Check Out BMW’s Explosive Training Camp for Armored Vehicle Drivers

Controlling a vehicle weighed down with bullet, crash, and explosion protection is hard work.

byKristin V. Shaw|
Car driving into a wall of fire


If you watch enough Jason Bourne and James Bond movies, you’ll find yourself imagining what it would be like to be behind the wheel in a daring escape. Stunt drivers don’t get nearly enough credit for those scenes, but it’s the real-life professional drivers who have to evade explosions, evade roadblocks, and navigate roads in pitch darkness. They're the real hardcore motorists.

Add bullet-resistant armoring to the vehicle, and special protection drivers must be the best at what they do in order to control these heavy cars when their clients’ lives depend on it. BMW has a special school in Germany to help prepare them for extreme situations on a former military airfield, and it includes an array of pyrotechnics, pylons, and simulated attacks.


BMW offers a two-day course, starting with the basics of driving physics, driving technique, and tactical knowledge on the first day. That includes evasive maneuvers, emergency braking, and fiery explosions on a winding forest road in a heavyweight bulletproof car. Day two adds the infamous J-turn that you often see in the movies, which is a move that quickly transitions from reverse to drive without losing speed.

The German brand says participants also learn "anticipatory driving and the ability to maintain a perfect overview even under stress." Being "perfect" is a tall order, but if you’re driving a high-profile celebrity or political figure around, I guess that’s what it takes. While the course itself sounds like fun, driving in those conditions for real would be terrifying.

Take a look at the description: “Pyrotechnic effects, night-time ambushes and crash scenarios with significant bodywork damage also test the mental strength of the training participants. They learn how to control an armored vehicle under extreme conditions during high-speed pace car laps on the race track.”

On top of that, drivers take a BMW X5 Protection VR6 to an off-road course to practice navigating steep inclines, ruts, sand, and rocks with only two wheels in contact with the surface. Really, the driver training course is the icing on the cake; these vehicles are made with underbelly armor to protect the occupants inside from the effects of guns, grenades, and more.

Take that, Cybertruck.

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