Locally built X3 gets BMW AG certification for armour

The latest vehicle in South Africa to get a ‘bullet proof vest’ from SVI Engineering, is the locally built BMW’s X3 M40i.

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A new BMW-approved protection package for the Rosslyn-built X3 M40i, marks the very first time that BMW AG has performed an armouring certification on the African continent.

Fulfilling the requirements of ballistic resistance class NIJ Level IIIA (comparable to B4) and thus providing protection against handguns (including 9 mm and .44 Magnum), the armoured X3 M40i joins the German automaker’s local range after undergoing extensive ballistic and durability testing right here in South Africa, in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines.

As such, the SVI-armoured X3 M40i can now be ordered – and financed – directly from any BMW dealership nationwide, with the standard manufacturer warranty and maintenance plan remaining completely intact.

“This project represents the first time that BMW AG has performed an armouring certification on the African continent. The result is a vehicle that can withstand attacks up to .44 Magnum from different directions and angles,” says Dr Daniel Huber, BMW AG engineer for armoured vehicles, who travelled from Munich to South Africa for the extensive testing process.

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The painstaking certification, which was overseen by Beschussamt Munich, an independent German authority on ballistic testing, involved a completed X3 test vehicle being subjected to more than 400 shots – including taking fire from above at an angle of 45 degrees. After successfully meeting the requirements, the SVI-developed special-protection X3 has become the only armoured vehicle in South Africa officially tested to the stringent NIJ Level IIIA standard.

The bespoke 360-degree armouring package is completely concealed, making the armoured X3 M40i (which benefits from generous peak outputs of 285 kW and 500 Nm, courtesy of the standard turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six petrol engine) extremely difficult to distinguish from a standard model – from inside or outside the vehicle.

Once a customer places an order for an armoured X3 M40i at any BMW dealership around the country, the standard model built at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn is sent to SVI Engineering’s facility in Bashewa. The armouring conversion is then carried out according to strict production standards defined by the BMW Group.

SVI’s BMW-approved NIJ Level IIIA armouring package for the X3 M40i is priced at R879 800 (excluding VAT and the cost of the base vehicle). The project’s build time comes in at approximately three months.

The X3’s standard two-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and its five-year/100 000 km maintenance contract remain completely intact, while SVI provides an additional one-year/50 000 km warranty on the armouring conversion.

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