Latest heavy Rangie offers VR8 ballistic level courtesy of SVO
The long-wheelbase Range Rover is already a rolling fortress, just due to its sheer size and presence, but Land Rover has also been turning them into actual fortresses. A few weeks ago, the automaker debuted the latest armored version of its flagship, dubbed Range Rover Sentinel, at the Home Office Security and Policing Show in the U.K., built by the company’s Special Vehicle Operations division.
The latest version of the Sentinel was designed with the improvised explosive device (IED) threat in mind, focusing on more than just ballistic protection against assault rifles. Armored to a VR8 protection level, the Sentinel features a redesigned interior to accommodate more than 1 ton of extra weight, including a unique rear passenger compartment with redesigned doors and a separate, unarmored cargo compartment. This is often done in armored SUVs to save weight and to preserve a more compact center of gravity by installing an armored wall immediately behind the rear seats. The perimeter of the cabin features several inches of ballistic glass, but the price to pay is that only the front windows can be lowered and by just a few inches — enough to pass documents, but that’s about it.
Powered by a 5.0-liter V8, the Sentinel makes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds and has a top speed of 120 mph — plenty to make a getaway in the case of an attack. But the Sentinel has also been designed to preserve the Range Rover’s off-road capabilities, and it features a retuned chassis, suspension, brakes and even wheels to maintain off-road prowess. The wheels, by the way, are specially designed to operate with run-flat tires, permitting the Sentinel to drive over 30 miles at speeds up to 50 mph if its tires have been punctured.
“The Range Rover Sentinel delivers the exceptional protection and security required by our VIP clients without compromising the superior refinement of the latest Range Rover,” said Michael van der Sande, managing director of Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. “The addition of the more powerful 5.0-liter Supercharged V8 engine and a redesigned interior ensures a heightened level of performance and occupant safety.”
A whole host of supplementary systems, including an intercom as well as a light and siren system, are also offered as options with the Sentinel model because a lot of these vehicles are bought by governments for motorcade use and come equipped with various radio and emergency systems.
“Range Rover’s peerless refinement is retained with the new Sentinel gaining improved cabin space, enhanced headroom and superior seating over the previous generation, which ensures occupants not only benefit from complete protection on the move but also enjoy truly world-class comfort,” the automaker says. “The interior also features Land Rover’s latest Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with two 10-inch high-resolution touch screens.”
The price? Well, it depends on the options, but even thin-skinned Rangies aren’t cheap. The Sentinel model starts at 400,000 euros, which is $50,000 shy of the half-million dollar mark.
If there is one thing we’ve learned about armored cars, it’s that some state clients like diplomatic missions often need them yesterday and aren’t willing to wait weeks or months for cars to be built to order. This makes it worthwhile for independent armoring companies to stockpile small fleets to rent out to those who need armored cars in a hurry. For war zones, it’s better to rent used armored Toyota Land Cruisers if you know that a chance of body damage is pretty high — the body panels will be cheaper.
Writer: Jay Ramey
Published: April 1, 2019