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BMW X5 Protection VR6 handles grenades, drone attacks

The bulletproof crossover is aimed at customers in Africa, Russia and South America.

BMW has revealed the X5 Protection VR6, adding armor to the luxury crossover.

The company aimed to make the bulletproof model nearly indistinguishable from the standard X5 when viewed from the outside, minimizing the chance that a potential attacker can easily identify the vehicle as likely to contain a VIP.

The automaker claims the 'holistic' integration of molded armor-plating components and security glazing results in more effective protection than retrofits installed by third parties. Engineers have addressed internal weaknesses, such as body joints and transitions between the body and glass.

The VR6 protection standard requires the X5 to protect occupants against various firearms including the popular AK-47, along with German DM51 hand grenades exploding directly under the vehicle and up to 33 pounds of TNT detonated at a distance of 13 feet.

Naturally, BMW offers a few customization options for buyers with particularly extreme security concerns. The X5 Protection can be ordered with additional underbody reinforcement to withstand the more powerful Swiss HG85 fragmentation grenade, while an extensively reinforced roof has been tested against simulated drone attacks with a half pound of C4 wrapped in 500 shrapnel fragments.such as ball bearings.

The suspension and brakes have been upgraded to better align the armored X5's handling characteristics with the standard production model despite a much heavier curb weight. The company claims the Protection VR6 is the most powerful vehicle in its niche segment, motivated by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 530 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque,

The heavy crossover can get to 62 mph in just 5.9 seconds, just under a full second slower than the standard X5 xDrive40i yet quicker than an unarmored Toyota Land Cruiser.

BMW hopes to sell the X5 Protection VR6 to private individuals in regions such as South America, Africa or Russia.

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