This armoured car is BMW’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz Guard.
BMW has been in the high-security game for about 45 years, and this 7 Series Protection is the latest from that stable. Soon to be available in India with prices rising far above the standard sixth-gen 7 Series’ Rs 1.70 crore (ex-showroom), the Protection is meant to transport those who need the highest level of, well, protection, from foreign dignitaries and heads of nations to the CEOs, MDs and directors of multi-billion dollar corporations. We had the opportunity to get a rather close look at the new 7 Series (also called the G73), and here’s what we found.
- 7 Series Protection looks like the standard car
- Is unique thanks to ‘BMW Protection Core’ tech
- Overall, it is rated at VR9, but glass is VPAM10
BMW 7 Series Protection: exterior
Looking at the 7 Series Protection, there isn’t much that separates it from the standard model, and that is deliberate. After all, this car is meant to protect, not attract attention. Which isn’t to say the model won’t grab eye balls; the 7 Series and its Protection counterpart look large and in-charge. There are a few obvious bits that make the Protection standard apart – one is the little flag-holders on the front fender, and the other are the new 20-inch alloy wheels that are shod in special Michelin PAX tyres. Even in the event of a flat, these 255-740 R 510 AC tyres will allow the driver to go 30km, at speeds of up to 80 kph.
The 7 Series Protection can be had with six exterior colour options – Oxide Grey, Brooklyn Grey, Pure Grey, Deep Grey, Black Sapphire and Aventurine Red.
BMW 7 Series Protection: interior
Once you open the door, you’ll realise just how heavy they are – each door weighs about 200kg – however, opening and closing them isn’t as difficult as one might think as BMW has installed motors that help ease of access considerably. Another surprising aspect is that despite all that armour and thick glass, space on the inside isn’t compromised in any significant way. And that’s thanks to what BMW calls its Protection Core architecture, which makes the G73 unique.
Unlike most high-security vehicles, the 7 Series Protection has an in-house developed core of 10mm steel, onto which, the armoured body panels and bullet-proof glass are added on. The multi-layer technology secures occupants against even rifle and sniper fire from 72mm rounds. In addition, BMW provides underbody and roof protection that can withstand more than one hand grenade. While the entire car is been given VR9 protection rating, the glass used is of an even higher VPAM 10 rating.
BMW 7 Series Protection: features
Other features that help secure that rating include the self-sealing fuel tank, automatic door closing functions and converting each door into an emergency exit. One can even opt to include oxygen tanks in the cabin to help protect against gas attacks. Buyers can choose from four interior trims – Oak High Gloss, Brown Limewood, Carbon Fibre, and Ash Grain Metallic – all get ‘Merino’ black upholstery.
While the infotainment system is the same one seen on the standard 7 Series, the Protection gets additional protection-relevant functions with ALEA, an integrated UI that can further help secure passengers. Although select ADAS features are also available, these are limited to warnings and alerts – BMW wants to ensure that the driver doesn’t experience any active interference from the system when a quick getaway is needed.
BMW 7 Series Protection: engine, dynamics
Speaking of quick, the 7 Series Protection is powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol mill that produces 530hp and 750Nm of torque, and is mated to an 8-speed auto that send power to all four wheels – it’s why BMW calls it the 760i Protection xDrive VR9. Combined with the fact that the Protection Core tech has ensured a weight reduction of about 200kg over the previous-gen model, the new 7 Series Protection is capable of sprinting to 100kph in 6.6 seconds (just about 2 seconds slower than the standard 760i), and goes on to hit a top speed of 210kph.
Despite the weight reduction, the G73 is still about 1-tonne heavier than its standard counterpart, weighing in at about 3.9 tonnes. BMW also claims that the Protection Core tech has ensured that the sedan’s rigidity has been maintained, thereby keeping as much of the 7 Series’ dynamism intact. Rear wheel steering comes as standard to help in that department as well. Adaptive suspension at the front and rear also provides aid in that regard.
BMW 7 Series Protection: driver training
To make sure that the driver knows exactly how to handle this 5.4m-long, 3.9-tonne sedan in an emergency situation, BMW has a training programme that certifies drivers. At the training centre, chauffeurs are taught various evasive high-speed manoeuvring strategies and tactics, which are meant to ensure occupant safety.
BMW 7 Series Protection: price, production
Such is the effort taken to churn out one BMW 7 Series Protection at the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, that the brand can only produce four units a week. Considering its highly specialised use, naturally, prices are stratospheric – BMW executives say that it’s almost like making a Rolls-Royce. The 7 Series Protection is so customisable (in terms of security features) that there isn’t exactly a base price for it. However, one can expect to shell out at least Rs 4 crore per model, if one is in the market for more than one.
BMW also offers the X5 Protection VR6 as an escort vehicle (for bodyguards) and is looking to expand its Protection portfolio in India.