THE VOLVO name has long been synonymous with safety but that reputation has been taken to the extreme with its latest model: an armoured variant of the XC90 SUV.
Said to have been built in response to “numerous requests over the past few years” for a ballistics-resistant version of its flagship 4×4 model, Volvo’s appropriately-named “XC90 Armoured (Heavy)” is claimed to offer considerably more firearms protection than the regular car on which it’s based.
The armoured XC90’s “VR8” protection rating, from the European ballistics-proof material certification body VPAM, means the it offers 360-degree bullet protection, as well as blast resistance from explosive devices. VR8 armour should be able to withstand 7.62mm rounds fired from the AK47 rifle, the world’s most popular and widely-used assault rifle.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the arsenal it’s been reinforced to repel, the Volvo XC90 Armoured is more than just a bit heavier than the regular road car. Volvo says the extra protection, including 10mm of steel armour plating on the doors and the 50mm bulletproof windows, add another 1,400kg to the car’s weight — the equivalent kerb weight of an entire Volvo V40 family hatchback
The regular Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription on which the Armoured version is based already tips the scales in its porkiest guise at a hefty 2,329kg, so of course, some serious upgrades were needed to cope with the increased mass.
Volvo and its partner Trasco Bremen (which adds the armour upgrades to the XC90 at its facilities in Germany) have substantially beefed up the SUV’s chassis. These upgrades include fitting uprated suspension, installing more powerful brakes and fitting larger, heavier-duty wheels that can cope with an extra car’s worth of weight.
Not that you’d notice just by looking carefully at the XC40 Armoured from the outside. Volvo says the modifications haven’t compromised the regular XC90’s “distinct, clean Scandinavian design”. The Swedish car maker claims all of the armouring extras are “elegantly integrated and almost invisible from the outside”.
A similar approach has been taken with the interior, too, as the overall cabin architecture is identical, for the most part, to the layout you’ll find in a standard Volvo XC90 in top-spec Inscription trim. There has been one concession, however: the two rearmost chairs on the regular XC90 have been removed, in order to make way for a bulkhead with a concealed escape hatch, should the high profile occupants need to make a discreet exit.
Understandably, all of these extras do come at a considerable cost. Volvo says the XC90 Armoured (Heavy) will set buyers back £450,000, which is more than eight times the base price of a standard, all-wheel drive Volvo XC90 Inscription.
While it’s the only armoured car in Volvo’s line-up for now, the heavy-duty XC90 will be joined by other reinforced Volvos in the coming months. By the middle of next year, the Swedish car maker will start offering lightly-armoured versions of the XC60 and XC90 SUVs, which are claimed to come with around 250kg of extra ballistics bracing.