What is the Range Rover Sentinel, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official car?

It’s not just a nasty spec for a luxury SUV, it’s got armor and blast protection, too.

Each head of state travels in a specialized vehicle that offers “extra” protection to its occupants, often camouflaged as an ordinary luxury car. For the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, the vehicle in question is the Range Rover Sentinel.

In the UK, the best departmental vehicle of the last two decades was the latest iteration of the Jaguar XJ at the time. However, with the luxury sedan out of production and the new electric in some time, it was replaced by an SUV from its sister brand, Land Rover. Let’s go over some of the key details about the Sentinel that make it different from the regular Range Rover:

Big engine, but not fast

Range Rover Sentinel

It has a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine that makes 380bhp, compared to the 565bhp you’ll get from the same engine in the Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate. It’s probably detuned to improve range to avoid frequent dropouts. It has a claimed 0-60 mph time of 10.4 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 120 mph, making it slower than the new Mahindra XUV700.

heavy protection

Range Rover Sentinel side

The Range Rover Sentinel is specially designed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations to combine comfort and protection, literally. It comes with full 360 degree armor and uses armored glass all around (has the ability to stop high velocity armor piercing shells) making the SUV virtually bulletproof.

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Its sides, roof and subfloor meet European standards for armor protection and have the ability to withstand blasts even from unconventional improvised explosive devices (IEDs). All that protective material adds over a ton to the weight of the car, necessitating the high-performance engine under the hood.

A specialized configuration

The Sentinel also gets all-terrain tires with a run-flat system. This allows the vehicle to travel 50 km at 80 km/h even after the tires have punctured. Land Rover has also upgraded its suspension and chassis to support a weight of over 4.4 tonnes. The Sentinel has the option of a specially configured front window, which will only roll a maximum of 150mm for giving or receiving documents, and even has a sound system.

However, none of this can be discerned by the average person when viewing this car from the outside. The only noticeable visual changes are the flashing LED lights tastefully housed in its bumpers, and the optional Black Pack to make it even more serious.

A “normal” cabin

Range Rover Sentinel Cabin

Inside the Sentinel, there’s nothing out of the ordinary. There are no leaked details of secret compartments with specialized weapons or remote terminals for classified access. After all, it’s supposed to be the ride for heads of state who must arrive at each location in a calm and relaxed state to counter their high-stress duties. In its updated form, the luxury armored SUV has more space, increased headroom and dual 10-inch touchscreen infotainment displays for rear occupants.

Other cars for the British Prime Minister to choose from

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

If the British Prime Minister is allowed to travel in a car from his personal collection, then Rishi Sunak would have a choice of a few. Most reports suggest the Conservative PM is offering a selection of quite practical cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTI, a Jaguar XJL and a Land Rover Discovery.

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