New Popemobile: Pope Benedict XVI's new car is bulletproof Mercedes with larger dome

The highly modified and bullet-proof Mercedes M-Class was delivered to Pope Benedict XVI last week - the Pontiff's first new motor in ten years.

Luxury car firm Mercedes has unveiled its most exclusive and high profile car of the year - the all-new Popemobile.

The highly modified and bullet-proof Mercedes M-Class was delivered to Pope Benedict XVI last week - the Pontiff's first new motor in ten years.

Mercedes has fitted the vehicle with a larger dome so the 85-year-old Pope has greater space and visibility.

Full details of the car's spec, performance ability and costs have not been released for security purposes, but it is believed to be powered by a unleaded engine.

The German car maker has been providing the head of the Catholic church with vehicles for more than 80 years.

It invented the Popemobile - a domed, closed model - in the 1980s as a security move following the failed assassination attempt on John Paul II.

Pope Benedict XVI gets familiar with the Mercedes M-Class Popemobile (SWNS)

The diamond white model was delivered to the Pontiff on Friday by Dr Dieter Zetsche, the head of Mercedes-Benz.

Dr 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.

When they are replaced Popemobiles go on display in collections at both the Vatican and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

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