Fun Stuff

Cars of World Leaders: 2017 Edition

World leaders get to drive around in cool cars. Or at least they get to be driven around in them. No average family sedans for the top elected (and some not elected) officials in the world. They get the best from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, or the top model from their local automakers.

Some world leaders have official cars that stand out. Limos you wouldn't expect, local cars that are a little strange, and some even have cool cars of their own. So here's a look at the coolest cars from presidents, prime ministers, and royalty around the world.

 We'll start at home. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets shuttled around in Cadillac DTS limos. When he's got the family along, they might use a black Toyota Sienna. But sitting in Trudeau's own garage? A 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL. It's a roadster, not a gullwing coupe, but it's still inescapably cool. The car was originally purchased and owned by his father. The SL was restored for Trudeau's marriage to Sophie Grégoire in 2005 and continues to look great. 

The official state car of the President of Chile is an equally cool classic. It's a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 XL that was given to then-President Eduardo Frei by Queen Elizabeth II to mark a royal visit. It's now used for official national holiday ceremonies on May 21, and September 19 and 21. The rest of the time, President Michelle Bachelet is shuttled in a Lexus LS 600h. 

The official state car of China is the Hongqi L5. The retro-styled car uses a 6.0L V12 to shuttle around the General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping. The name hongqi means "red flag." The L5 is the most expensive Chinese car made, at a price of over $1,000,000. 

Italy makes some of the most emotionally captivating cars in the world. Their auto industry is known for dramatic looks, massive power, and their reputation for reliability. So what do the President and Prime Minister get chauffered in? The President has a Lancia Flaminia open-top stretched limo, built by Pininfarina in 1960 for state use. The Flaminia was a classic luxury sedan built from 1957 to 1970.

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, on the other hand, is driven in a Lancia Thesis. A very strange looking sedan built between 2001 and 2009. Why the strange choice? It's probably all that was left after his predecessor sold more than 170 luxury and classic cars owned by the government.

While we're in Italy, let's take a look at the Pope's fleet. The open-top Mercedes ML SUVs are well known, and previous Popes have had a fleet of donated Ferraris. But Pope Francis is a little more frugal. He has a 1984 Renault 4L that has over 300,000 km on the odometer and was donated by a priest from Verona. Pope Francis reportedly drives the car himself around Vatican City in the little Renault. He is also known to be transported around the city in a previous-generation Ford Focus. 

The Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, has an official car that has its own title. The Store Krone is the flagship of the Danish monarchy's fleet. it's a 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. The seven-seater was commissioned by King Frederik IX in 1958. Compare that with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands' personal lime. Beatrix is driven in a very odd choice, a Volvo S80 limo.

The official state car of Brazil is also a vintage Rolls. A 1952 Silver Wraith, purchased by the President in 1953, but not becoming the property of the state until 1957. In everyday driving, the President is driven in one of a fleet of 10 Canadian built armoured Ford Edge crossovers.

Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, barred government officials from driving luxury cars and trucks. So what does he drive or get driven around in? His own trucks, either an Isuzu D-Max, or an MUX-4.

He isn't the only world leader to drive something a little more economical. French President Emmanuel Macron was driven in his inaugural parade in a Citroen DS7 Crossback. Other times, he's in a Renault Espace minivan.

The Emperor of Japan is driven in a Toyota. But not a Camry, or even an Avalon. The Emperor has a special Toyota Century Royal. It's a $500,000 special version of the retro-styled big limo with wool seats, granite steps, and rice paper headlining. The engine is a 5.0L V12. The Prime Minister travels in a "regular" Toyota Century.

Next, a king with a classic Benz and a local supercar. King Muhammad VI of Morocco is driven in a 1970s Mercedes 600 Pullman. The open top limo was the car to have for world leaders when it was new, and it's still a head-turner today. The King also has a Laraki Fulgura, a Lamborghini Diablo-based supercar that was designed and built in Morocco.

The Prime Minister of the UK has a great list of home-grown cars to choose from. But the PM currently uses a fleet of Jaguar XJ Sentinels. Powered by a 510 hp supercharged 5.0L V8, the heavily armoured Jags still take almost 10 seconds to reach 100 km/h.

Queen Elizabeth II has a specially designed Bentley limousine, created for her Golden Jubilee. In addition to the lambswool sateen rear seats, the car has an illuminated coat of arms on the roof and the Queen's personal mascot replaces the normal grille-mounted Flying B. Prince Charles has a classic of his own. A Royal Blue Aston Martin DB5 that has been converted to run on ethanol made from surplus wine. Both environmentally friendly, and a fitting fuel for a royal car. It reportedly averages just under three bottles of wine per kilometre.