The Straits Times
Published on Dec 08, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI gets vamped-up Mercedes popemobile


VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Mercedes-Benz presented Pope Benedict XVI with a sleek, ecologically-friendly "popemobile" on Friday which has been vamped up with the latest gadgets for maximum comfort, the Vatican said.

The 85-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church was given two models of the new white Class M car - which has bullet-proof windows and runs on unleaded petrol - at a ceremony in the Vatican gardens.

Benedict will be taking one of them for a spin for the first time on Saturday, when he visits the square at the Spanish Steps in central Rome for a yearly ceremony celebrating the Immaculate Conception.

"It's a joy to be able to accompany Benedict XVI on his journeys. It's an important commitment which we carry out with passion," said Mr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG, the German company which produces the luxury Mercedes-Benz brand.