By on January 4, 2012

When friends and colleagues ask our counsel on whether or not to buy an older V12 BMW (it happened more than once) the standard answer is always an emphatic “no”. Most people cannot handle the idea of two ECUs (for twice the complexity and repair bills), and for the average Joe looking for a prestigious ride on the cheap (an oxymoron if there ever was one), a V12 BMW is bankruptcy on four wheels.

But when an ad for a car proudly touts the ability to withstand “.357 MAG., 9MM AND .44 MAGNUM AND EQUIVALENT HANDGUN AND LIGHT SUBMACHINE GUN BALLISTICS“, suddenly it becomes very hard to ignore.

Towards the turn of the millenium, BMW offered its own factory armored 7-Series, known as the Protection series. Built between 2000 and 2001, most of them appear to be the big V12 variety but a V8-powered 740i variant was also offered. Now, Bring A Trailer is bringing you the chance to own your very own armored 7-Series, after digging up this Craigslist ad out of Houston, Texas.

In armored car parlance, the ability to stop this level of small arms fire is known as “B4” protection. A car like the 750iL protection is mainly meant to protect against violent crime like robberies and car jackings. At the time of production, this was conceivably what most private citizens in dangerous locales would need. Nowadays, armored cars are more ubiquitous in dangerous locales, but so is the level of firepower and the severity of incidents. Mexican criminal elements (among other actors) now have access to military grade assault weapons, not to mention grenades and other weapons, and a B4 vehicle could be woefully inadequate. BMW offers a current model 760iL that can stop multiple rounds from an AK-47 or M4 type rifle – a sign of just how far things have come.

According to the ad, the 750iL comes with heated front and rear seats, a nav system, park distance control and of course, special wheels for the run-flat tires. The windows look suitably thick, a morbid reminder of just what this car is built for. At $36,500, the car is on the high side for a 12 year old BMW 7-Series, but the vendor is also willing to trade for a boat or an RV.

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27 Comments on “For Sale: Bullet-Proof 2000 BMW 750iL...”

  • avatar

    Those old BMW V12s have THREE ECUs – one for each bank of cylinders and another to coordinate between them.

    But ultimately, a $100K+ car is always a $100K+ car, no matter how cheaply you bought it used. Takes a special owner to run one of these once the years pile on. But still, it is cheaper to run a 10yo V12 BMW than to “pay” the depreciation on a new one. Of course it is cheaper still to burn dollar bills to stay warm in the winter.

  • avatar

    …(trying to think of a witty comment involving the bulletproof nature of the car and apparently non-bulletproof engine)…

  • avatar

    Definitely a nice armored car. But if you live in really dangerous places not even a B6/B7 might be strong enough. Perceived security, at best. Wonder, how such a car handles.

    I’d rather consider a motorcycle. The bad boys might not expect it.

    BTW: What did they do in those times when the car was not even invented? And they had massive security problems then.

  • avatar

    I do like me an E38 LCI with the teardrop headlights however not many enough men wish death upon me for me to consider this undoubtedly hideously heavy beast.

    The same problem that all used big luxobarges suffer from is only compounded by the armor (just too expensive to own/keep running when a 5 series of the same vintage or slightly newer gives you a completely made up by myself 85% of the same experience for considerably less costs).

    Pretty much the only people who migh want one are upwardly mobile drugdealers, so good luck to the vendor, he might need it when that V12 breaks down and the buyer comes to have a little chat about the cost of the repair (then again, what kind of guy sells this kinda car and offers to trade it for a boat in the first place).

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “then again, what kind of guy sells this kinda car and offers to trade it for a boat in the first place”

      It’s obvious. They are looking to reduce their operating costs.

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    … BMW offers a current model 760iL that can stop multiple rounds from an AK-47 or M4 type rifle – a sign of just how far things have come. …

    The AK47 uses a 7.62×39 cartridge that was developed during WWII. The modern M4 more likely than not will use a 5.56 NATO cartridge (as opposed to the .223 flavor), which was developed during the Vietnam War. These aren’t new rifle cartridges or rifles. They’ve been around for a while. I think that the Protection Series would be an effective design able to repel fire from these two rifles also. Or not?

    • 0 avatar

      The example for sale was stated as offering protection from hand gun rounds like 9mm and .357 and “light submachine gun ballistics”…whatever that means. The car was stated as offering B4 armoring which would indicate it would NOT stop the aforementioned rifle cartridge. Maybe BMW offered a more robust armor package? I didn’t see any evidence of that.

    • 0 avatar


      Both 5.56 and 7.62×39 put a massive amount of energy into a target, compared to any handgun round. Those windows would probably be breached after half a magazine from an AK47. And of course, any good carjacker will have access to M855 (which isn’t classed as armor piercing but will still penetrate B4 glass), which is legal to own.

  • avatar

    Depending on your local BMW dealer, you can snag some nifty parts that were originally fitted on this car for your more garden variety E38. Most notably, you can (if you are willing to put in the wrench time) upgrade the brakes on your pleb sedan with the MONSTERS they put on this thing. If you are driving with the default single pot fronts that came on the V8’s, the upgrade can be startling.

    I found a protection model sedan for parts when rebuilding my last 7, and I can tell you that doing a door swap was just kind of silly – the protection model door was at least 30lbs heavier. The glass is significantly thicker too – I believe it was a bonded polymer.

    Nifty car, but not worth the price. CP.

    • 0 avatar

      My cousin once drove an armored Cherokee that had a slapdash job done by some yahoos who merely plated it with Kevlar. He rear ended someone after the inadequate brakes failed to stop the (now much heavier) car. The Cherokee ended up driving over the back of the other car. Now he won’t buy an armored vehicle unless it’s been had ALL of the necessary upgrades, brakes included. It’s not just the armoring that makes these things heavier…

      • 0 avatar

        This car will be much heavier (over 5700 lbs) with the armor plating and bulletproof glass, which means all of the drivetrain components have been working very hard to get and keep this car moving, not to mention the wear on the brakes to get it to stop.

        I worked for a guy who bought a used armored E class; very quiet but the repair bills and fuel use quickly meant that it was parked. It was cheaper to buy a new S550, which is what he did.

        Unless you have a lot of people that really don’t like you I would stay far far away from this money pit in the making.

        Here is another one for sale in case you are in the mood:

  • avatar

    Let me guess, the previous owner was a:

    NBA star
    Israeli Gangster
    Rap Star
    Russian Oligarch
    Mexican Drug Lord

    Would you really wanna buy a used car from any of the above?

    • 0 avatar

      If you make sure you change the number plates to avoid being identified by any of the previous owner’s friends and give the ash-trays and boot carpet a very thorough clean, you’ll be fine.

  • avatar

    How much better is the new one?

  • avatar

    Really, defending against handguns is about all an armored car from a manufacturer would need. If you are worried about groups of men attacking you with assault rifles, you can afford to go to an aftermarket armorer.

    On the other hand, how many SUVs are out there with off road abilities that are never used…

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Just the ride you need for getting through encampments of the anti- Wall street rabble on your way to the boardroom . The engine innards are basically I6 X 2. I think it has 3 ECUs The 3rd synchronizes the ones running each bank. V12s have good secondary balance. They are a really smooth running. Most of the gremlins in my 25 yr old 528es are the quirky electrics. I have a 100 page manual for its electrical system. I also know a guy from Long Island who is familiar enough with the car and the manual, that he has identified several bits of errata in the manual. So I’m comfortable with the car. But, I wouldnt touch any BMW made after ’95. Just saying is all. Ive seen 10 yr old BMWs going for 2K$ that were once 75K when new. If you cant budget for the maintenance, then you are screwed. So the car is on a downward spiral as the multitude of minor troubles grows until the car finally succumbs to neglect. It is the way of all cars, but a neglected saloon is especially depressing.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I’LL TAKE IT! For $3000 so I have money left over for an engine/transmission swap. I rarely say this but LS-X FTW!

  • avatar

    Is this the one James Bond drove from the back seat with the smartphone… into the Avis office…?

    • 0 avatar

      No that one was pre LCI. But to be on the safe side you’re right, better let a skilled mechanic judge all the panel gaps and paint differences to check if it’s been in an accident.

  • avatar

    Why pick this junk over a new Genesis at the same price?

  • avatar

    Because pulling out a pistol and shooting your new Genesis won’t impress your friends in the same way this will!

  • avatar

    As the owner of a 2002 E39 540iP Protection I can say that this is one great car. The extra weight is only 56kgs which has been compensated for by being a 4 seater instead of a 5 seater. The additional weight comes from the heavier glass (laminations of glass and polycarbonate) and the runflat wheels which allow the vehicle to drive for an hour at 80kph after the tyres have been shot out. The bullet-proofing is provided by Kevlar rather than thicker steel. In fact the front passenger windows do operate although the rear windows are fixed. The project is the result of a total re-engineering so that the car drives and handles like a regular 540. The engine is slightly more powerful, the drive-train has been beefed up and the suspension and brakes have been modified. This is one amazing car and is low maintenance – only had a viscofan and radiator replacement in the two years since I purchased it.Current odometer is 29000 Kms. BTW I live in Brazil which is why I have the car!

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