Italy's police forces have long been famous for employing some of the most radical sports cars made by the country's storied automotive manufacturers. But now, a batch of Detroit SUVs will feature heavily in the Ministry of Defense's armed responses. The first Jeep Grand Cherokee, complete with armored upgrades, has gone into service on the streets of Rome, with 18 more planned to deploy alongside.
Of course, Jeep is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, despite its reputation for being a homegrown brand—and a figure as influential as Enzo Ferrari is often quoted as having declared that, "Jeep is America's only true sports car." But now that the company is owned by an Italian-American conglomerate, sending a few Grand Cherokees to serve with the Carabinieri only makes sense.
Top Gear reports that the Jeeps have been modified extensively to provide a level of safety that models bought at the dealer can only dream of. They feature bullet-resistant windows, body panels, and tires, as well as suspension upgrades to improve handling despite the added weight of the armoring package. Under the hood, an efficient 3.0-liter diesel V6 produces 190 horsepower that is routed through a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Grand Cherokees are destined for anti-terrorism use, and despite their heft, will undoubtedly prove a solid new addition from FCA. The move may have been predictable given FCA's previous contributions to Italy's law enforcement community, which include Jeep Wranglers on the Romagna coastline, as well as a duo of Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglios that have been in service since 2016.
While officers may clamor for a chance to pilot the new acquisitions, they surely won't receive quite the same level of publicity and attention as the high-speed chase specialist Lamborghini Huracan that began patrolling Italy's highways in 2017. While the Lambo doesn't feature armor plating, it has received a number of additions that essentially make it a new model known as the Huracan Polizia.
Other than the distinctive paint job and a patrol car's typical array of gadgets, the Huracan Polizia also features a defibrillator and a special refrigeration unit for transporting organs bound for transplant. Both modifications are intended to capitalize on the car's speed advantage when compared to standard police vehicles, though the base-spec Huracan's 650-horsepower V10 and all-wheel drive have not seen performance-enhancements.