By Ronan Glon
Tuesday, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 4:35 am
 

Members of Mercedes-Benz's top brass made the trip to Vatican City to present Pope Benedict XVI with a new Popemobile.

Designed and built by Mercedes in just nine months, the new and improved Popemobile is based on the third generation of the M-Class. It looks similar to many of its predecessors on the outside but Mercedes has completely revamped the interior in order to free up as much space as possible while reducing the SUV's overall height.

Another noteworthy modification is that the Popemobile's side windows are considerably larger than before, giving the public a better view of the Pope as he parades by.

Mercedes did not specify what drivetrain lurks in the engine bay.

Vatican officials have a long-standing tradition of using Mercedes vehicles to transport the Pope.

"We are continuing our 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," said Mercedes boss Dr. Dieter Zetsche.

The new Popemobile was put into service mere hours after being delivered to the Pope. Like most of its predecessors, the outgoing Popemobile will be displayed in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.