In pics | Fortress on wheels: World leaders and their impenetrable official cars

Heads of states wield immense power. They are the ultimate decision-makers, who primarily drive the country's growth and ensure peoples' well-being. Considering the sensitivity of their office, massive security arrangements are undertaken to keep them safe from any potential threats. One of the important security aspects is travelling.

Official state vehicles are not only a sign of prestige but an important mode of transportation for the VVIPs. 

However, not any ordinary vehicle is inducted into their cavalcade. These cars are heavily customised and fitted with state-of-the-art technologies for the safety and comfort of the occupant.

Here's a list of the super armoured vehicles that are used by world leaders. While some are slick limousines, others are armoured brutes. 

'The Beast'

United States President Joe Biden's official presidential car is Cadillac One, otherwise known as 'The Beast'. It is equipped with night vision cameras, tear gas cannons, a state-of-the-art communication system, a secure oxygen system, an automatic fire extinguishing system, smoke screen president's own blood supply in case of an emergency.

The Beast weighs 9,000 kgs (20,000 pounds) and has an 8-inche thick armour that makes it impenetrable for bullets and explosives as well.

Car's 3-inch thick windows get five-layer glasses and polycarbonate ensuring protection against armour piercing bullets.



'The Sentinel'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson uses the Jaguar XJ called ‘The Sentinel’. It is powered by a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine producing 503 bhp. This engine will take this humongous car from standstill to 60mph in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of speed of 121 miles per hour (195 km/h).

The Sentinel is capable of withstanding a blast equivalent to 15 kilograms of TNT  and sustained gun and grenade attacks. The car's body is made of Titanium, Kevlar—a heat-resistant and strong synthetic fiber—and high-strength steel. Apart from that, the British-made luxury car boasts of bullet-proof glasses and night-vision.

It also has rear massage seats for the comfort of the occupants. 


The Aurus Senat

Russian President Vladimir Putin rides a Russian-made Limo called the Aurus Senat. It is powered by 4.4-litre V8 hybrid engine which churns out 600bhp of  power. 

It is 1.7 feet long and weighs around14,330 pounds (6,500 kgs), It is manufactured by Russian luxury car brand NAMI. The Aurus Senat is claimed to be able to protect the Russian president even if it is submerged completely underwater.

Being the state limousine of Russia, the specifications of the car has not been disclosed.


Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un uses a Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard limousine. It is powered by a V12 engine and produces 517 horsepower.

At roughly 21 feet long, the S600 Pullman is absolutely massive and weighs around 5.6 tons (5,600 kgs). It can withstand 15 kgs of TNT explosion

These cars were smuggled into North Korea in open defiance of UN sanctions intended to ban luxury goods to North Korea.



'The Red Flag'

Hongqi N501 is the official state car of China. Branded as the most expensive car in China, the limousine is used by President Xi Jinping. It can zip from zero to 100kmph speed within just 8 seconds.

Hongqi – meaning “red flag”, a traditional symbol for the Communist Party – is a luxury car brand launched in 1958 by FAW. The oldest Chinese passenger car marque, it had long been the official vehicle for high-ranking government officials and visiting dignitaries in China.

The car is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, and weighs around 3,152 kg. The luxury car is 5-feet tall and 18 feet long and 6.5-feet wide. 

Hongqi N501 is not for sale is a specially made vehicle that is based on the Audi A6L platform.

The exact specification of the car is not available as the government does not release the data.



The fortress on four wheels

The newly elected Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz relies on the armoured Mercedes S680 Guard. The limousine is a fortress on four wheels that couldn’t even crack 12.5 kilos of explosives. At 4.2 tons, the armored S-Class weighs almost twice as much as its civilian counterpart and costs around 544,000 euros, twice as much as a Maybach 680.

The car weighs so much because it has 2 tons of armor and only the windshield weighs 120 kg. The VR10 certification also comes after a test in which 300 bullets were fired at the car without the dummies inside suffering any minor injury. The car also has a fresh air tank to protect passengers in case of irritating gases or smoke.  


BMW 7 series

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison drives a BMW 7 Series limousine officially—which is  referred to as C1. The engine is a 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 making 400kW and 750Nm. BMW says that the car reach 0 to 100km/h in 4.6 second— an impressive feat considering it weights  3,675 kgs. Each of its door alone weighs 250 kgs. Fuel consumption is 11.2 percent higher, at an optimistic-sounding of 14.9L/100km.

It has sensors that can ‘smell’ toxic gases, seal the cabin off and supply up to two hours’ worth of oxygen. It can also douse fires, hide concealed weapons.


DS 7 Crossback Élysée

For his official visits as the President of the France, Emmanuel Macron rides the DS 7 Crossback Élysée. It’s longer by 20cm, and runs on 300bhp plug-in hybrid power and 520 Nm of torque. It pairs two electric motors—one, 13.2 kWh battery pack and another 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It can travel up to 36 miles (58-km) on electricity alone.

The DS 7 Crossback Élysé has a 'Connected Pilot' system which paves the way for autonomous driving, and DS active scan suspension, which uses a camera to anticipate any bumps and undulations in the road surface to ensure the President and other occupants of this vehicle can enjoy a serene ride experience.



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