Throughout it’s 62 year history, Israel has had an uneasy relationship with German cars. While Israel and Germany have strong diplomatic relationships, its government agencies have stayed away from using Mercedes-Benz or Volkswagen cars, even though they comprise most of the Israeli taxi fleet. Instead, Skodas and Volvos have been popular, in recognition of the respective countries efforts to provide arms to Israel and save Jews during the Holocaust.
It looks like that trend will be coming to a close, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be the first Prime Minister to enjoy a fleet of three bulletproofed Audi A8L W12 sedans. Netanyahu’s current fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers and Chevrolet Suburbans are apparently being replaced by the Audis, which will also be used to ferry other VIPs around while in the country.
As you might expect, the A8s will have the best available armoring, since Netanyahu is what the American military would call a “high value target”. Israel’s security services allegedly blew up a prototype A8 to test the various safety features of the car, which should be capable of protecting occupants against gunfire, roadside bombs, grenades and even rocket attacks. Inside, the usual luxury features, like leather seats and a sunroof will go along with more opulent ones like a fridge, DVD player and a humidor.
The three A8s will cost a total of $3 million dollars, replacing the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG as the most expensive model for sale in Israel. Audi’s Israeli importer quoted a base price of $685,000 for a comparably equipped A8 W12, not including the 110% sales tax, so we can only assume that the government got a wholesale discount.
[Source: Ynet News]