7 cars used by world leaders: From The Beast to an old VW Beetle

From the US President's 'Beast' to the French Presidents plug-in hybrid SUV, here's what the world's leaders are riding in.

by | Published on 5th Jun 2022

Presidents, prime ministers and royalty are among the most powerful people on the planet.

Naturally, this means that when they travel, they need to be riding in some serious cars that can prevent them from getting in harm’s way.

All of these cars are quite the step up from what you yourself can go out and buy – although there are some surprises you’ll see on this list.

These are the most insane cars world leaders drive, or are driven in.

1. US President Joe Biden: Cadillac One (aka ‘The Beast’ or ‘The Beast Car’)

READ MORE! Hotel tycoon is worth $291 BILLION but drives this $1200 car

The best known of all the world leaders’ cars, The Beast has to be one of the most impressive cars ever seen on the road.

Built on a GMC truck chassis and weighing over 6800kg (15,000lbs), The Beast wears the looks of a Cadillac sedan, but it is packing some serious heat under the skin.

Worth about $1.5 million, The Beast can fire tear gas, has electrified door handles, and is bullet and bomb-proof.


There’s also a fridge inside which contains a supply of the president’s blood type as well as a fresh oxygen supply.

Of course, the President is catered to in the back with computers, WiFi and a satellite phone that can call directly through to the Pentagon.

It’s no surprise one of the most powerful world leaders is being driven around in one of the most heavily secured cars.

Biden himself is known to actually own a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, although he’s not allowed to drive it on public roads while in office.

The US President's car, known as the Beast
Joe Biden riding in the Beast
The US President's car, known as 'the Beast'
A presidential motorcade
Cadillac One – aka 'the Beast'
Joe Biden riding in the back of the Cadillac One
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Cadillac One – aka 'the Beast'
Joe Biden riding in the back of the Cadillac One
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2. Queen Elizabeth II of the UK: Bentley State Limousine

Made to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 50th year on the throne, the pair of bespoke Bentley State Limousines she was given are still used today, 20 years later.

Although the cars are two decades old, they’re still incredibly advanced.

The bodywork and glass is all bulletproof, and the cabin can be sealed air-tight in the case of a gas attack.

It also rides on Kevlar tires to keep it rolling even if they were shot at and punctured.

Inside, it features lush lambs wool sateen upholstery for Her Majesty to ride on.

Fun fact, the vehicle doesn’t require license plates; the Queen herself is also the only person in the UK to not require a driver’s license.

3. Chinese President Xi Jinping: Hongqi L5

Next on our list of world leaders’ cars comes from China.

The Chinese car industry has been absolutely booming in recent years, so it’s no surprise President Xi Jinping rides in a Chinese-made car.

Hongqi is China’s oldest car brand and has primarily existed to build cars for the head of state.

The most expensive Chinese car ever made, the L5 is worth $800,000 and comes powered by a big V12 engine.

As five is a lucky number in Chinese culture, it measures in at 5.555m long.

There’s also hand-carved wood trim on the dashboard and lashings of perforated leather inside of the retro-styled sedan.

4. French President Emmanuel Macron: DS 7 Crossback Élysée

Unlike most world leaders who are driven around in big sedans and limousines, French President Emmanuel Macron instead rides in an SUV.

Made by DS, a subsidiary of Citroën, this special DS 7 has been extended by 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) to allow for more room in the back for presidential business.

It’s a bit greener than the other entrants on this list as there are no twin-turbo V8s or V12s here.

Instead, the French President’s ride is a plug-in hybrid with a four-cylinder.

5. Japanese Emperor Naruhito: Toyota Century Royal

For many years now, the Emperor and Empress of Japan have ridden in the back of a special version of the luxurious Toyota Century sedan.

Dubbed the Century Royal, these special versions have featured wool upholstery, granite entry steps and a rice paper headliner.

Many security measures are fitted to the car, although these are not disclosed, perhaps for obvious reasons.

A special convertible version was made for the coronation of Emperor Naruhito in 2019.

Standard versions of the Century are also used for other members of the Japanese royal family.

Although it boasts a big V8 engine, it’s supplemented by a hybrid system to make it a little bit kinder to the environment.

READ MORE: Rick Ross ripped some donuts in his wild 6×6 Chevy during his massive car show

6. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: BMW 7 Series High Security

While Aussie-made Holdens were used by prime ministers before 2017, the Australian leader has ridden in a BMW 7 Series High Security since then.

Albanese was only just elected a week before this article’s writing, but he’ll be inheriting the same set of wheels as his predecessors.

Wearing the special plate ‘C-1’ and an Australian flag on the nose, this car passes for any average 7 Series.

However, this one costs more than $500,000 and is bomb-proof, features a fresh oxygen supply and has onboard fire extinguishing systems.

It also has a fuel tank which can reseal itself should it be punctured by a bullet, preventing fuel from leaking out or causing a fire.

Each door also weighs 250 kilograms due to the sheer amount of armor plating.

7. Former Uruguayan president José Mujica: 1987 VW Beetle

We bet you weren’t expecting this one on the list.

A former farmer and revolutionary, José Mujica was known as the world’s ‘poorest president’ during his tenure from 2010-15 due to his modest lifestyle.

This extended to his wheels, with the former president of Uruguay continuing to drive his 1987 Volkswagen Beetle. Seriously.

Don’t think there were any modifications made to it, either – it remained bone stock.

This didn’t stop someone from offering him $1 million for the infamous Bug, which he promised to donate entirely to charity.




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A car zealot from a young age, Patrick has put his childhood spent obsessing over motoring magazines and TV shows to good use over the past six years as a journalist. Fuelled by premium octane coffee, he’s contributed to Finder, DriveTribe, WhichCar, Vehicle History and Drive Section.

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