As with many heads of state, Xi Jinping preferred to be chauffeured in his own presidential car for his recent meeting with Joe Biden. His armoured limo didn't go unnoticed as the POTUS jumped at the opportunity to check out the stretched Hongqi. If the name doesn't ring a bell, it’s a sub-brand of the FAW Car Company, which itself is a subsidiary of the state-owned FAW Group.
The stately luxobarge is loosely based on the retro-styled L5, known for being the most expensive car to come out of China. At the end of their meeting, Joe Biden admired Xi's extra-long saloon, calling it a "beautiful vehicle." He was then invited to have a quick look inside at what we assume is a lavish cabin fit for the president of one of the world's most powerful countries.
Biden went on to say the Hongqi L5 is like his very own Cadillac, known as "The Beast." Given how important these two cars are, most details are shrouded in mystery. It is believed the POTUS' car is built on the heavy-duty GMC TopKick truck platform and is powered by a Duramax diesel. Xi's presidential car is reportedly an elongated L5 with a massive turbocharged 6.0-litre V12.
Given the amount of armour fitted to both cars, The Beast and the L5 (codenamed N701) probably weigh as much as the moon. The Caddy is said to tip the scales at anywhere between 6 and 9 tonnes, so we'd reckon fuel economy is not ideal, even with that diesel engine. The Hongqi is by no means a MX-5 either considering the donor car already weighs roughly 3,175 kg. Mind you, that's before adding all the heavy armour.
Joe Biden's appreciation of cars is hardly a surprise considering he owns a 1967 Corvette. At last year's Detroit Auto Show, he told members of the media he's a "car guy" and was photographed behind the wheel of a C8 Corvette Z06.