The refreshed 2024 BMW X5 debuted earlier this year, and like the previous version, an armor-plated variant is available. Slated to make an in-person debut in September at the 2023 Munich Motor Show is the new BMW X5 Protection VR6. But we have the details of this bulletproof SUV available right now.
A key aspect of this special BMW is that it is not easily distinguishable from other X5s. In fact, there’s a sporty touch courtesy of the twin M bars in the front double kidney grille, M mirror caps in high-gloss black, BMW Individual roof rails in high-gloss Shadow Line, and the two pairs of exhaust pipes typical of the M exhaust system. In this respect, stealth is the first line of defense for the X5 Protection VR6.
Underneath the familiar skin, you’ll find molded high-strength steel plates shaped to fit the body in the area of the doors, side frame, roof, and bulkhead. There is also an armored trunk divider and an aluminum underbody shrapnel shield. Should rounds or shrapnel penetrate the fuel tank, a special casing can seal punctures to prevent leaks. The X5 Protection VR6 meets VPAM ballistics requirements, but buyers can also choose optional underbody armor and additional roof armor for more protection.
The rest is pretty much standard-issue 2024 BMW X5 in M60i xDrive trim That means a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 handles power under the hood, working with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to generate 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. BMW doesn’t share the X5 Protection VR6’s weight, though the extra mass does have an effect on performance. The sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) takes 5.9 seconds – a significant drop from the M60i’s 4.2-second time. This matches the performance of the previous armored-up X5, as does the top speed of 131 mph. However, the suspension and braking systems are retuned to handle the heavy armor.
Despite its rugged construction, driver and passengers will find a luxurious interior decked out with the new X5’s 14.9-inch infotainment screen and 12.3-inch driver display. BMW’s four-zone climate control is standard, as are sport seats wrapped in Sensafin leather. You won’t find five-passenger seating though; BMW states the X5 Protection VR6 is a dedicated four-seater “for comfort and safety.”
Other unique features of the Protection VR6 include an intercom system for communicating with people outside, optional LED flashers in the radiator grille, rear flashers, roof flashers with a horn system, and a roof antenna with an additional receiver for digital radio. BMW also offers a special driver instruction program that provides “training in tactical behavior.”
BMW has a dedicated portion of its X5 manufacturing plant Spartanburg, North Carolina set up to build the armored SUV. Pricing information isn’t available just yet, but initial deliveries should begin in February 2024.