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HomeNewsAfrica-first armoured BMW X3 goes on sale – Pricing

Africa-first armoured BMW X3 goes on sale – Pricing

Gauteng-based SVI Engineering has become the first company on the African continent to receive armouring certification for the locally-built BMW X3 M40i.

The dynamic SUV is now certified to ballistic resistance class NIJ Level IIIA, which is comparable to B4, thus providing protection against handguns up to and including a .44 Magnum.

“This project represents the first time that BMW AG has performed an armouring certification on the African continent,” said Dr Daniel Huber, BMW AG engineer for armoured vehicles, who travelled from Munich to South Africa for the extensive testing process.

“The result is a vehicle that can withstand attacks up to .44 Magnum from different directions and angles.”

The bullet-resistant X3 M40i is available immediately from accredited BMW dealers in South Africa with the standard 2-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and 5-year/100,000km maintenance plan remaining intact. A 1-year/50,000km warranty on the armouring conversion is also included by SVI.

Pricing for the armouring package start at R879,800 excluding VAT and the cost of the vehicle, which itself currently retails for R1,509,901.

Upon ordering, the X3 will first be produced at the BMW Rosslyn plant and then be sent to SVI’s facility on the outskirts of Pretoria where the armouring conversion is carried out according to strict production standards defined by the BMW Group.

The total build time for the vehicle is set at around three months.

An Africa-first

The SVI-made armoured X3 was designed to offer protection against risks such as hijacking and kidnapping for private individuals and prominent public figures with enhanced security requirements.

The SUV features a 360-degree armoured passenger cell incorporating specially-developed ballistic glass, kevlar sheets, and sealed joints – the latter of which covers the areas around doors and where body panels meet. 

Being completely discreet, the armoured X3 is extremely difficult to distinguish from the normal vehicle unless you know what to look for.

In contrast to many armoured cars with either fixed or very limited window operation, the driver’s window on the SVI-built X3 can also open nearly all the way down.

Thanks to the extensive use of lightweight components, it’s furthermore almost identical to the production M40i in terms of its dynamic driving characteristics, said SVI.

The development of the bullet-resistant BMW was a painstaking process and a very long time in the making.

The trials involved a completed X3 test vehicle being subjected to more than 400 shots, including taking fire from above at an angle of 45 degrees.

“Sometimes only the individual armouring components – such as the glass, Kevlar sheets, and armoured steel – undergo ballistic testing,” said Jaco de Kock, Chief Executive Officer of the SVI Group of Companies.

“But with the X3 we tested the complete armoured vehicle as per the VPAM standard used by BMW AG worldwide, allowing us to target potential weak spots and ultimately deliver maximum protection in critical areas.”

In addition, the vehicle was subjected to a comprehensive durability programme that comprised 10,000 door opening-and-closing cycles, 7,000 boot cycles, and 3,000 window-operation cycles.

It also endured 3,000km of punishing driving tests on mixed surfaces, including dirt roads.

“Successfully meeting the requirements, the SVI-developed special-protection X3 thus becomes the only armoured vehicle in South Africa officially tested to the stringent NIJ Level IIIA standard,” said De Kock.


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