Leading South African Luxury Armoured Car builder Armormax have just completed a MINI Countryman in B4 format for one of their customers. The myth that an armoured car needs to be a large, intimidating SUV or sedan has once again been debunked by the Randburg based firm.
Marketing Manager Michael Broom explains “Our client is not new to armoured cars and has had many different cars from different manufacturers over the years. Being a car enthusiast and a certified petrolhead, this client takes particular care to choose cars to suit different moods and requirements with only one prerequisite- we must be able to armour it. When the desire came about for a compact performance vehicle with reasonable practicality, the John Cooper Works Countryman came out at the top of the list. This is the only armoured MINI in South Africa that we are aware of, and certainly the first we have built.”
Despite preconceptions, the size of a vehicle makes no difference to Armormax. Their global standards in manufacturing and bespoke craftmanship mean that their skills can be applied to almost any make and model of vehicle. Ballistic glass replaces all the standard glass in a custom fit that looks no different to an unarmoured car. You would be hard pressed to pick this out as different to any other MINI Countryman on the road just by looking at it.
The B4 offers protection against handguns up to a .44 Magnum. All doors, panels, pillars and any other exposed area has been armoured with a lightweight ballistic composite providing an impenetrable barrier between occupants and would-be attackers. With an added weight of just 170kg, there is no noticeable effect on performance or dynamics allowing the driver to enjoy the all-wheel drive and 225 kW under foot to its full potential. The cost of the package fitted to the MINI is R740 000 including VAT.
Alongside the MINI, Armormax are also showing off their first Rosslyn-built BMW X3 with the same B4 armouring package. Having built X3’s in the past, Armormax were eager to see if a locally built vehicle was any different to an imported one. “Because of our production process, see the difference in build quality between different manufacturers. Nothing can hide from us. We are impressed, and not surprised, that the locally built X3 is built as well as any other BMW is anywhere else in the world” says Michael Broom.
BMW Group South Africa recognises and acknowledges Armormax as a premium and luxury vehicle armourer and as such has a special arrangement with the firm with regards to Motorplan and Warranty. Where most aftermarket modifications and fitments could render a Motorplan cancelled, any vehicle armoured by Armormax has its Motorplan put into a suspensive state. As BMW Group South Africa puts it ‘The reason for this is that it is then possible for our dealer network to identify these vehicles and pay special attention to them. Should the vehicle go into a dealership for work to be done, there will be an analysis on whether parts were damaged due to the vehicle modification or through normal wear and tear. Should there be agreement that the parts that are due to be replaced fall into our normal wear and tear parameters, we will then honour the service and warranty work under the Motorplan. This is entirely at the discretion of BMW South Africa.’ Incidentally, in all the years that Armormax has been armouring any of BMW’s products, not one Motorplan has been cancelled or any claim for work rejected, as per BMW.