Sometimes a standard car just isn’t enough for certain dignitaries – as seen when Prime Minister David Cameron took delivery of his armour-plated Jaguar XJ earlier this year.
Now sister company Land Rover has got in on the act with this armour-plated behemoth based on the Land Rover Discovery.
Set to be launched in 2011, the SUV offers one of the highest levels of protection to its occupants because of the ballistic-standard steel armour plates and specially strengthened windows.
The armoured Land Rover is so sturdy it can withstand hand grenades, blasts from beneath the car and armour-piercing bullets.
As expected, the vehicle is heavier than a normal 5.0-litre V8 Discovery, but Land Rover has adapted the suspension, dampers and disc brakes to cope with the extra weight.
But what else can be expected on the Land Rover when it is put into employment with world leaders and dignitaries?
Going by the UK Cabinet-level specification for fleet cars, armoured cars can be fitted with run-flat tyres and bullet proof glass. There is also likely to be a separate oxygen supply for the back seats in the case of a gas-based attack.
Other features could also include a fuel cut off override system, underfloor blast protection, self-sealing fuel tank, anti-tamper exhaust and a fire extinguisher system – all features seen on cars used by some of the world’s most influential leaders such as Barack Obama.
While the armoured Land Rover probably won’t feature much of this, the as yet unannounced price is expected to be hefty.
"The new Discovery 4 Armoured offers an outstanding breadth of capability, and enables occupants to travel across challenging terrains in confidence and safety," says John Graham, Commercial Manager Armoured Programs, Land Rover.
The introduction of the armour-plated Land Rover is testament to the Discovery’s flexibility and versatility – not to mention that powerful V8 capable of coping with the weight of the extra protection.
Luckily, the average motorist will have no need to worry about armour piercing bullets on their daily commute, and a standard Discovery should do the job.
Don’t expect to see many armour-plated Land Rovers on UK roads, however – the UK government already has its own fleet of Jaguar XJ Sentinels at its beck and call, featuring the strongest level of ballistic protection available.