Make way for the engaging black beast that is the staple modern-day chariot in the convoys that ferry heads of state across the planet.
The latest in the President’s stable. HT Photos by Raj K Raj
At 5.3 tonnes, the imposing beauty stands out amid the glitz and glamour of the relatively anorexic models at the 11th New Delhi Auto Expo.
Fancied by statesmen and women but for the British Queen - whose royal bias for Rolls Royce is well known - the armoured black limousine from Germany's Mercedes is one trusted by security personnel worldwide to transport VVIPs.
The armoured car---S600-Pulman Guard-- was inducted by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil into her convoy a couple of months ago. President Patil, in fact, upgraded her armoured car from a Mercedes S500 to S600.
There is more to this limo than a smooth ride.
"The car provides ballistic protection from all kinds of guns, rifles and pistols, and any bullet fired even from a close range will not be able to pierce the metal or glass of the car," a senior Mercedes executive told HT.
Hand grenades and land mines will not penetrate either.
"The metal and glass have anti-splinter capabilities with poly-carbonate coatings that reflect back whatever is hit upon it," the executive said.
There is also a panic alarm system which can double up as a public address system -- with a sound loud enough to be heard 50 metres away.
"This helps co-ordinate with security personnel if the car is surrounded by crowd and there is a melee," explained the executive.
In an emergency, the vehicle can travel over 30 km at a speed of 80 km an hour even if its tyres are damaged.
Among the luxury features of the Rs. 11-crore six-seater are seat acclamatisation, three-zone air conditioning and rear parking prompts.