While some limousines are owned by wealthy individuals, many are owned by governments to transport senior politicians, by large companies to transport executives, or by broadcasters to transport guests. Most limousines, however, operate as livery vehicles, providing upmarket competition to taxicabs. The word limousine is derived from the name of the French region Limousin, where the inhabitants wore a hood perceived to be similar to the profile of the car.

A lot of people might not feel the need to own a luxury car that effectively has the skeleton of a high-grade military car, but for those few that depend on these cars to help protect them from outside threats, then we present to you Audi ’s new high-powered, armored-to-the-hilt, luxury car, the 2011 A8 L Security.

At first glance, the A8 L Security looks exactly like the standard A8, but nothing about this car can be described as ’standard’. It’s got enough safety and security features to make anyone think it’s a fortress on wheels. According to Audi, the A8 L Security complies with the strictest standards of ballistic protection, capable of withstanding some pretty hellacious explosions.

Naturally speaking, Audi takes great lengths to ensure that the building of this car remains as low-key and secretive as possible. The armored car is built in Audi’s plant in Neckarsulm, Germany which is so private that even cell phones are prohibited inside to ensure that all of Audi’s trade secrets remain in-house.

Details on the Audi A8 L Security after the jump.

China is a very important market among automakers, so you’re going to have to excuse them if they get vehicles built exclusively for their country. Other nations can’t claim to have that importance, but they probably would get it if they were home to arguably the biggest market in the world.

One automaker jumping into the China bandwagon is BMW , which presented plans for a China-only New Energy Vehicle at the company’s annual press conference last week.

Details on the car are still limited, although from what we took during the press conference, the car is expected to be the 2011 BMW 5-Series New Energy Vehicle. Based on the long-wheelbase version of the 5er, the BMW 5-Series NEV is being rumored to carry the company’s new ActiveHybrid 5 technology, which if true, would fit in nicely with China’s policy of having more fuel-efficient cars on the road.

For now, there are no plans of the car being sold in any other country except China so if you were angling to get a piece of this car when it hits production, you’re going to have a tough time scooping one up unless you live there.

What you can do, though, is head over to the Shanghai Motor Show, the place where BMW will be officially introducing the car to the Chinese market.

*Photo is of the BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid

Posted on by Matt McDonald 12

The Cadillac Escalade serves many purposes for the brand. For starters, it is their largest offering in the SUV segment and has become a best seller. Ever since it was first introduced as a meagerly disguised GMC Yukon the car has been a hit. It effectively saved the Cadillac brand in association with their razor edge styling that is now seen on all the models in the lineup. A favorite choice of celebrities, musicians, and athletes alike, the Escalade has become a status symbol and was immediately accepted by the “in crowd.”

As time has gone on the Escalade lineup has come to include three models with a pickup and extended wheelbase version being added. As the SUV market has been hit hard by the recession, the Escalade too suffered, but has remained alive. Its closest competition in nearly every aspect, the Lincoln Navigator , has struggled much more than the Cadillac and will cease production sooner rather than later.

Cadillac has been able to keep this vehicle moving forward, but some VIP clients still expect more. When a Range Rover is too small and a large scale van is not classy enough, Becker Automotive Design is there to take your Escalade to the next level. After this company gets done with their conversion, the Escalade has been transformed into a Gulfstream 5 for the road.

Hit the jump for more details on the Becker Escalade Conversion.

Source: Becker

Maybach is all about luxury, but now the company has unveiled an armored version for those who want to combine hardcore safety with that same luxury. Called the Maybach Guard, this new vehicle is based on the 62 model and features an integrated safety system by the German engineers in Sindelfingen.

The Maybach Guard has received a special armor made of highly specialized steel and high-tech Kevlar integrated in the body shell. Sounds pretty hefty, but in reality, the armor only adds 460 kilos to the car’s total weight, so no changes had to be made to the drive train, suspension, or braking-system.

The new Guard system will not only offer high protection, but it will also be the only armored car in the world to be able to reach a top speed of 155 mph and get from 0 to 60 in just 5.7 seconds.

After the integration of the other special protective features, the vehicle moves onto the standard assembly room in the Sindelfingen production plant, where masters of craftsmanship dedicate all their skills to ensure the highest standard in the individualization process.

Long wheelbase vehicles are meant to give extra room for people who can’t seem to get enough of it on their cars. So you would think that having that additional space would be enough for these guys, right?

Well, guess again.

To accommodate those people that want their vehicles to redefine the word ‘spacious’, tuning ‘extentionaires’ Binz has released their latest line of Mercedes E-Class XTEND vehicles meant to give the space needy their due medicine. Measuring a ridiculous 19 feet in length with a wheelbase of over 12 feet, and weighing an eye-popping 4,629 lbs, Binz’s new XTEND line-up will give you all the space you need to have your own party inside the car. The tuning firm’s list of E-Class Estate vehicles eligible to be “extended” – no pun intended – include the E250 CDI, E350 CGI and E500. These three models have their own engine specifications - you’ll see them in one of the photos – so the price tag for all that extending begins at €121,950, or about $163,400 based on current exchange rates, going all the way to possibly around €160,000, or $214,000.

Guess there’s a pretty big price to pay to have all that space in your car, huh?

If for nothing else, at least you can get to roll around town in a car that writes wealth and luxury all by itself.

Source: Binz

Why hello there, Mitsuoka ! How we’ve missed you so!

The eccentric Japanese coachbuilder hasn’t been in the news for a while now, but like raindrops in summer, they come out again on the news in their trademark unsuspecting fashion.

From the people that brought us the infamous Orichi sportscar and the Mazda MX-5 -based Himiko Roadster comes another priceless – for better or for worse – vehicle to their growing stable: the Mitsuoka Galue Limousine, an updated four-door limo that was built on the latest Nissan Teana sedan.

Don’t worry, folks. The Galue Limousine is nowhere near the level of ugly the Orichi comes in. Actually, the limo looks surprisingly svelte given the circumstance of who made it. Similar to its previous works – except with the Orichi, of course – Mitsuoka used a heavy dose of classic British car influence on the front end of the Galue Limousine. The car’s rear, on the other hand, looks a lot more recent than the front and is the perfect example of Mitsuoka’s continued fascination with putting two elements from different generations together and just sees how it looks like in the end. The company’s had more misses than it has had hits, but the Galou limousine looks to have been the latter - a ‘single’ in baseball parlance, but a hit nevertheless.

In terms of performance, Mitsuoka uses a has a number of different trims as well as two engine options available for the updated version of the Galue Limousine – a 2.5-liter version and a 3.5-liter V6 variant. Pricing for the vehicle comes out at a range from $44,700 to $64,200 and will be made available beginning on November 12th in Japan.

Leave it to Toyota to turn a seemingly ordinary mini-van into a stretched-out limousine whose interior looks more awesome than our living room. Such is the case with the Toyota Sienna ‘Swagger Wagon Supreme’, a 3.5-liter V6 engine minivan with a 6-speed automatic transmission that was recently unveiled at SEMA. Talk about rolling around town with swag.

Built and created with B.A.D. Company, the Swagger Wagon Supreme is everything we’ve always wanted in a minivan, nevermind, of course, that the vehicle has been stretched 44 inches. It’s not going to be the easiest car to bring to soccer practice, but it’s the perfect ride to use while waiting for the kids to finish kicking those balls around.

Before we get to the interior, Swagger Wagon Supreme’s exterior bears a few things that need to be talked about. Apart from getting stretched longer than a giraffe’s neck, the minivan-turned-mobile-office was also given its own suspension set-up and a set of 20-inch chrome wheels courtesy of KMC rims. The exterior also features a custom fabricated rear spoiler, shaved door handles on automatic sliding doors, a custom acrylic roof replacement that stretches a ridiculous eight-feet long, and custom chrome exhaust tips.

As for the interior, well, this is where it gets a lot more interesting. For starters, the tuned-up, stretched-out Sienna has custom seating with reversible cushions, a Spa seat that has a multi-function massage unit, a custom cabinetry with a veneer finish and a DuPont countertop, a glass-front refrigerator, two swiveling captain’s chairs in the passenger area, a 23-inch HP TouchSmart computer that’s been mounted on a custom bracket, an Xbox gaming console, a DVD player, and a custom JBL surround sound audio system.

Wrap yourselves around those features for a minute and after you’re done, check out the press release for the full details.

Source: Toyota

If you’re the prime minister of a country that’s been rife with unrest for as long as you can remember, it’s always a good idea to roll around on the road with a car that puts a premium on your safety. Sure, luxury’s a big part too, but since you’re the leader of your country, luxury isn’t – and shouldn’t be - the be all and end all of your choice of ride.

The Israeli government knows a thing or two about assassinations – remember the late Yitzhak Rabin? – so when choosing for a new car for the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s national domestic preventive security force – the Shin-bet, if you’re keeping score – has opted for an armored German limousine: a specially-built Audi A8L Security.

Based on the long-wheelbase variant of the A8, the car comes with standard 6-liter W12 engine that produces 450 horsepower with a Quattro all-wheel drive. Unlike just about any A8 on the planet though, this car is going to come with some state-of-the-art features specifically included to cater to the safety of the prime minister. There’s a B6+ and B7 ballistic protection, a fire-suppression system, run-flat tires, and explosive charges on the doors. And if prime minister Netanhayu wants to relax in his custom-made A8 limo, he can do so by enjoying the added DVD entertainment system and the humidor in case he’d like to light up a stogie.

The limousine is expected to cost somewhere around $1 million, which, if you’re Israel, is a pretty small price to pay for the safety and well-being of your leader.

Source: Globes

Say what you want about Elvis Presley, but the King of Rock and Roll sure knows how to roll around in grand style.

Years after his untimely death, Bonhams has decided to put one of Elvis’ vintage classics up for auction at the year-end sale of Important Motor Car and Fine Automobilia. This particular one, a 1970 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB limousine, is especially important because it’s one of only a few cars that were registered in Elvis Presley’s name.

The collector’s Benz, which comes with a powder blue finish and a cream leather interior, will be the highlight piece of the auction that’s scheduled for December 6 in Surrey, UK. How it ended up there on the other side of the Atlantic is anyone’s guess. But what’s important is that this car is a true one-of-a-kind that was once ridden by one of the most iconic figures in the 20th century.

So, if you’re a big fan of the King of Rock and Roll – not to mention that you have tons of money to spare – you can make a serious bid for this 1970 Merc 600 SWB limousine. In the event that you really are planning to bid on this car, you might want to bring with you around $300,000, which is the expected price tag the car is expected to fetch.

UPDATED 12/14/10: We’ve just gotten word that The King’s 1970 Mercedes-Benz 600 was officially scooped up by a German buyer at Mercedes-Benz World near Weybridge, Surrey, U.K. for a price of $187,390 including the buyer’s premium. It’s way short than what the expected price tag was but still, $187,390 for a car that was once ridden by Elvis Presley himself? Not a bad deal if you ask us.

Source: Jameslist

We wish we could come out with a reasonable explanation as to what this special-edition Rolls Royce Centurion - it’s the exact same one, actually - is doing sitting on a railway sidewalk. Unfortunately, we have neither explanations nor justifications; only speculations that this car may have been left out to dry by it’s owner - a Russian of some sort, we heard.

The car is actually a Rolls Royce Phantom that has been fully modded with an exclusive Centurion bodykit, upping its value to somewhere in the neighborhood of $450,000. That’s a lot for a car that’s now collecting snow and counts worn out tires and chopped wood among its companions.

From what we’ve also heard, this seemingly abandoned Rolls was once the property of a celebrity from Las Vegas, who then sold the car to a Russian buyer a few years ago, only to end up at the most unlikeliest of places. Poor Rolls, indeed.

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