BMW Concept X5 Security Plus Debuts at 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show | Edmunds

BMW Concept X5 Security Plus Debuts at 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show

2013 Frankfurt Auto Show

2013 Frankfurt Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • The BMW Concept X5 Security Plus, an armored vehicle designed to repel "violent assault, kidnapping and organized crime," debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.
  • The BMW Concept X5 Security Plus features protection against assault-rifle fire and other attacks.
  • The audience for the armored X5 ranges from "risk-exposed private individuals to prominent public figures," said BMW.

FRANKFURT, Germany — The BMW Concept X5 Security Plus, an armored vehicle designed to repel "violent assault, kidnapping and organized crime", debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.

BMW says the Concept X5 Security Plus, which doesn't look much different from a standard X5, offers "all-round protection" for public figures and other people with "enhanced security needs."

The primary markets for the vehicle will be South America, Africa and Russia, areas where security is often an important factor in purchasing decisions. This is the third generation of a security version based on the regular model. Pricing was not announced. BMW said the concept fulfills the requirements of protection level VR6.

To achieve this level of protection, which is said to defend up to four occupants from attack by an AK-47 assault rifle (the world's most popular firearm), the Concept X5 Security Plus employs an armored passenger cell made from steel structure and panels. To further ensure against penetration by bullets or fragments, the cell features sealed joints in critical areas like door openings and areas between body panels.

BMW says the security glass developed for VR6-level protection is also resistant to attack by blunt weapons, with polycarbonate coating on the inside to guard against flying splinters.

A twin-turbocharged, 450-horsepower V8 gasoline engine powers the Concept X5 Security Plus through BMW's xDrive AWD system, which the company says is sufficient to help it get out of "difficult situations, both on and off surfaced roads."

To cope with the additional weight of the security features, the chassis, brakes and electronic management systems have all been beefed up, which BMW says keeps the performance of the Concept X5 Security Plus at the level of a standard X5. To ensure that drivers are up to the same level of performance, BMW offers training programs in the correct handling and operation of high-security vehicles.

Interior appointments and comfort features are similar to other X5 models, but BMW's Intelligent Emergency Call system is standard in the Concept X5 Security Plus. When activated, either manually or automatically when an airbag is deployed, this system contacts the BMW Call Center and relays the vehicle's exact position and other data, so that emergency help can be summoned.

The rest of the BMW ConnectedDrive suite of products is optional, offering additional Internet-based and cellular communications features. Other noteworthy options include sirens, roof beacons and LED strobe lights in the grill. Because, although BMW notes that the normal appearance of the Concept X5 Security Plus is itself a safety feature, there may be times when occupants wish to call attention to themselves.

In the event that the VR6-level protection of the Concept X5 Security Plus is just a bit much, BMW also makes the BMW X5 Security. That model meets the requirements of protection-level VR4, which the company says will provide "reliable protection against general street crime."

Of course, if even more protection is required, other vehicles from BMW and its competitors can ramp up the security features. The Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard Pullman, for instance, is designed to protect against hand grenades and other explosive devices, in addition to military-style assault weapons. It also has a self-sealing fuel tank, run-flat tires, and an automatic fire-extinguishing system.

Need more luxury with your security? Rolls-Royce offers the Phantom Armoured, which sports the usual compliment of interior comfort features merged with high-tech protection. The body panels are made of special steel combined with the latest fiber composites for resistance to high-velocity assault-rifle bullets, and the passenger compartment has additional protection in the form of a polycarbonate cocoon.

Jaguar, Range Rover and several other manufacturers build their own versions of high-security vehicles, up to and including the 2009 Cadillac limousine currently in service by the President of the United States. Not surprisingly, no one is telling exactly what kind of protection has been built into that car.

Edmunds says: The BMW Concept X5 Security Plus sounds like a good choice for those who need a high level of protection in a vehicle.

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