A new vehicle could soon be parked in the driveway at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Spy photographers recently noticed a prototype of an updated Presidential limousine, nicknamed “The Beast 2.0,” testing on public roads outside of the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Mich. The limo is essentially a truck in the shape of a car. It rides on a medium-duty truck platform borrowed from the massive Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC TopKick.
The new limo will offer heavily-fortified protection for President Donald Trump when it is delivered to the White House, likely later this year. The fact that GM has begun testing on public roads indicates the project is nearing completion.
Little is known about the exact dimensions and capabilities of the new vehicle. Its exterior is believed to be strengthened by bulletproof armor and the doors could be up to eight inches thick. Only the driver’s window is able to roll down, for a scant couple of inches.
GM has held the contract to produce the Presidential limousine since 1993. Before then, limousine conversion companies would modify production vehicles for Presidential duty.
In 2009, Cadillac built the original Beast to transport President Barack Obama following his inauguration. “The car’s specifications are known only to the small team that designed it,” according to Cadillac. Those vehicles are still being used today as the Beast 2.0 prepares to enter the fleet.
Though the Beast and Beast 2.0 look like large sedans, with dimensions reminiscent of an exaggerated Rolls-Royce Phantom, the vehicles are a far cry from any family four-door.
It is believed to be powered by a diesel engine. During a Presidential trip to Israel in 2013, the Beast broke down when someone reportedly filled the fuel tank with gasoline and the limousine had to be towed.
The new Beast 2.0 is expected to sport similar underpinnings. On the outside, it bears resemblance to the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan. Camouflage obscures a redesigned front grille that could borrow design cues from the recent Cadillac Escala concept.
GM has been working on the Beast 2.0 for some time and was expected to debut the new vehicle at the inauguration of President Trump in January. Documents on USASpending.org indicate the Department of Homeland Security paid GM nearly $16 million in 2014 and 2015 to develop a fleet of new models. They list the product being purchased as “Next Generation Parade Limousine Program Phase 2 and 3.”