Land Rover has developed and produced an armored version of the standard wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography. The new Range Rover Sentinel is the first luxury armoured vehicle to be fully engineered by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), hand built at its Oxford Road facility, providing the highest levels of protection an SUV can offer against a wide variety of attacks. The Sentinel delivers the supreme comfort, command driving position and all-terrain capability of the Range Rover, while providing peace of mind thanks to outstanding occupant protection and, outwardly, looking identical to the standard model.
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. This exceptional vehicle 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 The standard glass has been replaced by multi-laminated armour privacy glass of optical quality, providing excellent clarity for the driver and occupants, while also delivering bullet protection.
The Range Rover 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 Range Rover Sentinel is one of the most extraordinary Range Rovers ever produced,” says John Edwards, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations. “It has been expertly engineered by Special Vehicle Operations to provide class leading levels of protection to occupants against extreme attack, whilst retaining the Range Rover’s luxury and refinement with off road capability.”
Sentinel retains the plentiful 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 useful in the event of an attack.
The suspension has been up-rated to ensure Range Rover’s legendary ride comfort and handling are retained, yet still delivers precise on-road dynamics to allow occupants to escape attack. The Sentinel has undergone the same testing as a standard production vehicle and retains the outstanding off-road capability for which Land Rover is famous. The Sentinel 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 for document delivery 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 Range Rover Sentinel can use the considerable performance of its 250kW 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 impressive 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 and the Range Rover Sentinel is still equipped with the elegant 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.
The Range Rover Sentinel is 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. Customers can still choose from an extensive range of exterior paint colours; and Ebony, Ivory or Dark Cherry interior colour ways with leather headlining an option. A range of bespoke options is available on request.
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. It will be available in Land Rover’s key sub-Sahara Africa markets, and customers can visit their nearest Land Rover dealership to register their interest. Pricing is available on application.
Tosan Aduayi is the founder of Trendy Africa Magazine and has been an Auto columnist (Roadrunner/Carliners) since 1994