The new limousine is has been in development since 2013, when the contract was awarded to General Motors. It was supposed to be ready for President Trump's inauguration, but delivery was postponed. The new Beast will be ready later this year, MA reported.
The US presidential vehicles, all nicknamed "The Beast" since the presidency of George W. Bush, are built in high secrecy, in order to prevent vital information from falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately for car enthusiasts, models also destroyed under the supervision of the Secret Service after they're decommissioned. So very little is known about the upcoming vehicle.
What is known is that, despite looking like a classy sedan, the car is in fact built atop a truck chassis to handle the weight of extensive armoring. Every piece is reinforced — "from the roof down to the tread of the tires," to keep the president safe, according to MA.
"The panels are likely to be made from a mix of materials including steel, aluminum, titanium and ceramic to help break up projectiles aimed at the car," the report reads.
But here's where things get really cool. The current model also boasts rocket-propelled grenades, night vision optics, a tear gas cannon and "multi-spectrum infrared smoke grenades as a counter-measure to a rocket-propelled grenade attack or anti-tank missiles," the Daily Mail reported in 2011. It also has a batch of conventional pump-action shotguns in case things go really bad.
The new limo is said to weight between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds (6,800 to 9,100 kg). It's heavy, so it can only reach about 60 mph (97 km/h) and only achieves 3.7 to 8 miles per US gallon of fuel (64 to 29 L/100 km).
The total development cost is unknown, but as of January 2016, GM has received almost $16 million for its development. Each car is thought to cost between 1 and $1.5 million, and the manufacturer will supply a handful to the Secret Service, since at least two cars are used at a time in the presidential motorcade, to make it more difficult to guess which car actually carries the president.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also expected to receive a new presidential limo later this year. Developed under codename Project Kortezh, it is a joint development by a number of Russian car and truck manufacturers — and, of course, we are looking forward to comparing the two limos.