Popemobile, made in Germany by Daimler

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Benedict XVI has taken delivery of a new Popemobile – a customised Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV built by German car-maker Daimler.

The company said the car, which has special security features, was delivered on Friday to the Vatican. The Pope is expected to be seen in it today during a celebration at the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Compared to the previous vehicle, a modified M-Class from 2002, the company has extended the dome significantly to give the former Cardinal Ratzinger more room and ease of access. Larger glass panels and better illumination also aim to make the pontiff more visible.

Daimler said the white-painted vehicle’s central interior design feature is a “throne” embroidered with the papal coat of arms.

The car-maker declined to detail the vehicle’s “spectrum” of security improvements.