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Ram Nath Kovind in 2017, succeeded Pranab Mukherjee to become the 14th President of India. President Kovind is the constitutional head of the country and hence is referred to as the 'first citizen of India' as well. He is also the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.
Holding such a high position in the country often comes with its threats and risks. This combined with the constant requirement to travel, facilitates the need for a safe mode of commute, enter the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard (W221) — the official state car of the President of India.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard is one of the safest cars in the world and is used by dignitaries and official head of states of various countries as well, including our President. The S600 Pullman comes with all the safety features and equipment, required to keep the President safe.
The car is heavily armoured and comes with VR10 Ballistic protection. This means that the limousine is capable of protecting its occupants from almost any sort of attack, from a hand grenade to a machine gun.
The Limousine also comes with oxygen tanks inside to protect the occupants in case of a gas attack. While other protective equipment also includes underbody armour plating, bulletproof glass, wheels and alloys and a host of others.
The protection isn't limited to just the exteriors though, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman also comes with reinforced suspension components with additional braces and steel springs, it also gets larger brakes to allow better deceleration, run-flat tyres with a special inner wheel rim, which allows it to move even when the wheels are completely deflated.
Apart from the protection and security equipment itself, the 21.3 feet long limousine comes packed with a host of luxury features as well. The car with all the features and armour protection is said to weigh over 5 tonnes.
However, the exact features, equipment and specifications of the car of the President of India is a secret. Also for security reasons, the President's car doesn't come with a number plate but features the State Emblem if India instead. All these, ensure the safety and security of the Indian President.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman comes powered by a 6.0-litre V12 Biturbo engine. The model currently used by the President of India is the older generation version, which produces 530bhp and 830Nm of peak torque.
The President was expected to upgrade his Pullman to the latest-generation model. However, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis in the country, he chose not to purchase the new car. The latest-generation Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard (W222) is said to cost over Rs 10 crore, President Kovind chose to use this amount towards the Coronavirus Relief Fund instead.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman has been the official state car since the time of Pratibha Patil - the first woman President of India, who served between 2007 - 2012. Former President Pratibha Patil upgraded to the S600 Pullman Guard from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class W140 Limousine, used by her predecessors including the much adored former President APJ Abdul Kalam.