Armored BMW X5 Protection is V8-powered and bulletproof

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BMW recently unveiled an armored version of the 7 Series tailored to the needs of at-risk individuals. It's capable of stopping armor-piecing bullets, but you're largely out of luck if your enemies chase you off the pavement. That's where the armored X5 Protection comes in.

Due out at the 2023 edition of the Munich auto show, the updated X5 Protection offers a VR6 protection rating, meaning it can protect its occupants from bullets fired by an AK-47 assault rifle. BMW notes that it planned to release the armor-plated model when it began designing the current-generation X5 so the protective equipment wasn't slapped on as an afterthought; it's neatly integrated into the design. Forward thinking allowed BMW to build a bullet-proof X5 that looks almost exactly like the regular-production model when viewed from the outside.

And yet, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. BMW added sections of high-strength steel to the doors, the side frame, the roof, and the bulkhead, bulletproof glass, an armored partition between the trunk and the passenger compartment, and an aluminum splinter guard to the underbody. If that's not enough, buyers can order extended underbody armor and additional armored panels on the roof at an extra cost.

You're wrong if you're thinking a well-aimed shot can pierce the fuel tank and quickly put an end to a high-speed chase: the tank seals itself if it's punctured to avoid a loss of fuel. BMW engineers also made several chassis modifications to help offset the weight added by the armor.

For the most part, the interior is standard X5 fare. The occupants enjoy the same amount of space and the same level of luxury as they would in a non-armored X5, though the Protection model is exclusively offered with four seats, and the driver faces the BMW Curved Display setup that consists of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch display for the iDrive 8.5 infotainment system. The list of standard features includes soft-close doors, leather upholstery, heated front sport seats, ambient lighting, and a four-zone automatic climate control system. The idea wasn't to make the passengers feel like they're riding in a tank. Options range from flag poles to massaging front seats.

Power comes from a twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V8 that works with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to develop 530 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the engine sends the X5 Protection from zero to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds.

The updated BMW X5 Protection is scheduled to enter production in February 2024. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but it's likely of little interest to its target audience. Besides, the company claims that the X5 Protection is the best-selling model in its relatively small segment.

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