Jan. 14, 2009 — -- When then-President Barack Obama pulls up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Jan. 20, he will do so in a new car -- a highly armored, specially designed limousine manufactured in near secrecy by General Motors and its Cadillac division.
The new Cadillac presidential limo will make its debut during the inaugural parade as a newly sworn-in Obama makes his way to the White House, according to GM and the Secret Service.
The 2009 presidential limousine provides the Secret Service with a "valuable asset in accomplishing its protective mission by affording its occupants the highest level of protection," the agency said Wednesday.
Although the car's passenger is the most well known man in the world, until this week what's under the hood has been a closely guarded national secret.
"Although many of the vehicle's security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car's security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world," said Nicholas Trotta, assistant director for the Office of Protective Operations.
Gauging from what is known of earlier models, the car reportedly has armor plating at least five inches thick, bulletproof windows, run-flat tires and a sealed interior to protect the president in case of chemical attack.
Cadillac said it has roughly the same footprint and size specs as the previous model -- although it is somewhat more vertical and has larger windows for increased visibility from the inside out.
Though still short on specifics, officials now are offering a bit more information about the car than they did last week, when Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the Secret Service "does not disclose specifics, features or capabilities."
While Cadillac said today that the presidential limo is an entirely new design, it has many features that echo Cadillacs currently on the market. The limo's dual-textured grille are similiar to the grille on the Cadillac CTS sport sedan and Escalade, for instance.