Pope's new PopemobileMercedes-Benz

Check out the Pope and his new set of snazzy wheels!

Pope Benedict XVI has been given the keys to a brand new "Popemobile" by Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars boss Dr. Dieter Zetsche.

The car is based on the normally rather bling Mercedes-Benz M-Class, but the Pope's version has a number of extra special features.

Most obvious of which is the special purpose-built body. Compared to the outgoing "Popemobile", the new car has a larger dome giving the leader of the Catholic Church more space.

Ease of access has been improved, larger bullet-proof glass panels have been fitted, while the roof is illuminated. Inside also features a throne bearing the embroidered coat of arms of the Holy Father.

Handing over the Pope's new wheels in Rome, Zetsche said: "It is an honour for Mercedes-Benz to be accompanying His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on his future journeys with our new Popemobile.

"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 first Mercedes-Benz for a Pope was a Nürburg 460 Pullman Saloon, provided for Pope Pius XI in 1930. Since then Popes have been seen in a 300d Landaulet, a 600 Pullman Landaulet and a 300 SEL.

But it was in the 1980s with Pope John Paul II where the term "Popemobile" was coined; it was a modified G-Class.

After they reach the end of their working lives, the "Popemobiles" can be viewed as part of the collections on display at both the Vatican and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.