Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is using a new BMW armoured car as his regular mode of transportation and according to German manufacturer BMW, it’s the “first vehicle specifically designed to protect against the world’s most widely used firearm, the AK-47”.
The BMW 7 Series, valued at at around $500,000, is part of a fleet of high security vehicles first used to transport world leaders at last year’s G20 Summit held in Brisbane. The cars were purchased by the government for $6.3 million to replace the ageing prime ministerial Holden Caprice limousines.
Former Prime Minister and Abbott mentor John Howard bought the previous 2003 V-8 Holden fleet, which was custom-built to include armoured flooring, protected fuel tanks and bulletproof doors and windows.
Abbott pulled up in his new ride at the Prime Minister’s XI cricket match in Canberra on Wednesday. When not serving goverment officials, the new fleet will be made available for visiting dignitaries.
Here’s what BMW had to say about the many security features of the V-12 7 series:
The BMW 7 Series High Security is the world’s first armoured saloon to be fully tested in accordance with the class VR7 ballistic protection standard.
Perfect protection means being ready for all eventualities: this is why our engineers are always coming up with new solutions designed for different scenarios.
Be it a fire in the engine compartment or under the vehicle, tear gas on the streets, or a jammed door; in the BMW 7 Series High Security you can be confident your vehicle can handle it. Safety features include an on-board fire-fighting system, an emergency exit and an emergency fresh-air system.
Other safety features include tyres that remain inflated even when punctured, a self-sealing petrol tank, an attack alarm and an intercom system that allows the occupants to communicate with people outside without having to open the doors.
The tender for the vehicles sparked political debate last year, when Labor questioned why Australian manufacturer Holden wasn’t considered for the contract.
Here are some other political leaders’ armoured vehicles: