Ever get that uncomfortable feeling when a cop car is behind you, even if you didn’t do anything wrong? Most of us have experienced it at least once. That being said, if you live in Britain and you are an avid car person, seeing a cop car in traffic can actually be interesting. British police or “Rozzers” as they are often called, are known for having some pretty rad rides. Here are 5 British police cars which would make any car person jealous.

Volvo V70 T5

For decades Volvos had been known as a sensible family-oriented brand without any performance models. With the appearance of the 850R Estate, however, Volvo accidentally created a whole new segment, the fast estate car. The success of the 850R inspired Volvo to create a successor called the V70 T5 which drew the attention of British Police for its unique combination of build quality, usability and performance.

The V70 T5 was introduced in the early 2000s and immediately became one of the coolest vehicles used by British Police. With a 2.3-litre five-cylinder turbo engine, good for 250 HP, this rapid family wagon got to 60 in 6.9 seconds, not bad for 18 years ago! High-speed pursuits were no problem too, with a limited 155mph top speed. Along with its roomy station wagon body style, the V70 T5 was at home on motorways and also pretty usable around town. If 250 horsepower isn’t enough, the 2.3-litre turbo engine is also a highly tunable unit (I doubt the cops did anything with that though!)

Credit: Police_Mad_Liam CC BY 2.0

BMW i3

In order to fight crime more efficiently, police forces must be ready to keep up with the latest tech trends. Although not in mainstream use yet, the Met police are currently trialling using the I3 for city policing, with a view to purchasing the sportier I3s model. If you don’t know much about the BMW i3, it’s a state of the art electric vehicle with over 200 miles range, impressive performance and very compact dimensions which makes it perfect for patrolling around the busy streets of London and other major British cities.

The i3 is pretty pricey at £30,000 but it could be a great addition to police fleets since it is very maneuverable, easy to park and also environmentally friendly.

Credit: Steven Straiton CC-BY-2.0

Jaguar Mk2

Despite the legendary Jaguar Mk2 being long out of service, its still regarded as one of the greatest police cars ever used. During the `60s and early `70s, British police used a large number of very capable and fast Mk2 sedans which had powerful 3.4 and 3.8-litre straight six engines. These made over 200 horsepower, similar to a 325i of today. Not bad!

Although Jaguars were always luxury models, perhaps an oddball choice for a police car, there were two very good reasons to use them. Firstly is the fact that Jaguars were often the cars of choice of bank robbers and criminals rendering the current Ford Cortina’s useless! Secondly, the British motorway system was actually de-restricted at the time so the police needed a vehicle which could travel at high speed in safety and comfort!

BMW 335d

In recent years, British police started using several BMW models, mostly in station wagon form. For the enthusiast, however, the most interesting version is the really fast 335d. At first glance, it may be strange to see a police force using a luxury diesel sedan/wagon, but actually, the BMW 335d is nigh on perfect as a patrol car. With a twin-turbo straight six 3 litre diesel, it delivers an amazing 309 HP and an even more amazing 465 lb-ft of torque. The performance is equally astonishing and the 335d is capable of reaching 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and topping 155 mph! That’s not all though, as the 335 is a diesel-powered car, the fuel economy is great with a claimed 50mpg. Also, 335d is available as an xDrive all-wheel-drive version, ideal for fast response teams and winter patrols.

In 2023, there has been some debate as to whether BMW will continue to supply the British police with vehicles, due to rumours of engine failures.

Credit: Police_Mad_Liam CC BY 2.0

McLaren 12C Spider

If fast Volvo estates, classic Jaguars or powerful BMW diesels aren’t your thing, then perhaps this will be. In 2014 British police were gifted what was known as the fastest police car in the world at the time – the McLaren 12C Spider. Although the McLaren is fully equipped and painted as a proper patrol car, it’s not exactly in daily use on British high streets. With a base price of a whopping £240,000, it wouldn’t really make a great everyday patrol car either. That being said, as a pursuit car it would be perfect, with a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin turbo V8, 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds and a top speed of exactly 207 mph. Even an E60 M5 V10 couldn’t outrun it!