The X5 Protection VR6, named in reference to its certified protection rating, is almost indistinguishable from the standard X5, but is clad all over in high-strength steel armour plating, which overlaps at each panel and trim gap to maximise coverage.
Underneath, a thick aluminium splinter shield protects the powertrain and floor from explosive devices such as hand grenades, while the standard X5’s windows have been replaced with 33mm thick, polycarbonate-reinforced glass.
The glazing features what BMW calls ‘post-blast protective technology’, which offers protection against secondary attacks in the wake of an explosion. Only the driver’s window is electric as standard, although an electric passenger window is an option.
The four-seat interior mirrors that of the standard X5 but features a number of additional security mechanisms not available on production cars. The luggage compartment partition, for example, is armoured and provides an additional layer of protection for rear seat passengers.
BMW claims the armoured X5 can protect occupants from a range of firearms, including the AK-47, and explosive blasts of up to 15kg from a distance of four metres. The firm has not said how much more the VR6 weighs than the standard X5.
An optional armoured roof panel can be specified as a means of protecting against drone or aircraft attacks.
The X5 Protection VR6 is powered by the same twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 found in the new X5 M50i and X7 M50i, producing 523bhp and 553lb ft. Mechanical changes are relatively minimal, but a self-sealing fuel tank, capable of automatically closing in the event of a puncture, replaces the standard unit.
With the extra weight of all the protective modifications, BMW says the VR6 will achieve 21mpg on the WLTP combined cycle. It will almost match its standard counterpart in terms of performancce, however, accelerating from 0-62mph in 5.9sec and on to an electronically limited top speed of 130mph.
Additional equipment fitted as standard to the VR6 includes an intercom system that uses microphones built into the door mirrors and roof, as well as an attack alarm that automatically locks the doors and windows.
Customers can specify optional equipment also available on the production X5, including active seat ventilation and a 360deg camera, with model-specific additions ranging from a roof-mounted light beacon to armour plating for the battery.