Armoured vehicles have always caught the fancy of the rich, famous and powerful people all across the globe. They guarantee utmost safety and have the much needed capacity to bail you out of any untoward situation. World over many heads of state, movie stars and sporting heroes have often relied on their armoured vehicles to transport them in maximum luxury and more importantly absolute safety. Recently iconic British car maker Jaguar Land Rover unveiled the latest armoured version of its flagship SUV the Range Rover. According to the company the Range Rover Sentinel now has more features and power, all-terrain capability and the latest in occupant protection.
JLR says the new Range Rover Sentinel has been expertly engineered by a special vehicle operations team to provide safety and security against attacks. There are many design aspects that make this one unique. Primary amongst them is the fitment of much thicker armoured glass in order to help protect occupants from attack. Further security systems includes the option for a specially configured front window which drops a maximum of 150mm for document delivery, while it also features a public address system allowing occupants to address people outside the vehicle without leaving their secure environment. Siren and emergency lighting packs are also available. The roof and under-floor also get blast-protection and that adds a further level of defence against multi-angled attacks. This now includes defence against Improvised Explosive Devices, with Sentinel tested against a powerful mine positioned to the side of the vehicle and from behind the front wheel. Featuring the latest Range Rover exterior design elements, including LED lighting, Sentinel is now offered with the optional Black Pack which adds black finishes to trim items for an even more sophisticated appearance.
Inside, the Sentinel features the same levels of refinement found on the exclusive Range Rover Autobiography. This includes fine leathers, rich veneers and solid aluminum fixtures, creating an interiors that is worthy of being called a flagship. Range Rover says the new Sentinel has an 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 a lot of comfort. The cabin also features Land Rover’s latest Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with two (10 inch) high resolution touch screens. In emergencies, occupants can exit Range Rover Sentinel rapidly and securely through the armoured escape panel. Located in the rear luggage compartment, it allows for escapes even if the doors are unusable. Indeed, on an everyday journey Range Rover Sentinel would appear to be nothing more than the elegant and sophisticated luxury vehicle from which it is derived.
The Range Rover Sentinel runs on a massive 5.0 L Supercharged V8 petrol engine that gives a maximum power of 375 bhp that is almost 40 bhp more than before when the SUV used to run on a V6 petrol engine. This company says is to ensure the armoured SUV with a lot more weight is still able to perform across all terrains. The power when compared to the 510 bhp on offer with the same engine on other models, but the priority here is more low end torque. Remember the car carries more than one tonne of armour plate and glass and it is because of this added weight the Sentinel accelerates from 0-100km/h in more than 10 seconds. The top speed too limited to 193km/h because of the weight factor.
Ride & Handling
To retain Range Rover’s on-road dynamics a lot of things are optimised in this SUV. These include the chassis, suspension, braking and electronic stability systems. The Sentinel also delivers famed off-road ability for an armoured vehicle of this kind, enabling it to tackle deep water crossings and challenging terrain with ease. Run flat tyres are specially made for this beast which means the vehicle can be driven over distances of more than 50 kms at speeds of 80km/h even if a tyre is damaged.
The Range Rover Sentinel is a part a long list of very capable armoured vehicles that luxury car makers have built over the years. And it is as capable as any of them. A 15 kg bomb exploding less than seven feet away or AK-47 round fired at you directly is not a problem in this vehicle due to almost two inches of glass and enhanced body that is engineered to face modern and unconventional forms of attack, including improvised explosive device fragmentation blasts. It is a perfect for the rich and mighty as spending upwards of Rs. 10 crore would not be a very high price to pay for a safe commute.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars