BMW i7 Protection: Finally An EV For People Who Might Get Shot At

Bond villains can now safely go electric.

byNico DeMattia|
BMW News photo


BMW wants to bring electric vehicles to the masses, and that now includes people who might occasionally be in unfriendly crosshairs. The German automaker is no stranger to bulletproof cars but this is the brand's first fully electric one and it's capable of withstanding both gunfire and explosives. It's called the BMW i7 Protection.

The concept of most armored cars is pretty simple—take a normal car and add armor. However, BMW did something a bit different for the new 7 Series and i7 Protection models. It actually started by giving the cars a unique new body structure, made from unique hot-formed steel alloys, called the BMW Protection Core. Then came armor for the doors, roof, underbody, and safety glass, all of which combine to give the bulletproof i7 VR9-class protection, as rated by the German Association of Test Laboratories for Attack-Resistant Materials and Construction (VPAM).

With a VR9 rating, the BMW i7 Protection is said to be able to withstand 7.62x51 mm gunfire and its PAS 300 blast resistance is said to protect it from explosive drone attacks and hand grenades. The glass is even said to withstand 7.62x54 R ammunition, which gives it a VPAM 10 rating, the highest civilian armored rating available.

The i7 and 7 Series Protection models get specific 20-inch alloy wheels with bespoke 255-740 R510 Michelin PAX tires. PAX tires have a rigid ring on the wheel's rim that helps the car keep driving in case of a blowout. The bulky new BMW will be able to go up to 50 mph, even with a complete loss of tire pressure.

As you can imagine, all of that armor makes the BMW i7 Protection considerably heavier than the standard car, which is already 5,917 pounds, but there's no official curb weight listed. Despite that added weight, its battery and powertrain are the same as the i7 xDrive60. So it still packs dual electric motors, making 536 horsepower (400 kW) and 549 lb-ft of torque. Range is certainly going to be lower than the standard i7 xDrive60's 318 miles, as its 105.7 kWh battery pack is unchanged. Performance also takes a massive hit from all the weight, with its 0-60 mph time rising from 4.5 seconds to 9.0 seconds flat. Its top speed is just 99 mph.

The gas-powered 7 Series Protection uses BMW's latest 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, with mild-hybrid assistance, to make 530 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The piston-powered version is quicker, likely due to being lighter without a heavy battery pack, getting from 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds and having a top speed of 130 mph.

In addition to all of its armor and protection, both the 7 Series and i7 Protection models have built-in intercoms, so they can communicate with the outside world from the safety of their car. They also have horizontal shades that extend from the B-pillar back to the C-pillar, to black out the rear of the cabin. Those same shades can open just 10 centimeters at the push of a button so rear passengers can take a quick peak outside. The rear window has its own specific shade as well. And because BMW Protection buyers aren't driving themselves around, BMW offers driver training courses for their chauffeurs.

Depending on your specific situation, BMW can also tailor the protection to your needs. It can be equipped with a fresh air supply system, automatic and manual fire suppression systems, flashing lights, radio transceivers, and anything else customers might need.

Don't think it's all business and no pleasure, though. Both cars still get all of the luxury you'd expect from a 7 Series or i7—the same 28-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, drinks cooler, and enough ambient lighting to host a rave. How else are you supposed to relax after taking an explosive drone attack and hails of gunfire? BMW claims the added armor only has a minor effect on interior space, too, but doesn't provide specific figures.

If you want a BMW i7 Protection, you need to live east of the Atlantic, as BMW is only offering it in Europe. Outside of Europe, you'll have to stick with gas power. Regardless of your powertrain, BMW's newest bulletproof luxury car is its most advanced yet, which should keep politicians and Bond villains safer than ever.

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