Police cars: the world's best and worst
We delve into the magical world of the police car, taking in the fastest, most exotic and most inappropriate police cars on Earth
A police car is supposed to strike fear and offer reassurance across the world, with citizens knowing that the police are out and about keeping the world a safer place. However, police cars can be quite dull and tedious. There are one or two exceptions, but for the most part, the world’s police officers are left with very uninspiring vehicles to use. Below we have rounded up some of the more interesting police-issue machines, though, featuring everything from the fast and cool to the just plain dreadful.
UK police officers are sometimes the worst offenders for having the worst police cars. With cutbacks and job losses, we understand that not every police force can afford to spend thousands on buying a McLaren 570S or a fleet of Range Rover Sport SVRs, but surely there has to be a better option than a diesel Vauxhall Corsa.
For the most part, these high-performance police cars are shown off as PR stunts and almost never get used for catching over-confident criminals. There are one or two exceptions where supercars are a necessity, like Dubai for example, where expensive cars dominate the landscape and 1,000bhp hypercars are as common as taxis and buses.
But even a supercar police car has its downfalls. Take space - it’s all well and good catching up to a crook but you can’t exactly shove them into the back of your two-seater. Plus, if things got violent then any repair bill could possibly bankrupt the entire police force.
If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. But if you can do the time and are likely to be caught red-handed, why not commit said offence in a country where you can at least enjoy a high-speed getaway chase with the cops in a top-end hypercar? Check the following list for the world’s greatest and most disappointing police cars...
The world's best and worst police cars
Skoda Kodiaq vRS
Engine: Biturbo 2.0 TDI diesel0-62mph: 7.0 secondsTop speed: 136mph
While not necessarily a cool police car, Skoda’s Kodiaq vRS would certainly be an intimidating sight to see hurtling towards you in your rear view mirror. Its four-wheel drive system and 237bhp mean that the lawless have little chance of escaping the UK bobbies.
While many standard features remain such as the 20-inch alloy wheels and dual exhaust pipes, there have been some additional police spec upgrades. Some not so standard features include 360-degree visibility thanks to powerful LED signal lights built into the front screen, grille, tailgate and number plate – plus a 100-amp three-tone siren and roof-mounted emergency lights to top it off.
Nissan GT-R ‘Copzilla’
Engine: Twin-turbo V6, 562bhp0-62mph:
Alright, so there’s no additional performance bolted onto what is otherwise a standard GT-R, but nonetheless Nissan did brilliant job styling this one-off ‘Copzilla’ for the 2017 New York Motor Show. Adorned with Skyline Metro Police Department motifs, the flashing lights and gigantic roof-mounted spoiler complete a terrifying look. Who would dare try and outrun a copper driving one of these?
Ford Focus RS
Engine: N/A0-62mph: N/ATop speed: N/A
The Swedish police force took delivery of some shiny new Volvo V90 estate cars in 2017. It's not hard to see why – we very much like the V90 here at Auto Express, and it appears the Swedish police force do too. In fact, like all potential future vehicles, the V90 was tested to the limit in the country's stringent police car tests and scored 9.2 out of 10 – the highest score every achieved by a car.
The overall comments on the car were that the "chassis, steering, suspension, traction control and powertrain all show exemplary performance. Quick lane changes at high speeds feel almost deceptively easy, the car does what it is told to do and shakes off lateral forces without any protest.” Engine specs aren't known, but we suspect the Swedish-spec cars might be using the punchy T6 petrol engine we don't get in the UK. That's good for 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
Ariel Atom PL
Engine: 2.0-litre Honda VTEC, 350bhp0-62mph: 2.5 secondsTop speed: 155mph
The Ariel Atom PL was given to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary following the announcement of Ariel's motorbike. Based on Ariel Atom 3.5R, the PL's power output was increased from 240 to 350bhp, allowing it to 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.
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 345bhp0-62mph: 2.5 secondsTop 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.
Engine: 5.0-litre V8, 385bhp0-62mph: 6.6 secondsTop 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
Engine: 5.5-litre V8, 577bhp0-62mph: 4.2 secondsTop 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 was only a loaner car, though, from Mercedes in Australia – as it was part of a campaign to boost road safety in Victoria.
Engine: 3.8-litre Boxer 6cyl, 370bhp0-62mph: 4.5 secondsTop speed: 186mph
Porsche recently celebrated 50 years of its iconic 911 sports car, 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
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.
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 took delivery of one, too, but it’s for engaging the public rather than chasing crooks.
Alfa Romeo Giulia QV
Engine: 2.9-litre V6, 503bhp0-62mph: 3.9 secondsTop 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.
Engine: 2.8-litre diesel0-62mph: N/ATop speed: N/A
Yet another entry for the Carabinieri, but this time it’s a competent off-roader. FCA delivered the 2.8-litre diesel Jeep Wrangler to the Italian paramilitary police to help patrol an area of the Italian east coast. While it is not the most powerful car on this list, it is one of the most capable off-road. This is helped in part by something called the Mopar One Pack, which brings with it a 2-inch lift, 17-inch Gladiator wheels and additional flares on the front and rear wheelarches.
Engine: 4.2-litre V8, 400bhp0-62mph: 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
Engine: 5.2-litre V100-62mph: 3.2 secondsTop 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.
Ford Shelby Mustang Roush Edition
Engine: 5.0-litre V8 0-62mph: 4.5 secs Top speed: 147mph
You can count on Dubai for a bit of motoring madness and it appears the police are partial to some flash cars. Among the fleet of supercars the local constabulory get to run around in is this Ford Mustang. It's not just any Mustang though, it's a special edition 'Roush' Edition - complete with a 575bhp V8. We can only imagine the sound of this muscle car echoing across the dunes.
Aston Martin One-77
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
Engine: 6.0 W12, 567bhpTop 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.
Engine: 6.2 V12, 651bhp0-62mph: 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...
Engine: 1.5-litre, 80bhp0-62mph: 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.
Engine: 0.9-litre, 89bhp0-62mph: 10.4 seconds Top speed: 96mph
Officers in New York City may struggle to be taken seriously when they trade their classic Ford Crown Victorias for the tiny Smart Fortwo. The NYPD has bought 250 of these diddy city cars, presumably to beat the crush of NYC's traffic congestion. But as they're almost as wide as a conventional car, we can't quite see the benefit – apart from when parking, of course...
Engine: 1.8-litre, 134bhp0-62mph: 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.