Armoured vehicle protection may sound like a foreign concept to most car owners but, in high-risk countries where hijacking has become the norm – places such as South Africa, Brazil, and even parts of the USA and Europe – it’s become imperative for high-profile individuals to stay safe. BMW’s latest offering, the i7 Protection, combines the design ethos of the 7 Series with advanced protection levels, culminating in the world’s first-ever protection saloon with an all-electric drive system
The BMW i7 Protection is built to the highest standards, utilising class-VR9 protection based on the internationally recognised test benchmarks of Germany’s Vereinigung der Prüfstellen für Angriffshemmende Materialien und Konstruktionen (Association of Test Laboratories for Attack-Resistant Materials and Constructions – VPAM, for short). The certification runs tests that follow guidelines for Bullet Resistant Vehicles (BRV 2009) with regard to ballistic resistance and the guidelines for Explosive Resistant Vehicles (ERV 2010) and PAS 300 with regard to blast resistance.
The BMW i7 Protection can be tailored to suit the individual with custom options that include a fresh-air supply system, a fire extinguishing system, flashing lights, radio transceivers and flag poles for use when the car is on official duty.
The glass meets the criteria for VPAM 10 classification, which represents the highest level of protection for civilian protection vehicles. The armoured body of the new BMW 7 Series Protection can also be upgraded to offer VPAM 10 protection (the whole vehicle is subjected to ballistic and blast tests) as an option.
Fast, despite the furious armour plating
The BMW i7 Protection saloon makes use of two electric motors – one at the front axle and one at the rear – the combination of which provides an electrified all-wheel-drive that’s good for 544hp (400kW) and 745 Nm (549 lb-ft). As a result, power delivery is instant and the advanced traction delivery through all for wheels makes for superior acceleration and dynamics. The sprint figure speaks for itself: 0-100mph in 9 seconds while topping out at an electronically limited 99mph. While this may not sound too exhilarating to the speed demons among us, the i7 Protection could weigh anywhere from four to five tonnes making those figures all the more impressive.
Integral Active Steering
The new BMW i7 Protection and new BMW 7 Series Protection are the first and only protection vehicles in the segments to be fitted with Integral Active Steering. In a nutshell, this dynamic configuration allows for a degree of rear-wheel steering, reducing the turning circle and improving the car’s dynamic ability through high-speed corners. The vehicle also benefits from lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels that are two-fold in application: not only do they reduce the vehicle’s unsprung weight but they also enable the use of a particularly powerful braking system.
Model-specific security functions
The saloon is also fitted with the latest generation of BMW iDrive based on BMW Operating System 8.5 complete with the BMW Curved Display, which is operational via BMW iDrive. They can be activated and controlled in full using the touchscreen capability of the control display.
There’s also a handy – albeit optional – camera-based additional interior mirror, which shows the image feed from the Reversing Assist Camera in the control display. A standard-fitted intercom system allows the car’s occupants to communicate effectively with people on the outside without having to open doors or windows.
The BMW i7 Protection will be built at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, and will make a public debut at the IAA Mobility 2023 international motor show in Munich. The first deliveries are set to roll out in December 2023.