6. The professional protection concept for the new BMW X5 Security Plus is designed to combat criminal threats such as robbery, abduction or carjacking, however, additionally for employment in hot spots in which the AK 47 has become a typical firearm used by assailants. The BMW X5 Security Plus offers comprehensive protection against these kind of attacks. Its security features were devised exclusively for this model and thoroughly tested within the framework of product development. The integration of the protective components was effected parallel to the series development of the BMW X5.
Like all other BMW security vehicles, the BMW X5 Security Plus also offers comprehensive protection as standard. As opposed to retrofitted armor plating, BMW security vehicle assembly guarantees that all components are perfectly adapted to each specific model and, in addition, correspond to the stringent BMW quality assurance guidelines.
Assembly of the BMW X5 Security Plus is effected parallel to the production vehicle at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina/USA. The installation of protective features is performed in accordance with BMW processes at the Toluca plant (Mexico). BMW’s more than 30 years of experience in security vehicle construction is apparent both in the development and the production of the BMW X5 Security Plus.
The standard security features of the BMW X5 Security Plus include, in addition to the effective armor plating, distinctive technical attributes that provide assistance in dealing with hazardous situations. An intercom system facilitates communication with persons outside the vehicle, without having to open doors or windows. The hold-up alarm ensures that windows and doors lock automatically. Furthermore, acoustic and visual alarm signals are emitted. The system’s control elements are located behind a panel on the center console. Optional features include a rear view camera which transmits its images to the control display of the iDrive operating system located on the dashboard, providing assistance during reversing. The camera of the side view system integrated into the front bumper offers a detailed overview of what is going on in front of the vehicle. For example, when leaving a multi-storey car park or driving through narrow gateways, it is possible to identify cross traffic in good time.
Furthermore, the standard features of the BMW X5 Security Plus also include bi-xenon headlights with adaptive cornering light. These ensure optimum visibility thanks to a light beam that follows the course of the bend. In addition, this cornering light function ensures premature illumination of the road ahead when changing direction at road junctions or driveways.
Over and above the outstanding level of security, the BMW X5 Security Plus also impresses with the highest degree of comfort, first-class handling and extremely sporty road performance. Thanks to its generous interior, its powerful eight-cylinder engine and intelligent four-wheel drive BMW xDrive, it is adequately equipped both for everyday traffic as well as for situations requiring fast and flexible response. The 4.8-liter V8 power unit of the BMW X5 Security Plus delivers an output of 261 kW/355 bhp and a maximum torque of 475 Nm achieved at an engine speed of 3,400 rpm. The BMW X5 Security Plus accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds and top speed is electronically limited to 180 km/h.
Thanks to its intelligent four-wheel drive system xDrive, the BMW X5 Security Plus is not restricted to driving on tarmac alone, but can also cope confidently with problematic off-road terrain. The cross-linking of the four-wheel drive with the stability control system DSC within the Integrated Chassis Management system (ICM) facilitates distribution of power that is optimally and precisely adapted to each driving situation. Taking into consideration the data supplied by the DSC sensors, iDrive transfers power at lightning speed to the wheels with the best traction.
The suspension featured by the BMW X5 Security Plus is perfectly adapted to the increased weight. For this purpose, specific suspension components such as springs and dampers have been employed and the software for suspension management has been adapted to the unique characteristics of a security vehicle. In order to further enhance superiority in demanding situations, the BMW X5 Security Plus features as standard a high-performance brake system, speed-dependent Active Steering and the Adaptive Drive system, comprising active anti-roll control and variable damper adjustment. In addition, the BMW X5 Security Plus boasts tyres with emergency running properties. This ensures that the tyres remain functional even after a total loss of pressure, e.g. after being shot at or after running over sharp or pointed objects. When the vehicle is partially loaded, they permit safe driving over a distance of around 150 kilometers at a speed of up to 80 km/h.
A further advantage of the protection concept available ex factory is the neutrally designed integration of all security components. Even to the practiced eye, security vehicles built by BMW can hardly be distinguished from corresponding production models. This does justice to customer demands for discretion and also provides passengers with a higher level of security.
At the same time BMW offers its customers comprehensive global support. This ranges from discreet consulting and all-round service to the supply of spare parts. All security vehicles are designed to facilitate maintenance and repair at regular BMW garages. The service also includes a company-owned pool comprising security and high-security vehicles.
Moreover, BMW provides special security vehicle driver training. These courses, which BMW has conducted for more than 20 years now, are offered at various grades, depending on the participants’ previous knowledge, and are held at several different locations worldwide. These training courses are conducted by highly qualified experts. The contents range from comprehensive theoretical tuition and practical vehicle handling to instruction on tactical behaviour.