Certain people in the world require the utmost security. Diplomats, politicians, businessmen and women, security forces, police, and more often need special protection when out and about. The key to staying under the radar of dangerous people with dubious motives lies with blending in. Volvo is helping with this mantra with its XC90 Armoured, a heavily protected SUV that’s far tougher than it looks.
Volvo spent nearly two years developing the XC90 Armoured, aiming for a VPAM VR8 protection rating – the second-highest rating possible. VPAM is an organisation that researches, tests, and develops bullet-resistant materials. The VR8 rating signifies the Volvo’s 360-degree ballistic resistance. However, the XC90 Armoured also provides explosive resistance.
Underpinning the XC90 Armoured is a Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription. Once built at the company’s Torslanda plant in Sweden, the car heads to TRASCO Bremen in Germany to complete the armouring. The high-strength steel measures 0.39 inches (10 millimetres) thick while glass thickness could be up to 1.96 inches (50 mm).
The added protection adds approximately 3,089 pounds (1,400 kilograms), bringing the XC90 Armoured’s total weight, including five occupants, up to 9,899 lbs (4,490 kg). That’s a hefty beast with uprated suspension and brakes added to compensate for the increased weight. However, many of the XC90 Armoured’s details are classified.
According to Stephan Green, Marketing Director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles, the company strived to ensure the armoured version of the XC90 retained the SUV’s properties while doing so “discreetly to make the car barely distinguishable from a standard XC90.” And, looking at the photos, Volvo did a remarkable job keeping it stealthy, though it’s a different story inside.
The XC90 isn’t the only armoured vehicle in Volvo’s lineup. The company also offers light armour for the XC60 T6 AWD Inscription and XC90 T6 AWD Inscription as opposed to the heavy armour of the XC90 Armoured.
Customers, eager to add an XC90 Armoured to their garage, can place their orders now with the first deliveries happening at the end of 2019. The light armoured vehicles will go on sale in the first half of 2020.
Gallery: Volvo XC90 Armoured
VOLVO CARS RELEASES ARMOURED CARS FOR PEOPLE NEEDING HEIGHTENED PROTECTION
With the release of the Volvo XC90 Armoured, Volvo Cars takes another step as a manufacturer of armoured vehicles. The cars are designed and built to provide safe and comfortable travel with a high level of personal protection for the occupants.
“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,” says Stephan Green, Marketing Director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.
There is a growing global market for armoured vehicles at present, and a large number are manufactured with various protection ratings. Volvo Cars has received numerous requests over the past few years to develop an armoured XC90. Volvo Cars has extensive experience of building police cars, fire engines and diverse special vehicles with high requirements in terms of function, driveability and safety. In fact, the first Volvo police car was delivered back in 1929.
“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,” says Green.
Work to develop a car with a VPAM VR8 protection rating commenced just over two years ago. A certified VPAM VR8 rating means the car has 360-degree ballistic resistance as well as explosive resistance.
The armoured car is built on the Inscription version of the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD, which is manufactured at the Torslanda plant in Sweden. The size and nature of the model make it the most suitable vehicle in Volvo Cars’ product portfolio for armouring. From Torslanda, the car is sent to TRASCO Bremen GmbH in Germany, a company which has specialised for many years in building high-quality vehicles with high protection ratings.
“Production is classified, with stringent procedures and oversight in place in order to attain the stipulated ballistic requirements,” says Green.
The high-strength steel armour is 10 millimetres thick, while the thickness of the glass can be up to 50 millimetres. The armour adds approximately 1,400 kilograms to the XC90, which brings the total weight of the car up to 4,490kg (including five occupants). To cope with the increased weight, the car is fitted with uprated suspension and new brakes.
“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,” says Green.
The Volvo XC90 Armoured (heavy) is available to order now and the first customer deliveries will be made at the end of 2019.
Volvo Cars also develops another version of the armoured car (light). This means that Volvo Cars has a full portfolio of cars able to offer high personal protection. These cars are built on the XC60 T6 AWD Inscription or XC90 T6 AWD Inscription.
These versions are geared towards different clientele than the XC90 Armoured (heavy). Users could be individuals or companies requiring a car with a higher level of protection due to a geographical risk or a heightened personal threat. A market for these types of protective vehicles also exists among security services, the police, the diplomatic corps and private individuals.
The cars are intended for Latin America and Europe. After construction, they are retrofitted in Brazil, where there is considerable demand for these types of cars as well as substantial experience of building them. These vehicles are designed to offer lighter protection compared with the XC90 Armoured (heavy).
Sales of these cars are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2020.