Introducing the 2024 BMW X5 VR6: A Fortified M60i with Intercom

It’s only been a few weeks since the BMW 7 Series / i7 Protection was revealed. And another armoured vehicle is already stepping into the spotlight. The X5 Protection VR6, unveiled four years ago, is no stranger to the scene. And it is now getting a Life Cycle Impulse. This move by the German luxury marque aims to align the tougher variant with the recently updated standard X5. Like the almost-M X5 LCI, the X5 Protection VR6 still rests on the M Performance model. However, it transitions from the M50i to the M60i label. The newly minted S68 engine powers the revamped armoured version. It’s a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 beast, churning out 530 horsepower (390 kilowatts) and 750 Newton-meters (553 pound-feet) of torque.

Due to its extra weight, the armoured X5 M60i can’t match the standard X5 M60i’s 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint of 4.3 seconds. However, it can still pull it off in a respectable 5.9 seconds. While electronically capped, it can hit a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h), compared to the standard model’s 155 mph (250 km/h).

BMW aims to maintain the discretion of the armoured variant. Hence, it closely mirrors the X5 M60i you can find at a nearby dealership. However, engineers made only minor adjustments to the chassis to handle the extra weight. The standard features include sport brakes, M Adaptive M suspension with an M Sport differential, active-roll stabilisation, and rear-wheel steering. A clever feature is the self-healing fuel tank. Its unique casing immediately self-repairs after a bullet pierces it, preventing petrol leakage.

Crucial elements of the 2024 X5 Protection VR6 include the doors, side frames, bulkhead, and roof, all fashioned from high-strength steel. There’s also an armoured barrier in the cargo area. BMW has also fitted a metal splinter guard for the underbody. This includes additional armouring for the roof and underbody, available at an extra cost. The hefty SUV comes standard with heating for the front sections of the side windows and the windscreen.

In front of the gear selector lies a bespoke panel of switches, controlling the intercom system for chatting with folks outside the vehicle. Extras for the armoured SUV include flashing LEDs in the front grille, a roof antenna with a secondary receiver for digital two-way radio, an acoustic signalling system, and even flag poles.

BMW assembles the X5 Protection VR6 at its Spartanburg facility in South Carolina, where the standard X5 is also put together. Like the regular model, you can opt for an Individual paint, but a dedicated team is responsible for modifying the vehicle during a process known as “craft manufacturing.” All these updated models will come with iDrive 8.5 when deliveries kick off in February 2024. Post-August, the standard X5 will feature the older infotainment system with QuickSelect.

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