Obama's 'Beast' limousine: full details

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Obama's 'Beast' limousine: full details

Despite being in service for four years, accompanying Barack Obama on official trips both at home and abroad, little has really been revealed about the President's official state car, dubbed 'The Beast', until now.

In an interview with a Secret Service agent, Autoweek.com has managed to pry some details of world's most famous limousine, and as you may expect, it's rather different to you average hen night transport.

Firstly, there is not one but a total of 12 separate identical limousines, each costing a cool $1million, ready to be pressed into service at a moment's notice.

Secondly, while it may look like a Cadillac (and is badged as such), the car is a ground-up bespoke design by the R&D arm of General Motors in Detroit. The Secret Service went down this route when George W Bush took office, after it found that the weight of the immense amount of armour and other required defensive devices was too much for regular cars to cope with.

Speaking of armour, The Beast wears so much of it that the kerb weight is a staggering 6.8 tonnes – more than three times that of a Range Rover. All this bulk makes the (eight-inch thick) doors so heavy that they are nigh on impossible to open from the inside.

The fuel tank is also armour-plated, and is coated with a special foam which can absorb the petrol – yes The Beast is not a diesel but a V8 'gas' burner – in the case of a rupture.

Obviously, all this extra weight does affect fuel consumption somewhat. The Beast manages just 4.4mpg, which ranks it amongst the thirstiest passenger cars in the world.

At least those passengers will be safe from a chemical attack, thanks to a fully sealed cabin and on-board oxygen supply. The Beast also boasts an armoury in the boot, a built in fire extinguisher system, a night vision camera, encrypted satellite phone and a supply of blood in case the President is injured.

It's also accompanied at all times by armed Secret Service agents and a mechanic, though Bond fans will be disheartened to hear that it doesn't feature any built-in weapons of any kind.