Presidents, world dignitaries and the rich and powerful in general now have a new choice when it comes to protective vehicles, with Land Rover launching a new ‘Armored’ edition of its LR4 SUV (Discovery in other markets). Coming in for the 2011 model year, the latest armored SUV offers the same off-road prowess the Land Rover brand is famous for but is also rated at one of the highest level of civilian protection, levels BR6 and FB6.

Thanks to ballistic steel armor and special glazing of the windows, the 2011 Land Rover LR4 Armored can withstand blasts from 33 pounds of TNT (or equivalent), two DM51 hand grenades and even armor-piercing rounds from machine guns. The armoring was conducted by safety specialists Centigon.

Under the hood is the familiar 5.0-liter V-8 found in the regular LR4, complete with the same 375 horsepower. Teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine will accelerate the big SUV from 0-62 mph in around 10.6 seconds.

Comprehensive engineering changes were made, however, to the base vehicle to ensure that it maintained optimum ride and handling on all surfaces, despite the additional mass of the armor.

The LR4 Armored chassis features independent air suspension, and modifications that include uprated air springs and retuned dampers, larger diameter anti-roll bars, and heavy duty Alcon disc brakes front and rear. Additionally, the vehicle still benefits from a 1,100 pound payload.

The 2011 Land Rover LR4 Armored is on sale now.

[Land Rover]