Advanced Transportation for World Leaders: A Comparison of the US Presidential Limousine and the Chinese President’s Hongqi N701

Advanced Transportation for World Leaders: A Comparison of the US Presidential Limousine and the Chinese President’s Hongqi N701


In a recent diplomatic encounter between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a surprising highlight emerged as they exchanged remarks about their official state vehicles. President Biden, known for his custom Cadillac limousine, marveled at President Xi’s Hongqi N701, also known as the ‘Red Flag.’ This light moment took place during a bilateral meeting in San Francisco, where the two leaders aimed to strike a conciliatory tone amid the ongoing challenges in the US-China relationship.

The comparison between the two official cars, often considered symbols of power and prestige, offers intriguing insights into the priorities and design philosophies of the two nations.

Both the Beast and the Red Flag are exclusively produced for their country’s respective presidents and thus, many of their features remain shrouded in mystery. Here are some basic specs.

The Beast

The Red Flag


Cadillac/General Motors

Hongqi/FAW Group





5.5 m

5-5.5 m*


6.8-9.1 tons*

3.1+ tons*


$1-1.5 million per car

At least $700,000*

* Based on speculation, no concrete details available.


The Beast: A Mobile Safety Room President Biden’s official state vehicle, affectionately called “the Beast,” is built on the GMC TopKick platform, a range of medium pickup trucks by General Motors. While its 6.5-liter Duramax diesel engine may seem somewhat underpowered, the Beast compensates with an array of advanced safety features.

With its impressive weight attributed to substantial armor, including 20 cm thick chassis armor, 13 cm thick bulletproof windows, and a reinforced undercarriage, the Beast prioritizes the safety of the US president. Run-flat tires, electrified door handles, and defensive measures like oil slicks and smokescreens contribute to its security features. The interior is hermetically sealed, providing protection against chemical attacks. While not designed for speed, the Beast excels in withstanding various threats, ensuring the safe transport of the US president.

Hongqi N701: A Speed Demon In contrast, the Hongqi N701 emphasizes speed and performance. While details about the Red Flag’s armor remain less publicized, its design suggests a focus on agility. Powered by a V8 or V12 engine, capable of up to 360 hp, the Red Flag can reach speeds well above 200 kmph, making it a formidable contender in evasive maneuvers.

Similar to the Beast, the Red Flag stands tall on its wheels, possibly based on an SUV chassis. Hongqi, a luxury car marque launched in 1958, has a history closely associated with high-ranking Communist Party or government officials in China.

In this comparison, the Beast and the Red Flag reflect the different priorities and design choices made by the United States and China in crafting the official vehicles for their respective leaders, showcasing a blend of safety and speed.