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The Beast news - Enter The Beast - 2009

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With less than a week until Barack Obama takes up residency at the White House (why does that sound like a low-budget DJ slot?), most commentators are eagerly debating what his stance will be on the economy, environment and the thorny issue of what colour scheme to paint the Oval Office. All we want to know here at Top Gear is what he’ll be driving.

And here’s our answer. Well, we say ‘driving’. We mean ‘being ferried around on the back seat, protected by eight inches of armour plating’. This is the all-new Cadillac Presidential Limo, and it’s tougher than an oven-baked Mr T.

Nicknamed ‘The Beast’ (the limo, that is, not Obama), the 18-foot long car is powered by – well, we can’t actually tell you. In the name of security and so forth, Cadillac is keeping the details of the limo under CIA-issue wraps. “One of the specifications is that we don’t talk about the specifications,” said GM’s David Caldwell, providing an early contender for ‘quote of the year’.

Nonetheless, there’s much informed speculation of what sort of heat the limo is packing. We’re told it’s powered by a 6.5-litre diesel that’ll manage about 60mph (in a tardy 15 seconds) and return a meagre 8mpg. Hardly surprising when you consider that the bodywork is eight inches thick and the doors weigh more than those off a Boeing 757. And we didn’t make that up.

The tyres, it’s said, are Kevlar reinforced, and the limo is armed with pump-action shotguns, tear gas cannons and a CIA-trained chauffeur… all of which combine to make the Obamobile (Obamamobile? Baracar?) very nearly as safe as a Volvo estate.

A reliable source tells us that George W Bush’s presidential limo will soon be retired and put into service as a hen night taxi in Romford. Watch out.

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