Land Rover has unveiled its uber-armoured luxury SUV - the Range Rover Sentinel.
The first armoured vehicle to be fully engineered by Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) is hand built at JLR's Oxford Road facility and is claimed to provide the highest levels of protection an SUV can offer against a wide variety of attacks.
This 'mobile fortress' is designed to withstand the most damaging and targeted of threats including penetration by 7.62mm high velocity, armour piercing incendiary bullets. The Sentinel delivers lateral protection against up to 15kg Trinitrotoluene (TNT) blasts and defence against DM51 grenade explosions from both beneath the floor and above the roof.
At its core is a specially-developed six-piece armoured passenger cell, made of super-high-strength steel, providing 'world-class' protection from attack. The standard glass has been replaced by multi-laminated armour privacy glass of optical quality while also delivering bullet protection.
The Sentinel is based on the standard wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography, but with peace of mind 'thanks to outstanding occupant protection', while outwardly, looking identical to the standard model. The SUV retains the legroom of the standard model that comfortably seats two full-size adults in the rear. A payload of up to 650kg can be carried thanks to revised Dynamic Stability Control and Ride Stability Control systems. The 'Command Driving Position' found in all Range Rover vehicles remains, giving the driver a clear and unobscured view of the surroundings, particularly handy in the event of an attack.
The Sentinel is 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.
The suspension has been up-rated to ensure precise on-road dynamics, allowing occupants the ability to escape attack. The special Range Rover has an anti-tamper exhaust, a self-sealing fuel tank, auxiliary back-up battery and a split charging system. The 100mm opening in the driver's window is for document delivery and ensures the vehicle is secure. The load space features anti-smash protective glass ensuring the cabin remains a safe house.
When it is time to leave in a hurry, run flat inserts in the tyres - fitted to special 20-inch split rim alloy wheels - allow the vehicle to be driven even if the tyres are deflated. This system ensures that however determined the attack, the Sentinel can use the performance of its 340PS 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine in conjunction with a specially-calibrated ZF 8-speed automatic transmission to escape. In addition, 380mm front and 365mm rear ventilated disc brakes, both with high-density pads, ensure uprated stopping power when needed.
If the worst happens 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. Despite this special security feature, the basic design is uncompromised, says Range Rover and the SUV is still equipped with the split-level tailgate of the standard production vehicle.
Optional protection features include under floor and under bonnet fire suppression systems, a customer configurable siren system, emergency service lights and an external speaker system to address people outside the vehicle from the safety of the cabin. Unmatched in capability and protection by any third-party conversion, externally, it is discreet and almost identical in appearance to the vehicle from which it is derived, with few visual clues as to what lies beneath the skin.
A full driver-training programme is also provided to ensure drivers are capable of handling the vehicle to maximum effect in the most challenging circumstances.
Standard Range Rover features such as Blind Spot Monitoring, Closing Vehicle Sensing and Surround Camera Security incorporating T-junction view also lend themselves perfectly to the duties this very special Range Rover is designed to perform.
The Range Rover Sentinel is fully EU Homologated, available in the UK, Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East with VR8 level certification. Available to order now, it has a guide price around the €400,000 mark - approx. £292,159 - (excl. taxes) and benefits from a three-year, 50,000-mile warranty. Additional global aftersales support includes scheduled visits each year by a specialised technician.
The Sentinel will make its global debut at the Defence and Security Equipment International Exhibition at London's ExCeL arena from 15 to 18 September 2015