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Daimler delivers new 'Popemobile' to Pope Benedict

German automaker Daimler has delivered a new 'Popemobile' to Pope Benedict, continuing an 80-year tradition.

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The souped-up 'Popemobile.' (AP/Screengrab)

The 85-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church has a new set of wheels.

German automaker Daimler delivered Pope Benedict XVI his new “Popemobile” – a customized Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV – at a ceremony in the Vatican gardens today.

Benedict will take it for a spin tomorrow when he visits the square at the Spanish Steps in Rome for the annual celebration of the Immaculate Conception.

"It is an honor for Mercedes-Benz to be accompanying His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on his future journeys with our new Popemobile," Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said in a statement.

Popes have been riding in Mercedes-Benz vehicles for more than 80 years, Zetsche said.

The souped-up "Popemobile" features bullet-proof windows and runs on unleaded petrol, The Telegraph reported. 

Compared with the previous model, Mercedes has extended the dome to give the Pope more room and easier entry, the Associated Press reported.

“The view of the Pope has also been significantly enhanced thanks to considerably larger glass panels in the viewing area, together with large illuminated roof lining,” Daimler said in a statement.

UPI reported that the pope has received two "Popemobiles," though the Daimler statement only mentioned one vehicle. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/121207/daimler-delivers-new-popemobile-pope-benedict