BMW i7 Protection: the world's first-ever armoured EV

Jet Sanchez
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BMW has unveiled its first-ever armoured electric vehicle (EV), the i7 Protection. It comes alongside the ICE-powered 7-Series Protection. Both versions come with VR9 ballistic protection, one of the highest levels of vehicle defense against ballistics and explosives.

Like many of its past vehicles, BMW developed the i7 and 7-Series to accommodate armouring. Added features on both models include exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin PAX run-flat tires, optional flashing lights, and mini flagpoles designed for executives and public officials.

While the armoured i7 and 7-Series get the M Sport package as standard, there are no other exterior changes. BMW wanted to achieve a “low-profile presence” to help the vehicles blend in with regular cars. However, BMW Individual offers a myriad of customisation options for each model.

How do the armoured sedans protect from ballistics and explosives? The BMW Protection Core, a hardy armor steel structure, combines with additional underbody armouring, thick window safety glass, and a self-sealing fuel tank casing.

BMW says this can protect occupants from grenades and “drone attacks with explosive charges." The available fire extinguisher and fresh-air supply system can also ensure safety from fires and hazardous outside environments.

As for the interior, BMW has maintained the spaciousness of the i7 and 7-Series while adding some new features. An intercom system allows occupants to communicate with the outside world through interior and exterior microphones and speakers. There's also a 28-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System.

Other notable features include electrically operated sunblinds, motorized doors, and electric windshield and window heating for optimal visiblity in low-temperature environments.

The first-ever BMW i7 Protection borrows from the xDrive 60 and M70 xDrive, equipped with dual electric motors that generate 400 kW and 745 Nm of torque. It sends power to all four wheels, but the added weight from the armouring hampers performance considerably.

The i7 Protection goes from 0 to 100 km/h in a paltry 9 seconds before reaching its electronically limited top speed of 160 km/h. Its weight will also likely negatively affect range, which BMW has not disclosed.

The relatively limited range might draw buyers closer to the V8-equipped 7-Series, but that remains to be seen.

In any case, the BMW i7 Protection and 7-Series will make their global debuts at the IAA Mobility Show in Munich this September, with first deliveries expected before the end of the year. The i7 Protection will also be exclusive to Europe for now, so other parts of the world will have to settle for the ICE version.

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