Obama rolls into London aboard 8-tonne 'Beast'

Given that the Autoblog UK office is filled with wannabe F1 test drivers, stately limousines appeal to us about as much as an episode of Glee, but President Obama's so-called 'Beast' is a little bit different.

In the age of international terrorism and eastern oligarchs, armoured limos are as commonplace as bull-necked security men, but the heavyweight Cadillac is a cut well above the competition.

The 18ft long car isn't just designed to stop bullets, its five-inch thick bodywork is directly derived from battlefield armour, which means the Beast gets the kind of ceramic metal matrix originally designed to stop a tank round.

As a result, its doors are said to weigh about the same as a cabin door on a Boeing 757. Of course the President doesn't have to worry about opening them himself as his car is always flanked by a small army of Secret Service personnel.

Despite already being armed to the teeth, Obama's bodyguards can also call on the Beast's internally mounted pump-action shotguns and teargas cannons.

Up front the chauffeur will have been through more driver training than a nuclear submarine's helmsman. He or she will be able to J-turn the 8-tonne Cadillac in cul-de-sac, and can rely on run-flat Kevlar-reinforced tyres which never shred or puncture.

The occupants need not worry about a gas attack either. The Beast has its own oxygen supply, and can be completely sealed in the event of an airborne threat.

And if anything does get through all that, there's also thought to be a supply of the President's blood aboard should Obama require an emergency transfusion.

It's all very impressive (and deeply cool) but then so is the price. The 6.5-litre Cadillac is believed to weigh in with a price tag of over $1m. Still, that's a snip compared to the £110,000 an hour it costs the American taxpayer to keep Air Force One in the air.

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