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U.S. Versus Russia: How Does Putin's New Limo Compare to Trump's 'Beast'?

Newsweek logo Newsweek 12/05/2018 Newsweek Europe
File: Russia's president Vladimir Putin, US president Donald Trump, and Vietnam's president Tran Dai Quang (L-R) before a breakfast event on the closing day of the 25th APEC Summit © Getty File: Russia's president Vladimir Putin, US president Donald Trump, and Vietnam's president Tran Dai Quang (L-R) before a breakfast event on the closing day of the 25th APEC Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump have shared an interesting relationship so far, one that often contradicts traditional U.S. foreign policy, but fascinates the world. But if there's anything that unites both the Kremlin and the White House is their affinity for high-class limos. 

Putin reportedly spent $192 million on his new fleet of limousines and showed them off during his inauguration Monday. The homemade, bulletproof automobile is reportedly equipped with a 6.6-liter V12 engine and capable of hitting 860 horsepower, according to its manufacturer. The vehicle is officially called "Aurus," which combines "aurum"—the Latin word for gold—and "rus" for Russia, as Maxim reported.

The Aurus, part of Russia's Project Cortege, resembles U.K.-built luxury limousines Rolls Royce Phantom or Rolls Royce Ghost, but Russia’s Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute reached out to German car companies Porsche and Robert Bosch to assist in developing Putin's custom ride, according to The Drive.

  a group of police officers riding on the back of a car: GettyImages-955568366 © Provided by IBT Media (UK) GettyImages-955568366

While The Drive pointed out that Putin's Aurus clearly has a variety of built-in, advanced defensive and communications technology,these tools may not exceed the older, yet powerful vehicle used by his U.S. counterpart.

Trump inherited his signature vehicle, known as "The Beast," from his predecessor, President Barack Obama, who himself received the car in 2009. The General Motors-licensed limousine was built from scratch with help from the Secret Service, and its five-inch thick windows and eight-inch thick doors quickly distinguish it from the typical GM model, as Business Insider wrote.

During his 2015 appearance on an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Obama told host Jerry Seinfeld that "The Beast" was "a Caddy, basically, on a tank frame."

"The Beast" is especially suited with steel, aluminum, titanium and ceramic, as well as fiberglass sheets on the doors and fenders. Not even its gas tank will explode, thanks to a special foam. The exterior also protects from chemical attacks and its steel rims designed to keep the car moving even if its Kevlar-laced tires are somehow destroyed. No wonder, the Secret Service brought it all the way to Asia for Trump's latest tour.

a car parked in front of a building: GettyImages-953345648

GettyImages-953345648
© Provided by IBT Media (UK)
The U.S. presidential limousine, aka "The Beast," is parked in front of the Trump hotel as President Donald Trump attends dinner with supporters on April 30, 2018 in Washington. President Barack Obama started used this model in 2009 and Trump is overdue for an upgrade. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

While Autoweek reported in 2013 that Obama's version of the car was supplied with medicine and medical equipment—including vials of the POTUS blood—and fancy equipment such as night-vision and its own situation room, its V8 engine doesn't compare to the V12 Putin's new limousine is reportedly packing, and the magazine's guess of 7.5 tons for "The Beast" would make it heavier than the six tons Aurus has been estimated to weigh. It's not clear if Trump has upgraded his predecessor's vehicle, but Carbuzz also handed Putin's then-unreleased limousine the trophy for style last year.

Russia may not be ahead for long, however. Fox News reported last month that the much-delayed sequel to "The Beast" may hit the streets this summer. While not much is known about the new Cadillac-branded vehicle, it's the product of a $15.8 million contract with the Secret Service and is believed to have the same or likely even superior state-of-the-art features as the original. A camouflaged model was spotted near GM's proving grounds in Michigan last fall.

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