If you think your daily travel from home to work is brutal enough, you may not realize that in certain places in the world, there are cars that must have more than just cup holders and autonomous cruise control system.
One of those cars is the BMW X5 Protection VR6, the armored sibling of the BMW X5 crossover. “VR6” indicates the level of protection that the car has. The beast is strong enough to keep its passengers safe from being hit by AK-47 bullets or even lateral blasts of up to 15 kg of TNT from a distance of four meters , said BMW. And it can still be tougher with additional equipment that will allow it to face various other threats, including drone harassment.
On the outside, it fools the enemy by looking like an ordinary X5, but the Protection VR6 actually features well-molded, high-strength steel sheets in its roof, body sides, doors, and firewall. The windshield, rear window, and side windows have been replaced by laminated safety glass 1.1 inches thick. Designed to fend off attacks from handheld weapons, the glass also has an internal polycarbonate layer for effective splinter protection.
At the bottom, BMW claims the crossover is safe from a grenade explosion. And again, its toughness can still be improved with extra material. If customers are worried about being targeted by drones, they can also option the car with a reinforced roof that will protect them from such attacks. Up to 200 grams of C4 explosive can be endured by the roof, the German automaker claims.
The X5 is even safer when it’s driven, as it could just move fast to avoid attacks instead of withstanding them. Under the hood, the car is motivated by BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that cranks out 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, which is as potent as the X5 M50i’s powerhouse. With that output, zero to 62 mph can be cleared in 5.9 seconds before the crossover reaches an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph. Although coming with more grunt, the X5 Protection VR6 accelerates slower than its standard counterpart due to it being heavier.
The crossover’s tires are specifically designed to allow continuous run even after a total loss of pressure, helping it to become a good runner under attack. To prevent the fuel tank from spilling, BMW gives the tank the ability to self-sealing. Meanwhile, the engine is backed by a system that keeps it on even after a crash, enabling quick getaways. Some of the features found in the regular X5 are also present in the armored vehicle. Among them are active roll stabilization and four-wheel steering that give the car good handling.
The X5 can function as a bunker in an emergency. There’s an intercom that allows its four passengers to talk to the outside world. An incoming attack will trigger the vehicle’s auto locking system which automatically closes the windows, locks the door, flashes the lights, and makes a loud sound at the push of a button.
Despite all those features that make you feel like in a world war, the Protection VR6 isn’t a vehicle that will carry you without comfort and entertainment. In fact, it has an infotainment system with a 12.3-inch display and digital assistant, in addition to four-zone climate control and massaging seats. Pricing is what BMW doesn’t want to publicly talk about, unfortunately; but considering the toughness of the Protection VR6, it has to be more costly than the $83,145 X5 M50i.