If the idea of an armoured luxury sedan doesn’t tickle your fancy, what about an armoured SUV? Recently unveiled, the new Range Rover Sentinel, which is fully engineered by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) can now be yours on a built to special order basis, with prices (excluding taxes) starting at €400,000 (RM1,931,342).
Built at SVO’s Oxford Road facility, the Sentinel (cool name) is based on a standard wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography with a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine providing 340PS, mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.
It offers excellent occupant protection and we aren’t joking. This thing is built to provide the highest levels of protection an SUV can offer against a wide variety of attacks as you shall now find out.
First up, the core of the vehicle is a specially-developed six-piece armoured passenger cell, made of super-high-strength steel. The standard glass is replaced with multi-laminated armour privacy glass of optical quality, providing excellent vision of the assailants firing at you with their assault rifles, while withstanding penetration by 7.62mm high velocity, armour piercing incendiary bullets. There is a 100mm opening in the driver's window for document delivery if needed and the load space features anti-smash protective glass.
The Sentinel is also fully certified to VR8 standard against ballistic threats by QinetiQ, an independent organisation that was formerly part of the British Government's Defence Establishment Research Agency. This means that the vehicle is capable of offering protection against up to 15kg Trinitrotoluene (TNT) blasts and defence against DM51 grenade explosions from both beneath the floor and above the roof.
Should the tyres be deflated during an attack, escape is still possible thanks to run flat inserts in the tyres - fitted to special 20-inch split rim alloy wheels, allowing the vehicle to be continuously driven. Large 380mm front and 365mm rear ventilated disc brakes, both with high-density pads are available if you need to stop.
Other extreme safety bits include an anti-tamper exhaust, a self-sealing fuel tank, auxiliary back-up battery and a split charging system. As an additional option, floor and under bonnet fire suppression systems, a customer configurable siren system, emergency service lights, and an external speaker can be specified as well.
Even with all these high-end security measures, the Range Rover Sentinel remains inconspicuous and almost identical to its base car, drawing very little attention towards it. Good news for the ever-cautious VIP inside. Speaking of the inside, the Sentinel retains the abundant legroom of the standard model that comfortably seats two full-size adults in the rear.
The uprated suspension to ensure ride comfort and handling are retained while revised Dynamic Stability Control and Ride Stability Control systems allow for a payload of up to 650kg can be carried.
And should the worst case scenario happen and the main doors are blocked by an accident or an attack, occupants can leave the vehicle via the Emergency Escape System behind the rear seats.
The driver will be thankful for the Command Driving Position, giving a clear and unobscured view of the surroundings, particularly useful in the event of an attack. He or she will also receive a full driver-training programme to ensure drivers are capable of handling the vehicle to maximum effect in the most challenging circumstances.