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Range Rover bomb-proofs Autobiography

Da bomb: It may look like any other standard-wheelbase Autobiography, but this Range Rover can withstand bullets, bombs and grenade blasts.

Jaguar Land Rover's SVO skunkworks creates armoured Range Rover Sentinel

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Land Rover logo8 Sep 2015

JAGUAR Land Rover's freshly formed Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has created its first armoured vehicle, with the grenade-proof Range Rover Sentinel now on sale to those with enemies from €400,000 (AU$643,000).

Based on the British car-maker's Range Rover Autobiography, the Sentinel revels none of its security secrets from the outside and appears completely standard, but under its heavily armoured skin it is a very different beast.

Engineers at the company's special vehicles branch build the toughened SUVs by hand, adding in super high-strength steel and multi-laminated glass to produce a six-piece passenger cell that can withstand high-velocity bullets and a direct grenade blast.

Protection of passengers is offered from all directions with the same armour plate installed under the floor and in the roof, which has earned the Sentinel VR8 certification from independent ballistics assessor QinetiQ.

High-velocity incendiary 30-calibre bullets, DM51 grenade explosions and 15kg of TNT are no match for the Sentinel thanks to the extensive modifications, but despite the extra reinforcements, Range Rover says the bullet-proof car still drives like a standard Autobiography.

Its suspension has been uprated to cope with the extra weight resulting in a vehicle that retains both on-road handling and ride comfort, as well as the Rangie's ability off-road, according to the car-maker.

The fortress-like cabin can accommodate two adults in the second row with plenty of leg and headroom, and can take a 650kg payload along for the ride too.

In addition to the armour plating and toughened glass, the Sentinel offers more standard security features including a tamper-proof exhaust, self-sealing fuel tank and back-up battery with split-charging system.

Its supercharged 3.0-litre V6 carries over from the standard Autobiography with 250kW and 450Nm of torque allowing a quick exit if things turn ugly, while special inserts maintain tyre integrity in the event of deflation.

If the vehicle's doors are blocked, occupants can still escape via a special emergency exit feature behind the rear seats, but the classic split tailgate is unaffected.

While Range Rover offers extras such as a panoramic sunroof and adaptive headlights for the standard car, the Sentinel has some more unorthodox options.

An under-bonnet and under-car fire extinguisher, configurable siren, concealed emergency service flasher beacons and an external speaker system for addressing people outside the vehicle are all offered for a price.

As one would expect, the Sentinel has all of the luxuries and customisation options available for the rest of the Range Rover range, with a wide palette of exterior and interior colours available.

The Sentinel has a three-year/80,000km warranty which does not cover bullet holes or landmine damage, but does come with a full driver training program to help you avoid them.

Jaguar Land Rover Australia is currently “investigating” the model but the Sentinel is yet to be confirmed for local customers.

If it does come Down Under it will have just one rival in the SUV space – the bullet-proof X5 large SUV from BMW, of which several are in service with the Australian Federal Police.

The German car-maker has also recently supplied a number of its armoured 7 Series models to the Australian government for transporting the prime minister among other important politicians and dignitaries.

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Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.