BMW i7 Protection is first-ever armoured electric luxury sedan

Set to make its public debut at the IAA Mobility show in Munich next month, the BMW i7 Protection is a fortress on wheels delivering VR9 ballistic protection and also keeps its occupants safe from explosive-laden drones.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 12 Aug 2023 Views icon4081 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

BMW has revealed the i7 Protection, the first-ever armoured electric sedan along with the 7-Series, both delivering the same VR9 ballistic protection ensuring that the vehicle occupants remain safe in the event of difficult scenarios

Driven by two powerful electric motors, the BMW i7 Protection meets all the requirements of class VR9 protection, as does the new combustion-engine BMW 7 Series Protection.

Both models will be built at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing in an elaborate ‘craft manufacturing’ process. The two protection vehicles are set to make their public debut at the IAA Mobility 2023 international motor show in Munich (September 5-10), with deliveries to customers requiring special protection commencing in December 2023.

Protection from explosive-laden drone attacks

The integrated security concept of the new BMW i7 Protection and 7 Series Protection centres around the new BMW Protection Core, which sees the entire supporting structure for a protection sedan’s body constructed from armour steel for the first time. Its three-dimensionally engineered elements are all made of exceptionally resistant, hot-formed steel alloys. The BMW Protection Core forms a self-supporting protective cell, which is then combined with protection-spec doors, armouring for the underbody and safety glass.

The new protection models offer customised protection from attacks with firearms or explosives for at-risk individuals. The glass for the two models even protects against fire from calibre 7.62x54 R ammunition — a threat from the highest civilian resistance class VPAM 10 ammunition.

According to BMW, special armouring designed to offer maximum protection against explosives in particular has been used for both the roof and underbody of the two protection sedans. This means the occupants are also protected from drone attacks with explosive charges, for example, and from fragments dispersed by hand grenades on detonation.

Also on the list of standard security features for the BMW 7 Series Protection is a self-sealing fuel tank, with special casing that enables it to seal itself after being hit by a bullet to prevent any loss of fuel.

Staying safe 

When seen from the outside, just a few details distinguish the two protection sedans from a regular 7 Series Sedan with the M Sport package. Their discreet and largely inconspicuous appearance on public roads represents an additional safety factor for people requiring protection.

With the fully integrated protection concept, the levels of room and seating comfort in the front and rear hardly differ from those to be found inside a conventional BMW 7 Series Sedan in all key criteria.

The innovative protection concept used for the new i7 Protection and Series Protection has additionally allowed their weight to be optimised compared with predecessor models. Not only does the weight saving result in a considerably higher load-carrying capacity, it also has a particularly positive effect on the protection sedans’ handling abilities. This, as per BMW, translates into extremely precise handling control, excellent cornering dynamics and outstanding figures for acceleration and top speed.

The locally emission-free powertrain on board the i7 Protection comprises one electric motor at the front axle and another at the rear. The two electric motors together create an electric all-wheel-drive system with a combined output of up to 400 kW/544 hp and maximum combined torque of 745 Newton metres (549 lb-ft). The all-electric armoured sedan accelerates to 100kph from rest in 9.0 seconds (which would be seen to be the slower side compared to ICE models), while top speed is electronically limited to 160kph.

In comparison, the petrol-engine i7 Protection, which develops maximum output of 530 hp and peak torque of 750 Nm, accelerates from 0 to 100kph in 6.6 seconds and goes on to reach a top speed of 210kph.

Both these armoured electric and ICE 7 Series sedans come with chassis technology that has been modified and tuned for “superbly assured performance in any situation” and “precisely controllable handling, even when they are being driven hard, such as when escaping from an attack.”

Specially developed tyres and extensive driver assistance systems

Both armoured sedans are fitted with 20-inch model-specific light-alloy wheels shod with tyres specially developed and supplied by Michelin in the dimensions 255-740 R510. The large diameter of these tyres and the extremely high volume of air they hold enhance ride comfort, while the larger contact area benefits traction and driving stability. The PAX tyres have a runflat ring positioned on the wheel rim which allows the car to continue its journey at up to 80kph even in the event of a total loss of pressure.

In keeping with their status as protection vehicles, the new BMW i7 Protection and new BMW 7 Series Protection are equipped with an extensive selection of driver assistance systems. The functionality of this tech is focused on supporting professional chauffeurs with information and warnings, but without actively intervening to control the vehicle.

The highly advanced sensors developed for the new BMW 7 Series range and all of the cameras available for the luxury sedan are also fitted on the protection vehicles. These provide precise and detailed information on the area around the vehicle in all situations. The requisite data and images are supplied by e.g the parking view, Panorama View, Remote 3D View and BMW Drive Recorder functions included in the Parking Assistant Plus package. Also on hand are the alert functions of the front-collision warning, Crossroads Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Speed Limit Info systems.

With their wide-ranging standard and optional equipment features, the new protection sedans from BMW offer custom-spec protection in attack scenarios of various types. Both can be tailored precisely to any purpose, with items including a fresh-air supply system, a fire extinguisher with automatic and manual discharge, flashing lights, radio transceivers and flag poles for when the car is on official duty, plus other special customer-specific options.

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