For world leaders, the limousine is an important element in making a grand entrance. Queen Elizabeth II travels in her Bentleys while the Emperor of Japan prefers a Toyota Century. Chinese President Xi Jinping usually hits the parade route in a Hongqi L5. German Chancellor Angela Merkel can often be seen climbing into a selection of armored Audi and Mercedes-Benz limos.
However, there are few limousines more recognizable than that of the US President, known simply as "The Beast." For much of the 20th century, various Lincoln limos have been the vehicle of choice for the US President. However, that changed in the early 1980s when the Reagan Administration went with Cadillac. And it's been all Caddy's since then.
The latest version of The Beast debuted in the fall of 2018. Once again, it's a Cadillac. The limo was originally commissioned in 2014 by the Obama Administration but didn't go into service until two years into Trump's presidency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently debuted a new presidential limo of his own called the Aurus Senat. Aurus is a new Russian luxury auto brand that debuted the Senat Limo at the 2018 Moscow International Auto Show.
Here's a closer look at Trump's new Beast limo and Putin's Aurus Senat:
Here it is! Trump's new $1.5 million limo. It's the latest version of The Beast.
It joins the 2009 Cadillac DTS bodied limo used during the Obama years.
The Secret Service uses both the 2009 and the 2018 limo.
The Beast may carry the Cadillac branding, but it has very little in common with the production sedan it's designed to resemble. In fact, the limo is actually built on a General Motors truck chassis.
The US Secret Service does not reveal much detail about The Beast's specs. What we do know is that it's heavily armored, weighs as much as 20,000 pounds, and has room for seven. There have been both gasoline and diesel-powered Beast limos. It's unclear what's under the hood of the current iteration.
Speaking of protection, the limos are designed to be bullet and blast resistant. It's also designed to withstand chemical and biological attacks. Its windows are believed to be three inches thick while its steel and ceramic armor can measure up to eight inches thick. The limos are also equipped with kevlar lined tires and a foam sealed fuel tank.
Inside, the president has access to a state-of-the-art communication system along with the protection of a secure oxygen system and a supply of blood in case of injury.
The Aurus Senat is Russian President Vladimir Putin's new limousine. The Senat made its world debut at the 2018 Moscow International Auto Show.
Aurus is a new Russian luxury auto brand.
The Senat is powered by a 598 horsepower 4.4-liter V-8 engine paired with a hybrid drive system that's mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels. An even more powerful 857 horsepower 6.6-liter hybrid V-12 drive unit is on the way.
The armored Senat is 21.7 feet long and weighs in at 14,330 pounds.
Like The Beast, the presidential Senat is bulletproof and bombproof, the Daily Mail reported. Unfortunately, not much more is known about the Senat's defensive and safety features.
The interior of the Senat is packed with leather and wood accents, along with a modern infotainment system.
The production Aurus Senat is expected to go on sale in 2020 with a reported starting price of $160,000. Naturally, Putin's armored version costs a heck of a lot more.