Carrying on an 82-year-long tradition, Mercedes-Benz has delivered its latest Popemobile to Benedict XVI in Vatican City. Based on the current M-Class and painted the traditional Diamond White color, the unique papal transport vehicle was presented to the head of the Catholic Church by Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Developed and produced by Mercedes-Benz, work on this latest and most sophisticated Popemobile began nine months ago. In transforming its mid-size SUV into this specialized one-off, the entire cabin area was comprehensively remade and includes an even larger glassed-in dome that offers more space and easier entry/exit along with better sightlines for all. At its center is a large papal throne that's embroidered with the coat of arms of the Holy Father.
The tradition of Mercedes-Benz providing a dedicated transport vehicle for the Catholic prelate began back in 1930 when Pope Pius XI received a unique Nürburg 460 Pullman Saloon. A 300d Landaulet Cabriolet, a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet and a bespoke 300 SEL sedan also saw duty in that capacity over the course of the next half century. However the first M-B to be officially designated as a "Popemobile" was a highly modified G-Class created in 2002 for Pope John Paul II.