Tasmania Police unveiled twin-turbocharged Kia Stinger 330S highway patrol cars last week.
The force promoted the new machines at 11.38am on Thursday, saying “Today we launched our brand new Highway Patrol vehicles, which you’ll see detecting and intercepting dangerous drivers on major roads across Tasmania.”
The same car was involved in a serious crash at 5pm the next day.
A police statement said the patrol car was involved in an a collision with a Mazda station wagon on the Midland Highway near Oatlands, north of Hobart, on Friday afternoon.
Inspector Grant Twining said the Mazda’s occupants were unharmed, while “the male police officer, who was the sole occupant of the police car, was taken to hospital by helicopter with potentially serious injuries”.
“The police car appears to have been hit by the vehicle which was travelling behind it on the highway,” he said.
Police told the ABC the crash occurred after the officer “activated the emergency lights and conducted a U-turn”.
An image of the smashed police car published by the ABC shows it sustained serious damage triggering the car’s side airbags.
Kia’s Stinger has replaced Australian made Holden and Ford police cars in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania.
The Stinger 330S adopted by Tasmania has a high-performance twin-turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 engine with 274kW and 510Nm, along with powerful Brembo brakes, high-quality tyres and a limited-slip differential.
The car is loaded with safety features but misses out on the sunroof, heated and cooled seats, and Harman Kardon stereo of the range-topping Kia Stinger GT.
The new machines are part of a beefed-up highway patrol presence in Tasmania, which includes 68 police dedicated to road safety across the state.
Tasmania Police state road safety coordinator, Inspector Gary Williams, said last week that police “want to do whatever we can to stop people dying in crashes on our roads”.
“We’re throwing everything we can at making our roads safer, including these brand-new Highway Patrol vehicles, and we’re using other resources like drones and our community evidence portal to help us track down traffic offenders.”