Police cars: the world's best and worst

6 May, 2016 11:00am Tom Wiltshire

We explore the wonderful world of the Police car, looking at the fastest, most exotic and most inappropriate police cars on the planet.

We all see police cars on a regular basis out on the roads but police cars like these are definitely not an everyday sighting. Auto Express has taken look at some of the fastest, coolest, shoddiest, best and worst police patrol vehicles used by forces across the world.

In Britain, we’ve moved on from the likes of the Austin Metro and Vauxhall Cavalier panda cars chasing down our high streets. 
Instead, police forces are now keen to show off more exotic wheels on their fleets. Our European neighbours are at it too, with the Dutch police force, for example, running a Spyker C8.

Incredible police cars of Dubai

Offenders would have a tough time escaping some of these high performance patrol cars and they won’t even get to enjoy a ride to the nick once apprehended. Many of the more exotic cars are used purely for PR purposes or to act as a deterrent – many don’t even have seats for passengers in the back.

Of course, not all police officers get the opportunity to track criminals in a supercar. Mundane Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra patrol vehicles are the backbone of most modern constabularies and we’ve also had a look at some of the embarrassing vehicles being driven by the world’s police.

These less impressive police cars easily outnumber the supercars – so if the idea of exotic police vehicles has made you consider a career change, you might want to check the force’s fleet before signing up... 

The world's best and worst police cars

Ariel Atom PL

Engine: 2.0-litre Honda VTEC, 350bhp
0-62mph: 2.5 seconds
Top speed: 155mph

The Ariel Atom PL was given to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary following the announcement of Ariel's upcoming motorbike. Based on Ariel Atom 3.5R, the PL's power output has been increased from 240 to 350bhp and will reach 0-62mph in an unbelievable 2.6 seconds. While it's fully decked out in a police livery complete with blues-and-twos, it's unlikely it'll ever be used to nick light-fingered cider enthusiasts in the area. However, were they to be, they wouldn't stand much of a chance in getting away. 

Caparo T1

Caparo T1 police car

Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 345bhp
0-62mph: 2.5 seconds
Top speed: 205mph

The Caparo T1 is less of a patrol car and more of a high-speed pursuit vehicle. The mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive two-seater was put into police livery by London’s Metropolitan Police. It can blast from 0-62mph in just 2.5 seconds, and while it’s unlikely to hit its 200mph-plus top speed in any pursuits down the Hackney Road, at least it’ll get people moving out of the way. Designed by the engineers behind the McLaren F1, the Caparo won’t give offenders much chance to escape.

Ford F-150

Ford F-150 Police Car
Engine: 5.0-litre V8, 385bhp
0-62mph: 6.6 seconds
Top speed: N/A
Few vehicles are more intimidating than the massive Ford F-150 pick-up - but in America, it's a staple of life, and has been the best-selling vehicle for years. So, just like the British police forces use the best-selling Ford Focus, it follows that American forces should use the F-150. The Police Pack is available on SuperCrew and SuperCab F-150's fitted with either the 5.0-litre V8 or 3.5-litre EcoBoost engines, and is fitted with all the equipment you'd expect from a police vehicle. Don't expect to see it on these shores, though.

Mercedes GLE Coupe

Mercedes GLE Coupe Police Car
Engine: 5.5-litre V8, 577bhp
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Aussies love a V8, and with the GLE 63 S Coupe the Australian police force even get two turbochargers tacked on as a bonus! The sleek coupe body might not be the most practical for transporting prisoners, but the jacked-up ride height should make mincemeat of the rough outback roads. This is only a loaner car, though, from Mercedes in Australia - it's part of a campaign to boost road safety in Victoria.

Porsche 911
Porsche 911 police car

Engine: 3.8-litre Boxer 6cyl, 370bhp
0-62mph: 4.5 seconds
Top speed: 186mph

Porsche celebrated 50 years of its iconic 911 sports car this year, and it’s likely the police in Berlin were keen to join the party with their 2005 model, which has been fettled by German tuner TechArt. This 370bhp machine can cover 0-62mph in only 4.5 seconds 
on the way to a 186mph top speed, and helps keep wayward Berliners on the right side of the law.

Mercedes CLS Brabus Rocket

Mercedes CLS Brabus police car

Engine: 6.3-litre V12, 720bhp 
0-62mph: 3.2 seconds 
Top speed: 227mph 

Not content with the 911, the German authorities were also treated to this Brabus-tuned MkI CLS, dubbed the Rocket. With a top speed of 227mph and 720bhp on offer, it’s not hard to see where it got its name from. Brabus has given it all the kit needed to keep the added power in check. Unlike some of our other hot cop cars, it’ll also fit a couple of offenders in the back.

Lotus Evora

Lotus Evora police car

Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 345bhp 
0-62mph: 4.4 seconds 
Top speed: 178mph 

Used by Italy’s national military police, the Carabinieri, this fully liveried version of the Lotus Evora has caused quite a stir. It delivers 345bhp and is capable of 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds, so is a match for most traffic on the country’s autostrada. Lotus also takes care of maintenance and trains the drivers on how to handle the supercar. The Norfolk police force has taken delivery of one recently, too, but it’s for engaging the public rather than chasing crooks.

Alfa Romeo Giulia QV

Alfa Romeo Giulia - Police car front three quarter
Engine: 2.9-litre V6, 503bhp
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Top speed: 190mph

The Carabinieri are no strangers to fast Alfas, having used 159's in the past. But the new Giulia QV is the most powerful yet, packing a staggering 503bhp from its twin-turbo V6 engine. Forces in Rome and Milan have taken delivery of a Giulia QV each, and they will be used for rapid reponse, transporting organs and escorting VIPs.

Spyker C8
Spyker C8  police car

Engine: 4.2-litre V8, 400bhp
0-62mph: 4.5 seconds 
Top speed: 187mph 

This Dutch supercar was fittingly daubed in the red and blue colours of the country’s police force. It also has a specially made stand to hold the light bar, as there’s nowhere for a standard static bar to be fitted. And the rumbling Audi-sourced V8 has would-be criminals thinking twice.

Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4

Lamborghini Huracan police car

Engine: 5.2-litre V10
0-62mph: 3.2s
Top speed: 202mph

The Italian Police didn't have long to wait to get their hands on the new Lamborghini Huracan. The fully-liveried Huracan Polizia was given to the Italian State Police by Lamborghini complete with the all important blue lights. The car's 5.2-litre V10 develops a crook-catching 602bhp.

Aston Martin One-77
Dubai police cars

Engine: 7.3 V12, 750bhp 
0-62mph:  3.7 secs 
Top speed: 220mph

This is as special as they come from the legendary British maker. As the name suggests, the Aston Martin One-77 was a limited release of just 77 models worldwide. Beautifully hand-crafted materials and an obsessive attention to detail mark the car out. It’s no slouch, either, with 750bhp from a V12 and a top speed of 220mph.

Bentley Continental GT
Dubai police cars

Engine: 6.0 W12, 567bhp
Top speed: 197mph 
0-62mph: 4.3 secs  

Another British car, the Bentley Continental GT is a fine choice due to its superb refinement and quality. It’s hand-made at Bentley’s famous Crewe factory, and every effort is made to produce the perfect car, tailored to buyers’ every request. The 6.0-litre W12 engine catapults the car to just shy of 200mph, and dispatches the 0-62mph sprint in 4.3 seconds.

Ferrari FF

Dubai police cars Ferrari FF

Engine: 6.2 V12, 651bhp
0-62mph: 3.7 secs  
Top speed: 208mph 

Practical and Ferrari are two words you rarely hear in the same sentence. The Ferrari FF is an exception, though, because it is a genuinely practical supercar with space for four occupants in a shooting brake bodystyle – the perfect choice for  transporting criminals to the station quickly, thanks to its 651bhp V12 engine.

The world's worst police cars

Exotic police cars costing vast sums of money to buy and run are inappropriate in their own way but not in the same way as these models. Here are some of the world's worst police cars...  

Lada Riva

Lada Riva police car

Engine: 1.5-litre, 80bhp
0-62mph: 14.5 seconds 
Top speed: 95mph

Due to the trade embargo with the US, Cuba has found it difficult to obtain an appropriate fleet of police cars. But its friends in Russia helpfully suggested the Lada Riva – and they weren’t joking. The four-door patrols the streets of Havana with a comically large siren, but 
it’s unlikely anyone sees the serious side.

Smart Fortwo

Smart ForTwo police car

Engine: 0.7-litre, 61bhp
0-62mph: 15.0 seconds 
Top speed: 84mph

Officers in the Czech capital, Prague, will struggle if this pint-sized patrol car is called 
in to chase any criminals. And even if they do pull any offenders over, they’ll have to call in 
back-up to take them away. At least the two-seater Smart ForTwo will be easy to park 
if the cops fancy some doughnuts.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius police car

Engine: 1.8-litre, 134bhp
0-62mph: 10.1 seconds 
Top speed: 112mph

In a bid to add to their green credentials, police in Berlin are attempting to offset the emissions of the Porsche on their fleet (above) with these hybrid Toyota Prius patrol cars. They’re painfully slow, yet incredibly efficient – and when running on battery power, officers would be able to sneak up on criminals!

For more incredible police cars, check out our round-up of the police cars of Dubai.

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