One of the perks of being the head of state of a major country is that you normally receive a heavily armored albeit still plush limo to ride in.
And when we're talking nations the size of the United States and Russia, you'll find the leaders often receive standalone models that you won't see in a showroom.
Case in point are the new presidential limos being readied for President Trump and Putin, both of which are expected to enter service this summer. Prototypes for both have been spotted testing in the past 12 months.
New ‘Beast’ Cadillac limousine for President Trump spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Trump's limo has been in development since at least 2013, when construction contracts were awarded to General Motors. It was due for Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 but couldn’t be delivered as development wasn't complete (he's been using Obama's limo in the meantime). Fox News has since learned that the U.S. Secret Service has now taken delivery of the vehicle and that it should be out and about by late summer.
Cadillacs have been used to transport the President of the United States since the 1980s, but since the administration of George W. Bush the cars have been custom creations based on truck platforms. Because of their size and strength, the cars have earned the Beast nickname.
For security reasons, details are a tightly guarded secret. However, from spy shots we know the vehicle will likely resemble Cadillac's current flagship sedan, the CT6.
Russian presidential limo (Kortezh) spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Meanwhile, Russia Today has learned that the limo being developed for President Putin of Russia will be delivered to Russia's equivalent of the U.S. Secret Service by the end of April, meaning we should see it in service this summer as well.
We first learned of the Russian limo in 2014 when a series of concepts were unveiled. Known as Project Kortezh, the limo has been developed by a consortium of Russian automakers and recently passed its final round of crash testing. Additional variants, including an SUV and possibly a minivan, are also planned.
During the Soviet era, the leaders used domestically produced cars like the ZiL-41047 for state purposes, but from 1991 they switched to imported models, mostly from Germany. The aim of Project Kortezh to show that Russia can develop a presidential limo just as safe and as reliable as any other country.