Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Catholic Church, has received an early Christmas present in the guise of a new and specially modified Mercedes-Benz ML, which will be used for his public appearances both at home and abroad
"It is an honour for Mercedes-Benz to be accompanying His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on his future journeys with our new Popemobile", said Zetsche during the handover of the new Popemobile in Rome. "As such, we are continuing our long-standing partnership with the Vatican. For more than 80 years now, Popes have been able to rely on the quality, safety and comfort of our Mercedes-Benz vehicles."
The new Popemobile was designed and produced by Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes says that compared to the previous ML model, while the overall height of the vehicle was reduced by a few centimeters to facilitate transport by air, the internal standing height has been improved and the special dome has been extended in size. The dome also features lager glass panels in the viewing area, together with large illuminated roof lining.
The brand with the star has a long tradition in building special rides for the pope that stretches back to the 1930s and the Nürburg 460 Pullman Saloon, provided for Pope Pius XI.
In the 1960s, Mercedes designed the 300d Landaulet for Pope John XXIII, which was followed up by a 600 Pullman Landaulet and a 300 SEL for Pope Paul VI, and a G-Class for Pope John Paul II in the 1980s. From 2002, both the late Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI used an M-Class for their public appearances.