NewsCrime Desk

Gardai's new D4 tractors can't catch hot wheeled burglary gangs

Garda pose beside new Audi
Garda pose beside new Audi

Gardai will soon see the arrival of more than 40 Audi and BMW 4X4s as part of a €5m spending spree to crack down on crime across the nation.

However, part of the new Garda fleet, which includes a BMW X5 and an Audi Q7, would probably be more suited to a school car park in Dublin’s leafy Foxrock, than chasing a Subaru WRX STI or Volkswagen Golf R on the Irish roads.

Both the X5 and the Q7 are the motors of choice for the yummy mummy brigade that would rather fill their boots with Brown Thomas bags than breathalysers, Garda cones and equipment.

These ‘D4 Tractors’, are not they type of high-powered vehicles used by police forces in other parts of the world.

Cars like Subaru’s WRX STI, or Volkswagen’s Golf R or even GTI, have far superior road handling and 0-100kph sprint times than both the 3.0-litre ‘diesel-powered’ BMW X5 or Audi Q7.

Gang favourite Subaru 'Scooby' Impreza

For example, the new 2.0-litre petrol-powered Volkswagen Golf R, which we test-drove recently, has a 0-100kph sprint time of just 5.1 seconds, compared to the 6.5 seconds in the Audi Q7.

The all-wheel drive Golf R has a limited top speed of 250kph, compared to 230kph in the Q7.

However, the main difference between the petrol-powered Golf R and the diesel-powered Q7 is that the Volkswagen corners like it is on a roller coaster – and would leave the Garda SUV in its dust.

Meanwhile, the likes of Subaru’s 2.5-litre petrol-powered all-wheel drive WRX STI has a sprint time of 5.2 seconds to 0-100kph, compared to 6.9 seconds in the BMW X5.

It has a limited top speed of 255kph, compared to 234kph in the mighty BMW X5.

However, the one thing we will say is that if the Gardai ever catch up with the criminals in the boy-racer cars, they will certainly travel back to the station in comfort and style.

And, with third-row seating available in both models, there is enough room for three boys in blue and four criminals.

But how does Ireland fair against the police supercars across the planet?

This week, the Sunday World looked at the vehicles being used by police forces around the world to see just how powerful the country’s new fleet actually is. 

A police car is no longer just seen as a form of transport – it plays a vital role in the force and is an important part of a Garda’s toolkit to bring down fearless drug dealers in high-speed chases, the transportation of donor organs and implementing safety across the road network. 

As the world’s criminals become much more sophisticated and tech-savvy in their activities, the authorities have been forced to rethink their policing strategy. 

The improved mechanics and advances in technology means the fastest cars on earth are now home to some police forces across the world.

Gone are the days of cops fighting crime with small Fords – nabbing ruthless criminals has become a lot more glamorous and exciting.

In the oil-rich country of Dubai, the force revolutionised their fleet in 2013 when standard cop cars were scrapped in favour of supercars.

This included the world’s fastest production car, the Bugatti Veyron, which can reach a top speed of 430kph and can sprint to 100kph in just 2.46seconds.

Dubai’s police chief, Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, said the Chevrolet Camaro SS would uphold the United Arab Emigrates tradition in “safety and security”. The car, which can reach top speeds of 250kph, has helped the force keep law and order in the Middle East.

When they were unveiled, the car’s designers said they were confident it had the “ability to respond rapidly”.

The government does not shy away from displaying its wealth and purchased a Ferrari FF in 2013, which is driven only by female officers.

A local detective explained that Dubai is a “unique city” and that everything in the city should “reflect its uniqueness”. 

In Italy, the sleek Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 is a force to be reckoned with as it graces the country’s motorways in an effort to tackle the spiralling problem of fatal road accidents.

Reaching maximum speeds of 327 km/h, the car is kitted out with a refrigerator for transporting donor organs, a defibrillator and an impressive video system on board to assist tackling crime.

However, many officers were saddened when the Italian police were forced to take one of the Lamborghinis, which can cost over €300,000, off the road when a motorist crashed into it.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel sent shivers down the spines of German criminals when her government revealed the Brabus CLS as its cover photo for a transport safety campaign.

Decked out in blue lights and the local Polizei colours, this machine can go from 0 to 100kmph in 3.2 seconds.

However, villains were relieved when authorities confirmed the machines would not be rolled out further – presumably due to its half a million price tag.

On the lower end of the budget, the Austrian police invested in a strong fleet of Porsche 911s. Costing more than €90,000 each, the turbo cars can reach speeds of up to 244kph.  

Just across the water in Somerset, England, cops have tested the Ariel Atom car, designed with special aerodynamics to make it one of the lightest vehicles on the road.

The €53,000 vehicles have been used to encourage drivers and motorcyclists to slow down.

Officers in the U.K. also embraced the Lotus Evora S in a bid to engage younger drivers to slow down. Detectives believe the Lotus will connect with young people more than the average Astra. 

Despite her world counterparts supporting the use of supercars, Commissioner O’Sullivan has full faith in her BMW and Audis.

“I am confident that this comprehensive operation will help disrupt the activities of burglars, organised crime gangs and prolific offenders and will improve the safety for all communities across the country,” said Ms O’Sullivan at the launch of the new fleet.