To build a Range Rover Sentinel, Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations team starts with a maxed-out Range Rover Autobiography edition like the one we drove, then adds six-piece super high-strength steel passenger protection cell, bulletproof glass, run-flat tires, self-sealing gas tank, back-up battery and tamper-resistant exhaust system. The result is certified to protect occupants against 33 lbs. (15 kg) of TNT against the doors, grenade explosions beneath the floor or atop the roof and gunfire from 7.62mm high velocity, armor piercing incendiary bullets.
"I would sum this vehicle up in three words," observed Damien Wilson, senior program manager for Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. "Luxurious. All-terrain. Fortress." The SVO team is also responsible for building a Land Rover Defender specially outfitted for transporting the Rugby World Cup Trophy.
Optional equipment includes fire suppression systems for the cabin and engine bay, siren, warning lights and P.A. system. In the event the Sentinel is trapped by ambush so the doors are blocked, it includes an emergency escape system out the rear of the vehicle. Hopefully the wizards of Land Rover's Oxford Road facility are also working on a truly Bond-worth ejection seat system for future editions.
The Sentinel's brakes, springs and electronic stability control system are all revised to compensate for the added weight of the armor, and Land Rover offers a driver training program to ensure that drivers are best able to exploit the vehicle's capabilities.
Visually, the Sentinel is almost unchanged from production Range Rovers, so owners won't announce their use of protection to bystanders. If you want to ride like a head of state, you'd better start saving now.