It was only a few weeks ago when BMW introduced the 7 Series / i7 Protection and now another armored vehicle is breaking cover. The X5 Protection VR6 is a familiar face, having been introduced four years ago, and it’s now getting a Life Cycle Impulse. The German luxury marque wants to bring the tougher version in line with the recently updated conventional X5. The X5 Protection VR6 continues to be based on the M Performance model, but much like the not-quite-M X5 LCI, it transitions from the M50i to the M60i moniker. At the heart of the revised armored model is the newly developed S68 engine, a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 with 530 horsepower (390 kilowatts) and 750 Newton-meters (553 pound-feet) of torque.
Heavier, Hence Slower
While the civilian version of the X5 M60i sprints to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.3 seconds, the armored model can’t match that since it’s considerably heavier. Nevertheless, it can still get the job done in 5.9 seconds. Flat out, it’ll reach an electronically governed 130 mph (210 km/h) whereas on the regular model, the limiter is programmed to kick in at 155 mph (250 km/h).
As before, BMW wants to keep the armored derivative subtle by making it look nearly the same as the X5 M60i you can find at a dealer near you. However, skin-deep changes have been made as the engineers had to tweak the chassis to better handle the added weight. Sport brakes come as standard equipment, as does the M Adaptive M suspension with an M Sport differential, active-roll stabilization, and rear-wheel steering. One party trick is the self-healing fuel tank thanks to a special casing that automatically seals itself after being punctured by a bullet to avoid gasoline loss.
The 2024 X5 Protection VR6 has high-strength steel in key areas such as the doors, side frame, bulkhead, and roof, while the cargo area incorporates an armored partition. In addition, BMW installs an aluminum splinter guard for the underbody, with extra armoring for the roof and underbody available at an additional cost. As standard, the beefy SUV is sold with heating for the windscreen and the front sections of the side windows.
Located in front of the gear selector is a bespoke panel of switches from where you can control the intercom system for talking with people outside of the vehicle. Extras that can be added when ordering the armored SUV include flashing LEDs in the front grille, a roof antenna with an additional receiver for digital two-way radio, an acoustic signaling system, and even flag poles.
BMW makes the X5 Protection VR6 in South Carolina at the Spartanburg factory where the regular X5 is assembled. However, there’s a dedicated team in charge of modifying the vehicle during a process called “craft manufacturing.” Just like the standard model, you can have it with an Individual paint. Deliveries are slated to commence in February 2024 and these facelifted models will all come with iDrive 8.5. After August, the standard X5 will be assembled with the newer infotainment system featuring QuickSelect.