BMW SA will introduce one X5 Security model and two 7 Series High Security derivates on the South African market in July.
BMW SA will introduce one X5 Security model and two 7 Series High Security derivates on the South African market in July next year.
The Munich-based manufacturer recently unveiled three armoured BMW models: the X5 and 3-Series Security and the 7 Series High Security. The beefed-up Security Beemers come equipped to defy gunfire and fire attacks, with glass and metal able to resist up to .44 calibre bullets.
Door joints and sills, cable ducts, the suspension system and chassis have all been strengthened, and run-flat tyres, siren and "assault alarm" have been fitted on the X5 Security. The occupants of the vehicles can talk to the outside world via a microphone.
The High Security 7 Series comes with all the shielding and alarm gear of the 330i- and X5 Security, but adds more underbody cladding and will withstand attack from not just bullets, but explosives too. The armoured Seven can also start up via remote control, has an emergency "fresh-air" function (for when the car is attacked with toxic gas) and a fire-extinguishing system. There's also "an emergency exit through the front windscreen" in case the doors malfunction.
As is the case with Mercedes-Benz's MB-Guard division, owners and chauffeurs are given special training in the correct operation of the armoured BMWs, including car control in "critical driving conditions". Similarly, BMW offers a "buy back" service for Security models that are up to seven years old.
"Following a thorough technical inspection at BMW's Dingolfing Plant, they are either sold or go into BMW's car pool. Cars from the Security car pool are then made available for potential customers throughout the world," a BMW spokesman said.
"BMW SA will launch a Security-spec X5 4,4i and High Security versions of the 745i and 760 Li in July next year," BMW SA spokesman Clynton Yon told CARtoday.com. "The facelift of the X5 (featured on the site in September) will be launched in February".
Before the recent launch of the new 5 Series, BMW SA offered the 540i Protection which featured carbon fibre panels and polycarbonate glazing armour against handgun shots. It had a two-way communication system with hand microphones, allowing passengers to communicate with someone outside the vehicle without opening the windows.
The model also had the option of wheels with a tyre reinforcement ring that allows the driver to continue at a reduced speed even if the tyre carcasses have been destroyed.