Paul Horrell23 March 2010

Bad Boys II

US cops to chase down perps in a BMW diesel patrol car and Robocop-style Ford. Yikes

Ford cop car

If you plan on doing a fly-drive to the US, here are a couple of cars you need to look out for. And slow down for. The American police will be getting new wheels.

For years the law enforcement community mostly drove the Ford Crown Victoria, a crude dinosaur of a thing with a live axle and a gas-guzzling V8. Eventually the cops ran out of patience and demanded a newer, safer car that wasn't always in the fuel station or repair shop.

The market is colossal: 60,000 police cars a year. Sensing an opportunity, a new company, Carbon Motors, has arrived. Its bosses reasoned that a super-tough, frill-free, purpose-built car was the answer. This week it concluded a deal with BMW to supply turbodiesel engines and transmissions for that car.

Now BMW doesn't agree to have its name associated with just any flaky men-in-a-shed operation. So we can take it that the Carbon E7 police car is now credible to those steely German eyes.

See more pictures of the Carbon cop car

Purpose-built elements include bodywork with built-in bull bars and flashing lights, plus self-coloured dent-resistant plastic panels.

Inside, the dash is built around the computers and comms gear the cops need. The front seats are big and soft and have room for the well-fed cop, his bulletproof uniform and all the accessories (i.e. weaponry) he wears on his belt.

Then there's a protective shield between the front and the back ‘seat' - actually just a vandal-proof hard bench. The back doors are rear-hinged and the rear seatbelts sprout from the centre so it's easier for the cops to bundle an unwilling suspect through the door and strap 'em in.

Meanwhile, Ford doesn't want to be caught pants-down by this newcomer. So it too is releasing a new cop car, the Police Interceptor. It's based on the Taurus, but heavily upgraded for 100,000 hard miles a year. Brakes and suspension are upgraded: ‘This vehicle is pursuit-ready. It's no nonsense, through and through,' says Ford.

It comes either as a V6 FWD or a turbo Ecoboost V6 with 4WD. If that car takes hold, powersliding movie car chases will never be the same again.

Paul Horrell, Consultant Editor of Top Gear magazine

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