The Beast: Everything You Need to Know about the President’s Car

Avis had nothing suitable…

The President of the United States is in the UK currently, and that means The Beast is with him. No, we’re not being unkind about Michelle Obama, referring instead to the Cadillac that operates at the state car.

It might resemble a Cadillac CTS, but it’s actually a custom made limousine built on a medium-duty truck chassis. While very little is known definitively about Barack Obama’s transport, for obvious security reasons, lots of details have leaked out of the White House one way or another, so here’s a round-up of exactly what goes into making a car suitable for the World’s most powerful man.

Chassis: Rumoured to be based on the GMC Topkick truck chassis, there is reinforced steel plate running under the length of the car to protect it from grenades or roadside bombs.

Engine: There’s an 6.6-litre diesel V6 available for the GMC truck, which seems the likeliest option fitted to the First Car. While that sounds impressive, the huge weight of the car means performance is best described as steady. A maximum speed of just 60mph means POTUS will take a helicopter to travel longer distances.

Tyres: These look like Goodyear Regional RHS tyres, but reinforced with Kevlar to make them puncture resistant and able to run even while deflated. Steel rims underneath provide strength should the tyre be compromised.

Bodywork: A combination of hardened steel, titanium and ceramics should break up any incoming projectiles, while extra armour up to five inches thick guards against blasts. The doors, even thicker than the bodywork, weigh roughly the same as those on a commercial jet. Only one of the bullet-proof windows open, that of the driver, and even then it’s only by 10cm or so.

Defences: Most defence comes from the cars and trucks that join The Beast on its travels, but the Cadillac contains night vision systems, tear gas cannons and shotguns. Accompanying vehicles include radio jammers and heavy weaponry.

Obama’s Seat: More specifically, the rear compartment that can accommodate four passengers. This is sealed off from the outside world entirely, with its own oxygen supply. Despite being disconnected from the environment, it contains state of the art satellite communication equipment and direct lines to the Vice President and the Pentagon.

Transport: The Beast has its own aeroplane. A C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft has been acquired by the Secret Service to transport the presidential limo from place to place, along with a second limo and a communications SUV.

Presidential State Car [estimated data]
Price: £1,000,000+
Engine: 6.6-litre turbo diesel
Top speed: 60 mph
0-60 mph: 15.0 seconds
Power: 300 PS (296 bhp)
Torque: 705 Nm (520 ft-lb)
Official fuel economy: 8.0 mpg
Road Test economy: N/A
CO2 Emissions: N/A
VED Band: N/A
Car insurance group: N/A
Kerb weight: 9,000 kg
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Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, DAD.info and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.

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