Thankfully, for those in need of speed, BMW also offers the V8-powered 7-Series with ballistic protection
September 4, 2023 at 07:37
We have updated this article with live photographs of the BMW i7 Protection during its global debut at the Munich Motor Show, taking place from September 5th to 10th, 2023. Explore our comprehensive coverage of the event here.
BMW unveiled the armored Protection versions of the 7-Series and the i7 at the Munich Motor Show, with the latter being the first vehicle of its kind with an electric powertrain. Both models offer the same class VR9 ballistic protection, ensuring that the passengers will make it out of difficult situations safe and sound.
Photos Baldauf / ten Brink for Carscoops
The Bavarian firm has a long history of armored vehicles, with the Protection trims “factored” into the development of the new 7-Series and i7. From the exterior, the first thing you notice, besides the optional flashing lights and flag poles designed for officials, is the model-specific 20-inch alloy wheels. Those are compatible with the “particularly powerful braking system” and are shod in specially-developed Michelin PAX run-flat tires (255-740 R510).
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There are no other exterior changes between the armored and the standard models as the automaker wanted to keep a “low-profile presence” in public areas. In that context, the Protection variants come standard with the M Sport package and can be specified with numerous personalization options from BMW Individual.
This Is A Safe Place
BMW 7-Series Protection
Both armored sedans can withstand attacks from firearms and explosives thanks to a protective armor steel structure called BMW Protection Core. This shell is combined with additional armor for the underbody, thick safety glass for the windows, and a self-sealing casing for the fuel tank. The company says that occupants are safe from “drone attacks with explosive charges” and from grenades. Furthermore, optional features like a fresh-air supply system or a fire extinguisher with automatic and manual discharge will provide extra support in specific attack scenarios.
BMW focused its efforts on retaining the spaciousness and comfort of the flagship’s interior, despite the thicker shell and without compromising the technology equipment. The standard intercom system allows the driver and the passengers to communicate with people outside the vehicle without having to open the doors or windows. It comprises exterior microphones on the mirrors, an exterior speaker, additional speakers inside the cabin, a microphone in the headliner, and another optional microphone on the center console. On a side note, the 28-speaker 1,265-Watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System comes standard so you can enjoy some top-quality music while getting rescued.
More: The New Mercedes S 680 Guard 4MATIC Is A Luxurious Armored Vehicle
For privacy, rear occupants can use the electrically operated sunblinds on the side windows with a semi-closed “spy position”, while the roller for the rear glass is specific to the Protection models. The doors have motorized assistance for opening and closing, although this doesn’t sound so reassuring when you’re in a rush to lock yourself in the car. The standard electric heating function for the windscreen and side windows will keep them clear in low temperatures and the optional model-specific pre-heating will make sure the cabin is warm in cold climates.
Among the options that sound fitting for the armored model is the additional interior mirror that is constantly showing the feed from the reversing camera so you know who is following you even if you can’t see through the rear glass. We would also get the optional cool box between the rear seats because a refreshing drink is all you need to cool down during a car chase.
V8-Powered And Fully Electric Options
BMW i7 Protection
The first BMW i7 Protection is based on the xDrive 60 trim but uses components from the M70 xDrive. The dual electric motors produce a combined 536 hp (400 kW / 544 PS) and 745 Nm (549 lb-ft) of torque which of course is transmitted to all four wheels. Unfortunately, all the extra weight of the armor has a notable effect on performance. The Protection i7 accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 9 seconds (instead of 4.7) and has an electronically limited top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) instead of 240 km/h (149 mph). BMW didn’t mention the range figure, which is expected to be far worse than the lighter non-armored i7. Those drawbacks could make the EV less desirable than the V8-powered equivalent, despite the advantage of zero emissions.
On the other hand, the BMW 7-Series Protection comes fitted with the mild-hybrid turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine producing 523 hp (390 kW / 530 PS) and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque and exclusively mated to the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. While less powerful than the i7 Protection, the ICE-powered model is both quicker and faster, accelerating from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 6.6 seconds and reaching a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph).
No matter the powertrain choice, the Protection models feature a specific chassis setup adapted to the extra weight with a focus on ride comfort and “controllable” handling while the Integral Active Steering system comes standard making them more agile.
Production of the BMW 7-Series and i7 Protection will commence at the Dingolfing plant next to the standard variants with the first deliveries expected in December. Note that the BMW i7 Protection is exclusively available in Europe so non-EU customers will have to settle with the 7-Series Protection. For those interested in becoming a professional driver of an armored BMW, the automaker offers special training courses including theory sessions, practical control exercises, and tactical response training.