The world's first widely-available armoured passenger vehicle
By Mike Hanlon
November 23, 2005
November 24, 2005 Our “Bloody Brilliant” Award for this week goes to Jaguar which has just announced a new Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase luxury saloon car. This is the first widely-available armoured passenger vehicle. The world can be a hostile and dangerous place with hundreds of war zones around the world at any given time, plus many countries where assassination and kidnapping are routine. Despite wars and organized criminal activity, life has to go on, and there are some people who feel the need to be transported in the manner befitting their station in life. An armouring industry has grown up around the 50 wars that are going on in the world, with various degrees of robustness ranging from the Donald Rumsfeld’s preferred choice of the Rhino Runner, to the Combat T-98 Armoured Luxury SUV.
But these vehicle manufacturers are boutique in comparison to the robust distribution network and global marketing resources of Jaguar. Our prediction is that Jaguar’s move will add serious global recognition to the company’s already prestigious brand. Jaguar’s just-announced Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase luxury saloon car is an armoured passenger vehicle with capabilities far beyond the needs of day to day transportation with added security, without compromising the ability of the car. Prices will start from GBP199,000.
This luxurious British product styled with the understated elegance offers protection from firearms and blast attack, robbery, kidnap and car jacking, and will become the car of choice for heads of state, high profile business people, diplomats and celebrities throughout the world. Which will make it even more attractive to the business elite.
From the exterior the Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase is virtually identical to the standard XJ bringing absolute discretion to owners. However appearances can be deceptive, as the new Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase is heavily armoured, featuring significant modifications like bullet-resistant laminated glazing, underbody protection, steel-armouring and run flat tyres.
Though the Armoured XJ closely resembles the road going XJ, its chassis has been extensively adapted to compensate for additional weight and a potentially more aggressive driving style with reinforced springs and dampers. This ensures that it is just as agile and safe to drive as the production version as well as being lighter than its armoured competitors.
A fully retuned variable assisted steering system (VAPS) with an increased pressure flow power steering pump realigns the increased mass of the armoured vehicle to the steering effort inputs of the driver.
The car is also fitted with opposed 6 piston Alcon mono-block brake callipers to the front of the vehicle and 4 piston Alcon mono-block callipers to the rear, along with performance friction material brake pads and larger ventilated brake discs to substantially increase braking performance. Original air suspension has been replaced with passive suspension to account for the additional mass. The vehicle is equipped with specially strengthened and tuned Bilstein B46 dampers and bespoke Eibach springs manufactured from special ultra strength silicon alloy – a combination tuned to optimise the balance between ride, comfort and body control.
Designed to provide maximum protection to driver and passengers alike, the Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase features many security attributes to make each journey a safe one.
Bullet resistant borosilicate glazing is designed to withstand a comprehensive range of hand guns and assault rifles. The armoured body shell is reinforced with ballistic resistant steel and underfloor protection is provided by high-tech Kevlar fibre material.
The Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase offers protection against high velocity assault rifle rounds and also side blast with the overall design preventing any penetration of the passenger cell by shrapnel or blast fragments.
As much as Jaguar is recognised for its design and engineering of luxury cars, Centigon is synonymous the world over for vehicle armouring expertise. The Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase has been developed through a process of complete integration of Jaguar's and Centigon's design and engineering operations, backed up by extensive prototype testing and Jaguar’s stringent quality control and sign off standards.
The vehicle has undergone extensive ballistic and blast testing by the independent test agency QinetiQ and has been accredited to European standard EN 1063 levels BR5 & BR6. As the first ever fully engineered and warranted armoured vehicle from Jaguar Cars, prospective customers have the assurance of full factory support during purchase and throughout the vehicle’s life. Jaguar's new Global After Sales Support programme offers a high level of support in the most remote territories. Four scheduled visits per year by a dedicated Jaguar technician ensure complete customer satisfaction, and reassurance that their vehicle is maintained to the very highest possible standard.
Tyres with run flat capability allow the driver to travel safely up to 30 miles (50 kilometres) at speeds of 50 mph (80 km/h), when punctured or deflated. Security features include a tamper proof exhaust, intercom system, self sealing fuel tank, cabin with its own oxygen supply and a titanium armoured roof.
Nick Youdan, Jaguar's Global Armoured Vehicle Sales Manager, commented: "Dealing with real security risks in our everyday lives is becoming more commonplace. The new Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase has been designed to combine the design and engineering of a luxury car with the technology and security features for the most demanding business needs. Everything is in place to make each journey a safe one, and with a V8 engine providing powerful acceleration, and tyres with run flat capability as standard, getting out of trouble fast will never be an issue."
Owners of the armoured XJ are offered tailored armoured driver training programmes, helping them to understand the differences in vehicle handling characteristics that such a high level of protection brings with it.