Could this be the Prime Minister’s next car? BMW i7 Protection armoured electric limo revealed

Could this be the Prime Minister’s next car? BMW i7 Protection armoured electric limo revealed
Could this be the Prime Minister’s next car? BMW i7 Protection armoured electric limo revealed

The Australian Prime Minister has been chauffeured in a BMW 7 Series for close to a decade. Now the German car giant has unveiled a new model – and it’s available as an electric car.

BMW has unveiled the next generation of the 7 Series Protection – the armoured version of its most luxurious sedan, and the current car of choice for Australia’s Prime Minister.

And for the first time it is available with electric power – as an alternative to a traditional twin-turbo petrol V8.

However don’t expect to see Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in an electric BMW any time soon as the battery-powered version – the i7 Protection – is currently exclusive to the European market.

The BMW 7 Series has been the car of choice for the Australian Prime Minister’s official vehicle since an ‘F03’ model – now two generations old – replaced 30 years of locally-built Holden and Ford limousines in 2014.

It is unclear if there are any plans to replace the current Prime Ministerial Limousine – registration ‘C-1’ – with this new model.

BMW says the i7 Protection – offered alongside the petrol 760i Protection – is the first electric vehicle to be certified to VR9 protection standards, which signifies security against various levels of gunfire (including high-velocity and armour-piercing shells) and explosive devices.

The weights of the vehicles have not been disclosed, however if past armoured 7 Series sedans are a guide, the terror-proof upgrades may add as much as a tonne to the circa-2.2-tonne mass of the regular 760i V8, and the 2.7 tonnes of the standard i7.

The armoured sedans are claimed to have the world’s first body structure made from high-strength armour steel. This is used in conjunction with additional armour for the underbody, roof and windows.

Protection on the roof and underbody are said to provide resistance from explosives, including drone attacks and hand grenades, while the tyres and windows are bulletproof.

BMW says the armour upgrades are more effective when applied during construction of the base vehicle – rather than retro-fitted by an aftermarket company after the standard vehicle has rolled off the production line.

It highlights how both vehicles look all but identical to standard showroom versions of the i7 and 7 Series. “Their discreet and largely inconspicuous appearance on public roads represents an additional safety factor for people requiring protection,” BMW says in its media release.

The German car giant offers specialised driver training courses for chauffeurs, while a global network of experts is said to provide worldwide service and support for the Protection vehicles, meaning they can be used in the most remote places and areas of high threat.

The i7 is powered by the same dual-motor setup as the showroom i7 M70 xDrive, producing up to 400kW and 745Nm.

But the extra weight blunts the 0-100km/h acceleration time from the 2.7-tonne M70’s 3.7 seconds, to 9.0 seconds – now slower than a Volkswagen Golf hatchback.

Heads of state not ready to go electric – and who need to drive faster and longer with their vehicle without stopping to charge – can opt for the regular 7 Series Protection, powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 developing 390kW and 750Nm of torque.

It is claimed to be capable of 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds – compared to 4.3 seconds in the non-armoured version – and a top speed of 210km/h, or 50km/h faster than the electric model.

The new Protection models offer the same advanced driver assistance systems as the regular 7 Series models.

Interior comfort is not compromised either, with electric seats, leather upholstery, massage functions, and the latest BMW iDrive infotainment system and digital instrument cluster.

The post Could this be the Prime Minister’s next car? BMW i7 Protection armoured electric limo revealed appeared first on Drive.

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