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Presidential & Prime Ministerial Cars: The Good And The Bad

We take a look at the different presidential cars used around the world. There’s some boring ones, wacky ones and some admittedly quite cool ones.

France

Although Sarkozy is seen in many different cars, this Peugeot 607 Paladine is our favourite. Chic and sophisticated, the Peugeot was used by President Sarkozy for his inauguration ceremony in 2007. A total one-off, it features a partially retractable metal roof, 3.0 litre V6 engine, and Herms designed interior, along with just about every conceivable extra imaginable. Its a classic piece of nationalistic motoring which shows the best that France has to offer.
Verdict: An appropriate choice. Having said that, it would be interesting to see Sarkozy ditch his chauffeur and arrive at formal occasions in a Bugatti with Carla Bruni in the passenger seat! It would certainly be a classy way to fulfil a lazy national stereotype.

United Kingdom

Smart, understated and armoured, this Jaguar seems to have all the relevant areas covered. It even has its own internal oxygen supply just in case things get nasty. Although some will argue that modern Jaguar is barley British, the car does show that Britain has at least some sense of style, as the designer, Ian Callum, is a Scot. Anyway, the unmodified version of this XJ has a 9.1 buzzScore, so quibbling over foreign ownership really seems a bit silly. The only fault we can find is that the XJ is better to drive than to be driven in. If you like the idea of owning an armoured Jaguar with a few extra gadgets, then visit mod-sales.com, where you can buy an ex-service model for around 15,000.
Verdict: A safe choice. Yet if Mr Cameron really wanted to show off British engineering, then the Bentley Mulsanne might have been a wiser choice.

United States of America

This is, perhaps, the most famous presidential car in the world. Its known as the The Beast and is composed of Cadillac and GMC components. It boasts a hefty layer of armour; so much, apparently, that only the internal speakers tell Obama that the outside world is making any noise! This Cadillac also has the ability to go on the offensive by firing teargas from its bumper. However, the mixture of armour, chrome and Escalade bits and bobs has left this car looking gaudy and sinister as opposed to stately or classic.
Verdict: The Beast is bang on the mark. It is, in a sense, an American caricature: unashamedly big, brash and glitzy. It also happens to be rather ridiculous. For instance, whilst touring Ireland in May this year, the beast caught its belly on a driveway, prompting speculation on the internet that a terrorist curb had been created!

Italy

Silvio Berlusconi is able to travel in style in this wonderful Maserati Quattroporte. Armoured, of course, it looks stunning. Like many other state cars, it features small flag masts on the front so that hes able to make an appropriately grand entrance to any event. Yet it is a triumph of style over substance as its buzzScore of 7.8 indicates. Rumour has it that Maserati actually gave the Italian government a fleet of these cars. Thats quite a perk!
Verdict: A prime ministerial car should, above all, tell you something about the nation it represents. In this respect, the Quattroporte scores full marks. The only problem is that the normal version already lacked space in the rear seats, meaning that the addition of armour has probably made it a relatively cramped working environment.

Russia

Expensive, faceless and heavily armoured, Dmitri Medvedevs Mercedes S600 Pullman Guard is very apt. On that note, its worth mentioning that Mercedes caters for this market so well that it has managed to drain the automotive imagination of many other nations as well. The distinguishing feature of this car, though, is the seating arrangement. The four seats in the back face one another, meaning that the President, his secretary, his interpreter and guest can all work effectively. Other gadgets include a retractable 19 inch monitor and a switchable glass partition for extra privacy.
Verdict: Faultless but annoyingly unimaginative.

Zimbabwe

For a man who fears neo-colonialism, Robert Mugabe weirdly seems to embrace the paraphernalia associated with the old British order.
Verdict: Its an outdated mode of transport for an outdated mode of politics.
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