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Bulletproof BMW X5 revealed: Australian introduction possible

BMW’s X5 Protection VR6 looks much like any other X5, adding to its security through anonymity.

BMW has unveiled its X5 Protection VR6, a bulletproof and explosive-resistant version of its large luxury SUV aimed at high-end dignitaries and very important people.

Intended for markets such as South America, Russia and South Africa, CarsGuide understands a local introduction is possible due to the right-hand-drive production of the latter region, however, the sensitive nature of the X5 Protection VR6's clientele mean BMW Group Australia could not give a difinitive answer on whether orders have already been placed.

With the X5 as its basis, the Protection VR6 adds moulded high-strength steel armour-plating components across the doors, side frame, roof and front wall for a secure passenger compartment, while an underbody splinter shield, beefed-up luggage compartment and security glazing are also fitted.

Windows are also replaced with thickened safety glass measuring about 33mm in thickness that can endure “attacks by impact weapons”, according to BMW.

To prevent bullet and fragment penetration, the X5 Protection VR6 also features overlapping armour plating in key areas such as the door gaps, body-panel edges and bodywork joints.

As a result, BMW says the armoured-up X5 will withstand bullets fired from an AK-47, a blast from 15kg of TNT at a distance of four metres and DM51-grade hand grenades.

As an option, buyers can also upgrade the underbody reinforcement with fibre composite materials which can resist explosions from type HG85 grenades.

A stronger roof is also available that can weather a blast from 200 grams of C4.

In addition to the strengthened bodywork, the X5 Protection VR6 also sports a self-sealing fuel tank to prevent leaks after an attack and runflat tyres with reinforced sidewalls to stay mobile.

To shift the added weight, the X5 Protection VR6 is powered by a 390kW/750Nm 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 – the same as the M50i variant – which enables a zero to 100km/h time of 5.9 seconds.

Suspension components have also been beefed up to take the extra weight.

Inside, the Protection VR6 variant largely mirrors its X5 siblings with four-zone climate control, soft-close doors, 12.3-inch multimedia system and M leather steering wheel, but an intercom and attack alarm system is also added.

According to BMW, the high-security spec X5 was planned from the outset of development of the fourth-generation large SUV.

“The integration of the protective equipment rendering the new BMW X5 a security vehicle of the resistance class of VR6 was already taken into account during the development of the SAV,” it said.