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KINSHASA, CONGO - JANUARY 31: (EDITOR NOTE: STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY - NO MERCHANDISING) Pope Francis leaves the “Ndjili” International Airport in the popemobile to the Garden of the Palais de la Nation for a meeting with the authorities, civil society and diplomatic corps on January 31, 2023 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Pope Francis has arrived in Kinshasa, as he begins his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo, beginning his 40th Apostolic Journey abroad and his fifth Journey to Africa. The Holy Father will first visit the nation from 31 January to 3 February, following in the footsteps of Pope St. John Paul II, who visited there in 1980 and 1985.   Photo by Vatican Media, Getty Images
KINSHASA, CONGO: Pope Francis leaves the “Ndjili” International Airport in the Popemobile to the Garden of the Palais de la Nation for a meeting with the authorities, civil society and diplomatic corps on 31 January 2023. Photo by Vatican Media, Getty Images

Creativity in Motion: 7 Armored Vehicles that Show the Range of Reinforcement

The global armored vehicle market is projected to grow from $18.08 billion in 2021 to $27.83 billion in 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights. Most of these vehicles are used in combat zones for military purposes and include armor to protect against improvised explosive devices, missiles, weapons, shrapnel, and projectiles.

But there are also manufacturers that sell vehicles that have been reinforced for civilian security purposes, as well as those that build luxury armored vehicles.

What Features Do Armored Vehicles Have?

  1. Ballistic glass

  2. Chassis armor, such as ballistic standard steel-plate covers

  3. Reinforced roofs and undercarriages

  4. Run-flat tires, which allow the vehicle to move forward even when punctured

  5. Modified suspensions and engines to handle extra weight

  6. Reinforced bumpers

  7. Cargo capacity for executive protection agents and clients

What Are Some Stand-Out Armored Vehicles?

Range Rover Sentinel. Similar to the Land Rover model favored by the British Royal family, the Range Rover Sentinel is built by the Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations Team. It is:

  • Certified to withstand a 33-pound bomb exploding less than seven feet away

  • Features ballistic glass capable of stopping an AK-47 round

  • Equipped with run-flat tires

  • Has a sealed tailgate with an escape hatch out of the rear glass

  • Comes with a bullhorn

  • Upgradable for white lights and sirens

While weightier than the stock option, the Sentinel can still perform off-road under the power of a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine. It does, however, take 9.8 seconds to reach 60mph.


The Rezvani Vengeance. This luxury armored vehicle built by Rezvani recently appeared in the Chris Pratt Amazon Prime show The Terminal List. The collectible vehicle has 690 brake horsepower with 673lb feet of torque, and it is also upgradable to include a $95,000 Military Pack that includes:

  • Ballistic glass

  • Body armor for vehicle occupants

  • Underside explosive protection

  • Smoke screen capability

  • Run-flat tires

  • Thermal night vision system

  • Electrified door handles

  • Sirens and horn options

  • Magnetic dead bolts

  • Electromagnetic pulse protection

The thermal night vision system is handy for drivers, especially when pulling up to a home or drop-off point because it can alert them that someone might be hiding outside the vehicle, says Cynthia Garcia, head of public relations for Rezvani.


AddArmor’s Audi RS7. Wyoming-based armored vehicle company AddArmor modified an Audi RS7 to create what it calls the fastest armored vehicle in the world. Its version of the Audi features:

  • Composite armor

  • Reinforced roof

  • Pepper spray dispensers

  • Electric shock on door handles

  • Outside loudspeakers and sirens

“Because composite can be formed and fitted to the most exacting dimensions, installations requires no butchery of the bodywork that is either ugly or a signal to street criminals that something is out of the ordinary,” according to Forbes’ review of the vehicle. “Climbing into this Audi RS7, only a security professional or someone intensely interested in cars will notice that the black window surrounds are more than two inches thick. Neat and tidy.”


The Popemobile. Introduced in 1930 as a custom Mercedes-Benz Nurburg 460 to carry Pope Pius XI, the Popemobile has since become one of the most well-known armored vehicles in the world. Various manufacturers have made the Popemobile, including Toyota, Fiat, and Land Rover, but the vehicle itself is recognizable for its common features:

  • A standing platform in the rear of the vehicle, allowing the pope to be seen in public

  • Ballistic glass

  • Security detail that rides in and walks around the vehicle itself

Pope Francis is especially interested in Popemobiles that are efficient and environmentally friendly. In 2021, for instance, electric vehicle manufacturer Fisker met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to explore building a green Popemobile.


Trasco’s Aston Martin DBIII. German-based armored vehicle provider Trasco Bremen modified an Aston Martin DBII with its A-KIP (anti-kidnapping) level four lightweight armor capable of stopping rifle fire and small arms. The DBIII features:

  • Ballistic glass

  • Lightweight armor

“This concept is designed to protect the vehicle occupants using only certified ballistic materials such as ballistic steel combined with composite materials which are fitted inside the doors and Level 4 Certified Ballistic Glass all-round. The additional weight of armoring is less than 150kg—the gross vehicle weight remains unchanged,” according to Trasco. “Therefore, there is no compromise of the vehicle’s performance or comfort characteristics.”


The Beast. The U.S. Secret Service dubbed the president’s Cadillac armored limo “the Beast” during George W. Bush’s presidency, and the monicker has stuck through several different models.

Most features of the Cadillac limousine that U.S. President Joe Biden regularly travels in are classified. But the vehicle does have these modifications:

  • Ballistic glass designed to withstand armor piercing bullets

  • Military grade armor to reinforce the body of the vehicle

  • Night vision cameras

  • Run-flat tires

  • Emergency medical response supplies

  • Internal air supply capability

The vehicle itself reportedly cost $1.5 million to make, and The Irish Times reports it includes its “own internal air supply, and carries packets of the president’s blood type in a chilled compartment so that he or she can be given an emergency transfusion if needed.”


Bernard Arnault’s Peugeot 205 GTI. Bernard Arnault is chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy. He’s also the richest man in the world who, until 2009, owned an armored Peugeot 205 GTI. Arnault bought the car—a small hatchback that is not typically used to transport executives—in 1990 so he could drive around inconspicuously.

The “hot hatch” vehicle featured:

  • Sheet metal body panels

  • Ballistic glass

  • Reinforced brakes

  • Modified suspension

The modifications gave the Peugeot a “level 2 ballistics rating, meaning the 205 GTI could protect the billionaire from most handgun calibers,” according to The Drive. “Unfortunately, this safety comes at a cost, and the little hot hatch weighs a portly 3,087 pounds, compared to its original (loaded) weight of 2,246 pounds.”

Megan Gates is editor-in-chief of Security Technology. Connect with her at [email protected] or on LinkedIn. Follow her on Twitter: @mgngates.