US President Car The Beast carwitter 1264x840 - A guide to armoured cars - A guide to armoured cars

Car Features

A guide to armoured cars

15 Dec , 2016  

If you often suffer road rage, live in eastern Ukraine, are a mob boss, Bashar al-Assad or a diplomat you may have thought about investing in an armoured car. Or…if you just want to feel like a total baller.

The first armoured cars were seen just before the Boer war in 1902, it was called the Simms’ Motor War Car. It had a top speed of 9 miles an hour and 6mm of armour plating. Powered by a 3.3 litre four cylinder engine it made a massive…16 horsepower. Quick.

Since those days things have come a long way!


US President Car The Beast carwitter 700x483 - A guide to armoured cars - A guide to armoured cars


The most recognisable armoued car in the world is the US Presidents ‘Beast’. Little is known about the official specs, but we do know it has 8 inch armour plating in the doors, each one weighs as much as a 757 cabin door.

It only has one window that opens, the drivers’, and thats only by three inches not the whole way. There’s a five inch reinforced steel plate that runs under the whole car, just in case of bombs. Oh, and those kevlar tyres are puncture, shred and even bomb resistant as there are steel rims underneath so the Beast can keep driving.

All that protection comes at a cost though…max speed of 60 MPH (apparently) and a 0-60 time of 15 seconds. Nobody knows if it’s a diesel or petrol lump under the hood. Cost is a cool $300,000 to $1.5 million dollars, and (apparently) there’s a fleet of 12 at the secret services disposal.


Jaguar XJ Sentinel carwitter 700x447 - A guide to armoured cars - A guide to armoured cars


On the other side of the channel is the UK Prime ministers car, a Jaguar XJ Sentinel, naturally. Powered by a 5.0 litre supercharged V8 it produces 550 BHP, enabling it to out drag the presidents wagon to a top speed of 121 MPH. 0-60 is a rather spritely 9.4 seconds, much slower than the 4.7 seconds the unarmored one can.

You can typically spy a Sentinel from a less XJ by the black banding around the side windows, denoting its bullet proof abilities.

Underneath theres a 13mm explosive resistant steel plate, whilst the bodywork is titanium and kevlar lined. It can withstand 15kg of TNT and is classed as a B7 resilient vehicle.


Jaguar XJ Sentinel Front carwitter 700x846 - A guide to armoured cars - A guide to armoured cars


B7 can withstand a sustained attack, and even stop armour piercing rounds. Protection from an AK47 is classed as B6, so it’s seriously protected.
The full level break down can be found at the bottom of this article.



But, it’s not just bespoke cars like the Presidents Beast, or a crazy steampunkesque Russian made ZiL. You can armour any car you like.

Need a Toyota Hilux for the Sudan, no problem. How about a Tesla Model S, for the eco mobster, sure. Want something really ingocnito? Even a VW Golf can be bulletproofed. Or how about a Range Rover? Sentinel Rangies follow the prime minister and Queen around don’t you know.

There are numerous bespoke companies around the world that can take your pride and joy from a tin can into a Dragunov resilient behemoth…if you have deep pockets.


Range Rover Sentinel Front carwitter 700x525 - A guide to armoured cars - A guide to armoured cars





  • 9mm
  • .38 Special
  • .357 Magnum
  • .44 Magnum
  • 124gr
  • 158gr
  • 158gr
  • 240gr
  • 427 mps / 1400 fps
  • 259 mps / 900 fps
  • 425 mps / 1395 fps
  • 427 mps / 1400 fps
  • National Institue of Justice 3A


  • 7.62X33/.30 CAL Carbine
  •  7.62X39/AK-47
  • 110gr
  • 123gr
  • 600mps / 2200 fps
  • 715 mps / 1400 fps


  • 7.62X51 mm/M-80
  •  .308 Winchester FMJ
  •  5.56X45mm/M-16/193
  • 149gr
  • 150gr
  • 45gr
  • 838 mps / 2750 fps
  • 838 mps / 2750 fps
  • 919 mps / 3250 fps
  • National Institue of Justice 3


  • 30.06 AP (Armor Piercing)
  • 166gr
  • 869 mps/2850 fps
  • National Institue of Justice 4

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By  -  
Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter