BMW is proud of its new BMW 7 Series, which is finally available again as a tank model after a painful product gap in its predecessor. But that’s not all: the heavily armored BMW seven-series, with which the biggest business owners, politicians and endangered personalities go from appointment to appointment with the best possible protection, is not only available with a 530 hp V8 turbo engine and all-wheel drive, but for the first time also as a fully electric version BMW i7 xDrive 60 Protection. Those politicians who want to cut a good figure when it comes to green external impact can be particularly happy about this. Shortly before the date of the heavily armored sedan in electric or hybrid models – that is now a thing of the past. You will arrive straight to the appointment with zero local emissions and well secured. Security for the person being protected, relaxation for the bodyguards and the photos are also right.

But such a heavily armored vehicle also needs to be moved in a species-appropriate manner, because with a model like the BMW i7 / 760i Protection with protection class VR9/10 or the BMW Apart from its appearance, it doesn’t have much in common with the unarmored luxury sedan. Centimeter-thick panes, bulletproof tires and doors that weigh around 200 kilograms each ensure that there is no danger to those inside when fired at with precision rifles, bombs and grenades. The seven-piece weighs around 4.5 tons with its heavy armor and must be able to be moved in a species-appropriate manner if the worst comes to the worst. Steering, braking and handling are completely different to a production model.

BMW therefore offers multi-stage personal protection training for the drivers of such safety limousines several times a year. When it comes to the participants themselves, the car manufacturer is far less willing to provide information than when it comes to its new products. After all, it is known that a large number of international special units use these training courses to professionalize the professional handling of protected persons and vehicles. The other course participants are mostly drivers for high-ranking politicians, business leaders or ambassadors – in short, chauffeurs for anyone who is exposed to a corresponding risk. And even if the terror of the RAF, ETA or Red Brigades has withdrawn from large parts of Europe, things are very different in many parts of the world. And in this country too, the danger situation for numerous personalities is more present than ever.

No wonder that not only armored vehicles but also their bodyguards are enjoying ever-increasing demand. The training itself takes place at disused airports or sometimes on former barracks sites. “We offer these training courses not only in Germany, but also directly at customers’ offices abroad,” explains Dieter Schöner, one of the responsible trainers. Dieter Schöner worked for the police in various roles for several decades – he knows what it takes to be a good bodyguard and has been training them professionally for almost 25 years.

The multi-day program is intensive, strenuous and mistakes are eliminated immediately, because in real everyday life it is a matter of life and death. Dodge into the narrow pylon alley at 110 km/h or in professional mode even at 130 km/h. To make the whole thing a challenge, stun grenades are set off during the individual exercises, fireballs are released or the vehicles are shot at with paint guns without notice in order to stress the drivers. Many of the exercises at night are even more demanding. Stalking in a lightless crawl, evading at high speeds or breaking through barriers – everything is on the agenda.

What should you do if the only clear way out of the dangerous situation is significantly narrower than the width of the vehicle? Full throttle and just break through – it’s a good thing that the participants had switched to a few older armored vehicles beforehand, because it would have been a shame without the new BMW i7 Protection. But in a few years, personal protection training will probably face the same fate as a barrier or armored battering ram. Last but not least, it is important to make the course participants’ inhibitions disappear. At best, every action must be automated in a fraction of a second. Therefore it is repeated – again and again and again.

The participants continually change vehicles between exercises in order to remain flexible and be able to adapt. With the armored BMW The soft sand takes its toll on the armor, which weighs over 800 kilograms, while driving, as does the twisting or tilting position. “Always stay on the gas – as slowly as possible, as quickly as necessary,” says Reinhard Endreß, one of the instructors, into the radio.

He was also in the police force for many years and once again shows the course participants how to avoid high speeds – again and again. “It’s easiest to work with the special units,” says the Bavarian, “they know exactly what it’s about, listen carefully and know their limits. Here, as trainers, we benefit from the smell of our stable and these participants perceive the content differently.”