Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first PM to use a BMW sedan as his official car, ending the use of the Hindustan ambassador that traditionally ferried politicians in the country.
The armoured BMW 7 Series was included in the Prime Minister’s cavalcade in 2002.
The decision to induct BMW sedan for the PM was necessitated after top intelligences agencies advice the PMO (Prime Minister Office) to tightened Vajpayee’s security as he was on hit list of Pak based and Kashmiri militant outfits.
The Union Government then placed an order for four such armoured 7 Series sedans in 2002 that were capable of providing protection against bombs, bullets as well as poisonous gasses. The car also came with an automatic fire extinguishing system, autonomous fresh air intake system and run flat tyres that could run at speeds up to 80 kmph even after a puncture.
The car was also factory-fitted with bullet resistant windshield, door windows and rear windshield. The BMW 740Li was powered by a V8 petrol engine that made it quick off the line too. The government officials at the time quoted that the 7 Series was capable of hitting 0-100 kmph in 6.7 seconds.
Before induction of BMW in PM Vajpayee’ cavalcade, India witnessed a series of terror activities including highjack of plane by Kashmiri- Pak militants. More so, the attack on the Parliament in December 2001 had also raised concerns about the security of the national heads.
Until then, the Indian Prime Ministers used only the Hindustan Ambassador for their commute.
The Special Protection Group that handles the security of the heads of state, advised on upgrading to the armoured BMW 7 Series sedans instead; which were not only capable of offering higher security, but also a lot more comfortable as well as tech friendly.
(Featured image : Jagran.com)