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Volvo to offer bullet-proof XC90

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019 4:47pm

Volvo will put an armoured, bullet-proof version of the XC90 SUV on sale next year.

Called the XC90 Armoured, it will be offered in two versions — a lightly armoured one, designed for police forces and diplomatic corps, and a Heavy model, which offers maximum protection from bullets and explosives, and is designed for heads of state and individuals under threat of attack.

“We are proud to be able to offer these armoured cars.

“With our armoured cars, we can provide vehicles with a high level of personal security for individuals who require heightened protection,” said Stephan Green, Marketing Director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

The XC90 Armoured starts life as a standard 316hp XC90 T6 Inscription, but it then goes through a process which has taken two years to develop, with Volvo aided by the German company Trasco Bremen, GMbH.

“The XC90 Armoured Heavy with VR8 protection rating (VPAM BRV 2009/ERV 2010) enables us to offer a car that provides a high level of protection while retaining the car’s fundamental properties.

“Potential customers include security services who would use the car to transport high-profile individuals,” added Green.

That string of numbers and letters is the security rating of the car — the BRV number is how bullet-resistant it is, the ERV one how explosives resistant. Green claims that the XC90 Armoured Heavy has “360-degree protection from bullets and explosives”.

Needless to say, Volvo is reluctant to give too many details of just how protected the car is. “Production is classified, with stringent procedures and oversight in place in order to attain the stipulated ballistic requirements,” added Green.

“Production is carried out with extreme diligence, which is imperative in order to fulfil the exceptionally high requirements placed on this class of security product. We strive to ensure that the car retains its properties despite the extensive armouring.

“The armour is fitted discreetly to make the car barely distinguishable from a standard XC90. Every customer also has their own unique requirements, which we satisfy by means of customised production.”

What we can tell you is that the high-strength steel armour is up to 10mm thick in places, while the armoured glass goes up to 50mm in thickness. All the protective gear adds 1.4 tonnes to the car’s weight, meaning that with five occupants on board (not counting whatever weapons they’re carrying we suppose…) the XC90 Armoured Heavy tips the scales at 4.4 tonnes.

Thankfully, Volvo said that it updated the brakes and suspension to cope, but won’t comment on whether the engine has any extra power.

You can, if you have the means and the need (and the suitable clearance from the gardaí) order an XC90 Armoured Heavy and it will be delivered by the end of this year.

The Armoured Light model will be on sale in the middle of next year. Volvo said that it has a grand tradition of designing and building special-purpose cars such as these, and that it made its first police car way back in 1929.

The current age of political and social turmoil has apparently given the global market for such vehicles quite the boost. Volvo expects that its biggest markets will be in South America, especially Brazil, where kidnappings of high-profile individuals are more or less a daily occurrence.

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