Have you ever wondered what the richest, most powerful people in the world drive? You may be surprised to learn that the types of vehicles these people choose to travel in are more diverse than you had imagined.
These people have all claimed spots on Forbes’s richest people list or are world leaders, but either way, the amount of power they hold is immense. With power comes a great deal of responsibility, as well as a risk of safety.
Many world leaders choose to be driven around in extremely armored vehicles for their protection. These secure cars are equipped with bullet-proof glass and a steel underbody to protect from mine blasts or bomb explosions.
Some have custom-made vehicles that hold a blood supply for the passenger in a refrigerated compartment, in case of emergencies. Some have air-tight cabins with their own oxygen supply in case of gas attacks.
Some have had cars built especially for them and their comfort in mind. The Queen of England, for instance, has a custom-made roof on her Bentley State Limousine that allows her to stand up and get out of the car with her “dignity” intact, as well as doors that open at a 90-degree angle.
However, business tycoons like Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg are actually known for their frugality and drive cars, like an Acura, that any average Joe could afford.
Other prominent businessmen and women have cars that cost as much as an average-priced home with the latest technology and all of the bells and whistles. It's interesting to see which billionaires choose to spend their money on the cars that they drive and which do not.
Here’s how the world’s most powerful travel (in 20 pictures).
20 Vladimir Putin's Mercedes S-Class Pullman Guard Limousine
The Russian president is considered to be one of the most powerful men in the world, so naturally, he travels around in a car that's suited to his needs. Vladimir Putin rides in a custom-made Mercedes-Benz W221 S-Class Pullman Guard limousine that's heavily armed and fully equipped to protect the world leader against AK47s, fire, grenades, and even chemical attacks. It can also travel up to 30 kilometers at over 80 km/h with punctured tires.
Putin's Mercedes limo is powered by a 5.5-liter twin turbo V12 engine. It generates up to 517 BHP and 820 Nm. The vehicle is estimated to be valued at around $251,417. As high-end as his ride may be, the Russians are currently working to develop a new limousine for their president to travel in. It will be known as the "Kortezh" and will rival United States President Trump's Cadillac One.
19 Donald Trump's Cadillac One
President Donald Trump's new car is considered to be one of the most secure in the world. Trump's state-of-the-art Cadillac One was specially made for the United States president by General Motors. The Cadillac One, also known as "The Beast," is over 18-feet long and weighs over 8 tons.
The tires are puncture-resistant, so the car would be able to escape even if the tires were damaged. "The Beast" has armored plates that prevent bullets, as well as IED mines and bombs, from penetrating the vehicle. The car also has a night-vision system, a secured satellite phone, and a refrigerator full of President Trump's blood in case of emergencies. The fully-equipped limousine service vehicle has an 8,000 cc engine that produces up to 800 BHP to reach at least 150 km/h. “The Beast” is estimated to cost as much as $1.5 million.
18 Theresa May's Jaguar XJ Sentinel
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, is escorted around in a Jaguar XJ Sentinel. Her vehicle is an armored version of the Jaguar XJ models and is equipped with a titanium- and Kevlar-lined interior, bulletproof windshields, an oxygen supply tank, an explosion-proof steel plate, and run-flat tires.
May's Sentinel runs on a 5-liter V8 engine that produces a maximum of 500 BHP and can reach a high speed of 190 km/h. The security vehicle also contains fire-control systems and ventilation control mechanisms, as well as a secure communication line for the prime minister in case of an emergency. The interior is elegantly designed, with ebony trim and wood and chrome trays, surround-sound speakers, and "dual view" screens that allow the prime minister to watch the news on television while the driver looks at the navigation system.
17 Narendra Modi's BMW 760Li
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India is one of the most powerful men in the country, but he's known for traveling around the world pretty freely. However, when it comes to traveling on the road, he takes every precaution necessary in his BMW 760Li. The high-security vehicle can protect its passengers against AK47 gunshots, is equipped with a fire-proof tank and oxygen supply, and has armored plates that can withstand mines and bombs.
The 7-series 760Li can run on flat tires in order to get the prime minister to safety. The sleek sedan runs on a 6.0-liter V12 engine that produces a maximum of 538.5 BHP and can hit speeds of up to 210 km/h. Modi's impressive vehicle can go from 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.
16 Warren Buffett's Cadillac XTS
Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world but also one of the most frugal. The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has lived in the same house that he purchased back in 1958 for $31,500 and swears to never spend more than $3.17 on breakfast. It should come as no surprise to people that the powerful executive doesn't drive a car that matches his stature.
In 2014, Warren bought a Cadillac XTS, retailed at around $45,000. This car was actually a replacement for his previous car, which was a 2006 Cadillac DTS. He only decided to get a new car after his daughter told him that his means of transportation was getting embarrassing. The business mogul later revealed that he only drives around "3,500 miles a year, so [he] will buy a new car very infrequently."
15 Carlos Slim Helu's Bentley Continental Flying Spur
Carlos Slim Helu is a Mexican telecom tycoon who was ranked the sixth-richest person in the world as of October 2017, with an estimated net worth of $64.3 billion. He's actually known as the "Warren Buffett of Mexico." He's established a lasting legacy for himself based on the large investments he's made to help better his home country of Mexico and Latin America. However, unlike Warren Buffett, Helu likes to ride around in a car that shows off his enormous wealth, a $300,000 Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
The luxurious vehicle was first introduced in 2005 and has a six-liter W12 engine, producing up to 560 BHP. The four-door saloon has a six-speed automatic transmission that allows the car to go from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds and hit speeds of up to 320 km/h.
14 Queen Elizabeth's Bentley State Limousine
The Queen of England always travels in style, and when she's being driven around London, you'll most likely see her in her custom-made Bentley State Limousine. There's nothing quite like the Queen's Bentley. The roof of the vehicle is manufactured higher up than most cars to make it easy for "Her Majesty to get out in a suitably dignified manner," and the doors open at a 90-degree angle so that Queen Elizabeth can walk directly out.
The maroon and black limousine is fully armored to protect the Queen of the Royal family from any potential attacks. The car is equipped with an airtight cabin and Kevlar-reinforced blast-resistant tires. The luxury vehicle runs on a twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V8 engine that generates up to 400 BHP. It can also reach speeds of 210 km/h.
13 Abe Shinzo's Lexus LS600h Armored
Abe Shinzo, the prime minister of Japan, loves luxury cars. The "official car" of the Japanese prime minister is the Lexus LS600h. The heavily armored vehicle is comfortable and extremely safe. The saloon is wrapped in steel armor all around and has polycarbonate windows to protect Shinzo from any potential attacks.
The armored Lexus is also equipped with a heavy steel plate under the body of the vehicle to protect it from mine and bomb attacks. The LS600h is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that can produce a maximum of 386 BHP and 498 Nm of torque. Lexus has been honored as the official state car in over 20 countries. Although he's mostly driven around in his Lexus, Prime Minister Shinzo enjoys driving the car around himself inside his presidential estate.
12 Mark Zuckerberg's Acura TSX
If you thought that the founder and CEO of Facebook would drive a prestigious, expensive car, then you thought wrong. Despite being one of the youngest multi-billionaires in the world, Mark Zuckerberg actually drives a pretty modest car. The creator of the world's largest social-networking platform can be seen driving his black Acura TSX around his California home.
The $30,000 vehicle is his preferred choice because it's "safe, comfortable, and not ostentatious." Zuckerberg also reportedly owns a Volkswagen GTI, which is of similar value. Perhaps, he's taking a page out of Warren Buffett's book and is investing his money more in projects, causes, and ideas that he deems to be more important than tangible personal property. But one thing is for sure - Zuckerberg is not into opulence.
11 Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud's Rolls-Royce Phantom
The Saudi Royal family are known to be some of the most extravagant, glamorous, and affluent people in the whole world. Of course, when it comes to the vehicles they travel in, it should come as no surprise that the prince rides around in what's arguably one of the most luxurious cars to have ever been created. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud's Rolls-Royce Phantom is certainly made for royalty.
While the market price for a Rolls-Royce Phantom is around $246,000, this upscale, state-of-the-art, custom-made vehicle cost nearly a half a million dollars. Since the car's creation back in 1925, the Rolls-Royce has been almost as iconic as the influential people who have driven them.
10 Angela Merkel's Audi A8 L Security
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is a very powerful woman in Europe. As such, she must travel in a vehicle that will provide her with both protection and comfort. Merkel is driven around in a German limousine that was manufactured by Audi, a German car manufacturer. The Audi A8 L Security is an armored version of the Audi A8 L.
The car has VR7 and VR9 ballistic certificates, meaning, it's officially considered an armored vehicle with the highest protection levels and is the chancellor's
"official vehicle." The luxury limo can endure fire and protects against a variety of weapons including guns, grenades, and landmines. The A8 L Security runs with a W12 engine that produces up to 500 BHP and has a peak torque of 62m Nm.
9 Xi Jinping's Hongqi HQE
Xi Jinping, the president of China, travels around in a state-of-the-art Hongqi HQE. The large four-door limousine is the first Chinese-built V12 cylinder engine-equipped luxury car. The 6.0-liter engine produces 300 kW at 5600 rpm and 440 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. The HQE serves as the high-end vehicle of choice for VIPs and high-ranking national officials in China. Every HQE is hand built, and the car cost the Chinese president well over a half a million dollars to purchase.
The luxury vehicle is equipped with a defense system; armored plates that can stop bullets, IED mines, and bombs; a night-vision system; and a secured satellite phone. Like with President Donald Trump's Cadillac One, President Xi Jinping's HQE also has a refrigerated section full of his own blood to be used in case of an emergency.
8 Ingvar Kamprad's 1993 Volvo 240
Ingvar Kamprad is the founder of the worldwide furniture store, IKEA. Although his net worth is well over $40 billion, the business tycoon doesn't like to spend his money on things he doesn't need. This includes the vehicle he drives around in on a daily basis. Kamprad travels in a 1993 Volvo 240 GL that was worth around $22,000 at the time of purchase but would not be worth more than a few thousand dollars today.
The 91-year-old only recently gave up driving his beloved Volvo because, at his old age, driving, in general, has just become too dangerous for him. There's a rumor that Volvo wagons were Kamprad's template when deciding how big to make IKEA boxes back in the day.
7 Pranab Mukherjee's Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard
Pranab Mukherjee served as the president of India from 2012 until 2017 when Ram Nath Kovind took over. For years, Mukherjee relied on the comfort and safety of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard. The vehicle is the stretched version of the luxurious S600 and measures at 21.325 feet.
The limousine gets VR10 ballistic protection, meaning it can withstand shots from high-powered machine guns like an M60, M14, and AK47. Although it may appear to be an ordinary S600 Pullman from the exterior, the interior is specially equipped with armored doors, bulletproof glasses, and steel underbody protection that prevents passengers from being injured by mine blasts and bombs. The 6.0-liter engine produces up to 530 BHP. Even after his presidency ended, the politician, who's had a successful career of over five decades, will still require protection from the vehicle he travels in.
6 Sean Parker's Tesla Model S
Unlike Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's first president and Napster co-founder Sean Parker didn't mind dropping a hefty sum on the cars he drives. Although his net worth is nowhere near Zuckerberg's $72 billion; at $2.6 billion, he drives around in a Tesla Model S estimated to cost around $100,000.
Parker also takes a spin in his Audi S5, which starts at $50,000, when he's in San Francisco, but when he's in Los Angeles, he's most likely spotted in his flashier Tesla. The luxury sedan can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds. It also comes with Autopilot capabilities, adaptive lighting, a bio-weapon defense mode, and electric all-wheel drive. Perhaps, he saves some money on gas with the car being electric, but it's still an expensive ride.
5 Alice Walton's 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch
Alice Walton is the daughter of the man who founded Wal-Mart, Sam Walton, making her the heiress to the family fortune. After the death of Liliane Bettencourt in 2017, Walton was named the richest woman in the world for a short while until Bettencourt's daughter took the top spot after inheriting her fortune, although, if you saw Alice Walton driving down the street, you probably wouldn't guess that she was the second-richest woman in the world because she travels in a 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch. The pickup truck has a modest value of just $40,000, which is nothing compared to her net worth of $45 billion.
Her father, Sam Walton also drove the same truck, the 1979 version of the Ford F-150, until he died in 1992. Instead of spending her fortune on vehicles, Alice chooses to invest in art and is a horse breeder.
4 Michael Dell's 2004 Porsche Boxster
The creator and founder of the Dell, Michael Dell, has a net worth of over $23 billion. The business tycoon has a collection of cars in his garage ranging from a Hummer H2 to a Porsche Carrera GT, but he loves driving around in his 2004 Porsche Boxster.
Back when he first purchased the car, Dell probably paid around $80,000, but today, a used version of the car would cost under $20,000. The luxury sports car was built for driving with quick acceleration, low rpm, and excellent balance. The 3.2-liter engine delivers a powerful thrust but rides remarkably smoothly. The international businessman flies frequently and has also owned his share of airplanes, too, including a Gulfstream V., which he reportedly upgraded to a Boeing Dreamliner 787 in 2013.
3 Pope Francis's Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Pope Francis's Mercedes-Benz M-Class is better known by most as the "Popemobile," which has an armored glass compartment on top so that he can see and engage with people during public appearances. The custom-made luxury vehicle cost an estimated $524,990 to manufacture and was specially created for Pope Francis to be able to move around in crowded places without putting himself in danger.
The M-Class is complete with underbody armor, bullet-proof glass, and an air-tight capsule with its own supply of oxygen. Mercedes has created a long line of security vehicles for papal use over the years. However, the humble pope prefers to drive his Ford Focus to travel around the Vatican. After being presented with a $200,000 Lamborghini in November of this year, Pope Francis chose to sell it at an auction and stick with his “modest” Popemobile.
2 Larry Page's Tesla Roadster
Larry Page is the co-founder of Google with a net worth of almost $50 billion. The 44-year-old is currently the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc. He's passionate about the environment and believes in preserving nature, so the businessman drives a Tesla Roadster.
The luxurious electric car has a starting price of $109,000, and that's without any of the bells and whistles. The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric sports vehicle that can travel up to 393 km on a single charge and can go from 0 to 60 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. The high-tech car is certainly a suitable choice for the high-tech mogul behind the wheel. The new second-generation Tesla Roadster will be the quickest production car ever made, and the new battery pack will have a range of over 1,000 km.
1 Bill Gates's Porsche 959 Coupe
Bill Gates is reputably one of the richest men in the world with a net worth of over $90 million. While he has an extensively impressive car collection, he can usually be seen skirting around in his Ford Focus. However, one of the most notable cars in his collection is his Porsche 959 Coupe. Not only is this car next to impossible to own because of the price, which can be anywhere from $225,000 to $400,000, but it's also incredibly rare.
There are only 230 Porsche 959 Coupe owners in the entire world, and one of them is Bill Gates. The Microsoft owner loves the Porsche brand and dubbed this vehicle "Gates 959." His specific car was one of the pre-production Porsche 959s that was built in the mid-1980s and ended up being stored for 13 years by the Customs Service at the Port of Seattle due to regulations. However, in 1999, when then-President Bill Clinton signed the "Show and Display" rule, it made certain collectible cars exempt from government regulations, which allowed Gates to drive his 959 on the road.