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Are there bulletproof cars in Australia? They might be more common than you think

It's not just the PM who gets around in an armoured passenger car here in Australia.

If great power brings great responsibility, then great wealth brings great danger - or something like that. Basically, being rich can be dangerous, especially if you're in politics.

That's why the President of the US has an armoured, bomb- and bulletproof car known as 'The Beast', the UK's PM gets around in a supercharged bullet-proof Range Rover, and even our own Albo is chauffeured in an armoured BMW 7 Series.

But they're not cars just anyone is able to pick up from the dealer. In fact, there are laws and regulations to make sure of that. But through the right channels, you can indeed have your own four-wheeled protection if you have the means.

Firstly, what does it take for a car to be made bulletproof? There are different classifications of protection ratings from different regions and organisations.

Two you might see commonly are 'BR' or just 'B', a European classification that relates to 'ballistics ratings' (e.g, level B7 is quite high), or 'VR' which is set by the Vereinigung der Prüfstellen für angriffshemmende - Materialien und Konstruktionen (VPAM) in Germany. Aka, the Office of the Association of Testing Centres for Attack-Resistant Materials and Construction.

In any case, a higher number indicates better protection, and while some cars are merely bullet-resistant or bulletproof, some are blast-proof and in some cases could keep on motoring after running over an explosive.

Incredibly thick glass, armour plating consisting of often secret combinations of materials, specially constructed run-flat tyres capable of being spiked or shot and still rolling, and even interior modifications are all fairly standard fare for this type of car.

Hypothetically there could soon be some 7 Series getting around on our roads with rather tough shells. Hypothetically there could soon be some 7 Series getting around on our roads with rather tough shells.

As mentioned, here in Australia the Prime Minister's car is a BMW 7 Series (now getting on in its years), which we would have to imagine is built to a high standard in terms of protection. Of course, we can't just call up the Federal Police and ask for details.

But recently, BMW revealed the newer version of Albo's getabout - an electric i7 'Protection' named for the brand's armoured car division, and a rival to the likes of Mercedes-Benz's S600 Guard. BMW also showed off a slightly less-bulletproof X5 Protection VR6 a couple of years ago.

Both brands even have a website section dedicated to their bulletproof car departments, and BMW even has one on its Australian website. You know what that means?

While BMW appears to have a very close relationship with the Australian Government - it's not only the provider of the PM's limo, but also of many of the Commonwealth cars that ferry around VIPs and dignitaries - the company does have a means to contact its head office for BMW Protection enquiries.

What does it take for a car to be made bulletproof? What does it take for a car to be made bulletproof?

That means - hypothetically, because we can't actually find out and defeat the purpose of bulletproof cars being relatively subtle - there could soon be some 7 Series getting around on our roads with rather tough shells.

The 7 Series Protection comes in electric i7 or twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8-powered form, both rated for near-top VR9 protection. The former takes 9.0 seconds to get to 100km/h and is limited to 160km/h, while the V8 takes 6.6 seconds and tops out at 210km/h.

BMW doesn't exactly drop a bunch of information regarding the car's structural make-up, but its press release says it's built around a "self-supporting body structure made from armour steel" with "additional armouring for the underbody and roof and armoured glass".

It doesn't come with active driver safety that intervenes, as drivers of these vehicles are trained specifically, plus there are other features needed for the heavy 7 like its "motorised assistance for opening and closing the doors".

Press release says it’s built around a “self-supporting body structure made from armour steel” with “additional armouring for the underbody and roof and armoured glass”. Press release says it’s built around a “self-supporting body structure made from armour steel” with “additional armouring for the underbody and roof and armoured glass”.

However, it does come with a small fridge in the rear, a 1265-watt amp and 28-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system, though not the 31.3-inch 'BMW Theatre Screen' available in regular variants of the new 7 Series.

Would you know one if you saw it? Aside from the different tyres, perhaps not - which makes their secrecy even more closely guarded. They're out there, but you can't just roll into a dealership and pick one up.