Vladimir Putin knows how to spend laundered money well.
If the wide array of Russian dash cam videos on the Internet has shown us anything, it's that driving in the motherland isn't a feat for the meek. Whether it's the vodka or the culture, there's something about driving in Russia that requires a ready-for-anything "screw it, let's try this" mentality. Needless to say, Vladimir Putin has plenty of shirtless horseback riding to do and doesn't want to catch stray fenders to the head, so the Russian government has allocated $54 million to create Russia's presidential limo, which we first caught wind of two years ago.
Unlike the Cadillac "Beast" that American presidents ride in, Russia's Cortege limo will not only be for presidential use but for all high-level government officials. On top of that, four versions of the armor-laden car will be made and sold to any rich Russian oil oligarchs. These include the standard limousine, a sedan, an SUV, and for some reason, a minivan. Interestingly enough, two world war two enemies have joined forces to make the car because Porsche, a company derived from Hitler's favorite Volkswagen Beetle, has been enlisted to make the engine. No confirmation has been made as to what the engine will be, but rumors peg it as a turbocharged V12, which should make for some excitement.
The Cortege is in its final phases of development and will undergo crash testing soon. Deliveries of the first 200 of these cars will happen in 2017, with up to 5,000 being delivered by 2020. While details remain as sparse as the information on Obama's limo for security reasons, we can say with a high degree of certainty that it will be a fairly safe mode of transport if it's anything like a Russian tank. In terms of looks, we hate to say it but the Cortege limo has a certain degree of coolness that the Beast lacks. It may be the roofline or the fact that the elongated cousin of a Chrysler 300 and a Rolls Royce Phantom looks a bit better than a tough-skinned Cadillac, but Russia wins on the style front.