COP26: The Beast presidential car - how big is Joe Biden’s Cadillac limo?

US President Joe Biden will be coming to Glasgow this month for the COP26 climate summit.
The Beast is a special project built just for the US President. Pic: Getty Images.The Beast is a special project built just for the US President. Pic: Getty Images.
The Beast is a special project built just for the US President. Pic: Getty Images.

It has been confirmed that Biden will be staying in Edinburgh - as will the Queen - during COP26, and some sections of the M8 could be shut to commuters to stop VIPs getting caught in traffic.

Don’t expect to see the US President being shuttled to Glasgow in a bus, though.

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For official duties, Biden is chauffeured in one of the world’s most imposing cars - The Beast.

While it has not been confirmed if The Beast will be coming to Scotland for COP26, it has been brought to the UK before, including for the G7 summit in Cornwall earlier in 2021.

Here is everything you need to know about the car.

What kind of car is ‘The Beast’?

The Beast is a special project built specifically for the President and, as such, isn’t based on any standard roadgoing model. It’s built by American car maker Cadillac and shares its grille style with the brand’s Escala concept car, while the headlights are similar to those on the previous generation Escalade SUV, but it doesn’t actually share parts with any other model.

How big is The Beast?

Underneath, The Beast is based on a heavy-duty truck chassis and powered by a truck-sourced 5-litre diesel engine. From bumper to bumper it measures a massive 18 feet long and weighs somewhere between 6.5 and 8 tonnes.

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All that weight means the big machine isn’t exactly sprightly, taking a reported 15 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour.

The Beast comes with various defence systems. The Beast comes with various defence systems.
The Beast comes with various defence systems.

And the length can cause problems too, as Barack Obama found when his previous version of The Beast got beached on the steep entrance road to the US embassy in Dublin.

How much does The Beast cost?

A car of this size and specification doesn’t come cheap, with the current model believed to have cost in the region of £1.1 million when it was built for former President Donald Trump in 2018.

Is The Beast armoured?

Oh yes, and being armour-plated and bulletproof is just the start of The Beast’s security measures.

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As befits a car designed to protect one of the world’s most powerful men, The Beast’s bodywork is made from military grade materials designed to withstand gunfire and explosions, and the fuel tank is similarly blast-proof. The doors are eight-inch thick armour plating and the sealed windows made of five-inch thick bulletproof glass. Even the tyres are designed to withstand attack thanks to Kevlar reinforcement, and they feature run-flat technology.

In addition, the car packs smoke screen and tear gas dispensers into the boot to repel attacks and, if that isn’t Bond villain enough, the door handles are rigged to give a 120-volt electric shock at the flick of a switch.

The passenger cabin is sealed against chemical attack and has its own oxygen supply to keep passengers safe, plus satellite phone links to the Pentagon and Vice President’s office. Emergency supplies of the President’s blood type are kept on board, presumably separately from the shotguns and tear gas cannons the car also carries.

Driving such a massive vehicle with such a precious cargo isn’t trusted to just anyone and The Beast is piloted by specially trained Secret Service staff.

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