BMW introduced the X5 High Security at the Moscow Motor Show in late 2014, and it’s a perfect entry point into armoured car ownership. The X5 is one of the cheaper vehicles in the segment and has received the German government’s highly respected VR6 ballistic protection certification.
However, even with this certification, the X5 will only protect you from calibers up to .44 Magnum. For visits to seriously hostile territory you’ll want to make sure that you’ve specced the Security Plus option, which enables the X5 to withstand full on machine gun fire. Upon its release BMW stated that:
“The risk of armed violence and, and in particular, attack with automatic weapons like the AK-47 is a fact of everyday life for certain customers.”
We’ve seen bulletproof Range Rovers before, but this is the first official offering from Jaguar Land Rover. And as we all know, when JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) decides to build a vehicle, it doesn’t do things by half. The Sentinel has been designed to be class leader in the ever growing personal security sector, so no expense has been spared when kitting out this £400,000 machine.
Purely in terms of protection, the Sentinel is a far more advanced vehicle than the X5 High Security. It can withstand armour piercing incendiary bullets and grenades. In addition, SVO has added smart features to set the vehicle apart from others in the segment. If you’re trapped in the vehicle and unable to open the doors, for example, you can escape via an emergency hatch hidden under the rear seats.
To support the added weight of the car’s armour, everything has been upgraded. The adaptive suspension has been re-worked, and the standard brakes have been replaced with ventilated items. The vehicle allegedly retains the standard Range Rover’s off-road capabilities meaning that there’s always an escape route.
The S600 Guard is based on the W222 S-class and uses the original car’s creamy 6.0-litre V12 engine, which churns out 525bhp and 612lb ft of torque.
Under the skin, the Guard has the highest level of ballistic protection (VR9) that can withstand anything from M60 machine gun fire to explosive charges.
Because of the thickness of the windows, each one features a hydraulic lift to open and close them. The airmatic suspension has also been upgraded with advanced air springs in the front and sturdy steel springs in the rear. Larger brakes and callipers are also essential upgrades. Other features include a fire suppression system, blackout blinds, a panic alarm and police lights.
If the S600 doesn’t make enough of a statement for you, Toronto-based protection company INKAS can build you an armoured G63 AMG. Described by the company as a ‘tank on wheels’, its 544bhp G63 is the ultimate in high performance armoured vehicles. On the list of features are bullet proof glass, an outer skin which can resist a 7.62mm hand gun, and a grenade-proof floor.
The Knight XV is based on a Ford F550 chassis and features armour which can resist not just grenades, but full on bomb blasts. An emergency oxygen circulation system guards against chemical attack, while the optional drinks bar and cigar humidor ensures baller-like travel. Under the bonnet, you’ll find a 6.8-litre 550bhp V10 that hauls the XV’s 5.5-tonne weight.
The Huron is a beast of a machine and is powered by an 8.3-litre Paccar truck engine which is designed primarily for torque, not power.
The Huron can carry up to 16 passengers in comfort and can withstand the detonation of anti-personnel mines. What’s more, if the tyres get blown out, the Huron can still travel at a startling 87mph.
Dartz is a Latvian based company with eccentric tastes (on of its vehicles has an interior made from whale foreskins). However, its most recent unveiling hints that the manufacturer might be taking things a bit more seriously. Its Black Shark is based on the fairly sensible Mercedes-Benz GL and features either a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 or Mercedes’ more powerful twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12. The protection is equally as impressive with armour plating that is IED and sniper resistant, and the entire body is made from Kevlar and titanium to protect the vehicle from magnetic mines.
Adding to the extreme levels of awesomeness are explosive detectors, electrochromatic windows and electrified doorhandles. And if you so wish, you can spec your Black Shark with a champagne holder which features sterling silver flutes.