Friday, July 19, 2024

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SVI reveals new rapid-response hot hatch

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The scourge of cash-in-transit and other violent criminal attacks have prompted SVI Engineering to develop an armoured rapid-response vehicle for South Africa.

This innovative solution, revealed at Securex 2024 this week, is based on Volkswagen’s popular Golf 8 GTI hot hatch, which SVI adapted to withstand handgun and rifle fire. It offers protection against 7.62×39 mm calibre bullets, including the pervasive AK-47 assault rifle.

“Hot hatches are usually suited to rapid-response duties but are generally available only with level B4 protection, leaving occupants vulnerable to higher ballistic threats,” said Nicol Louw, SVI business development director. “Our solution with the AK-47 Golf 8 GTI is the fastest way to reach an in-progress crime without compromising on ballistic protection.”

The VW hot hatch comprises discreetly integrated, custom-fabricated level B4+ body armour and special ballistic glass. As Louw explained, the kit fitment adds only 340 kilogrammes to the vehicle and can be applied to both front-wheel drive Golf 8 GTI and all-wheel drive Golf 8 R models.

This was achieved using 3.5 mm armoured steel plating and revolutionary lightweight ballistic glass. SVI claims the glass is rated to stop AK-47 shots in a relatively small area.

“To ensure the highest level of protection, our engineers excluded composites from the design, relying instead on high-grade armoured steel in the doors, pillars and even the roof,” Louw stated. “The kit also incorporates a neat rear bulkhead solution, supplemented by a video camera continuously feeding to the rear-view mirror.”

He said critical powertrain components are armour protected and the suspension springs are uprated. The total armouring package has minimal impact on the powerful vehicle’s acceleration and handling.

“We are confident this is the ideal urban rapid-response solution for South Africa, which is also an excellent option as a pursuit vehicle or non-transporting emergency medical services (EMS) vehicle,” Louw concluded.

SVI Engineering is also showing a discreet armoured BMW that has been subject to extensive ballistic trials with more than 400 bullets fired into the body and windows. Other vehicles on display are an up-armoured Toyota bakkie (pick-up) and a powerful armoured anti-riot vehicle boasting an automatic transmission gearbox.

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