If you were to ask someone about what came to mind when you say ‘Russian motorcar,’ we bet that 9/10 will think about a Lada, and most probably one that’d broken down. While many have laughed at the former Soviet Union’s attempts at building motorcars, the Russians are back, and their latest attempt is rather serious.
The brand is called ‘Aurus’ and they fashion themselves an ultra-luxury carmaker, a brand you can say in the same breath as Rolls-Royce and Bentley. But we didn’t have to tell you that for you to make the assumption: Look at that grille, those suspiciously-familiar headlights, and the pronounced rear haunches and you know they went on a Goodwood factory tour.
Perhaps in laughably-Russian fashion, the press materials surrounding Aurus go to pretty decent lengths to talk about the “uncompromising levels of ballistic and explosive protection” that’s fitted to the Senat Limousine, which we’re sure its sole customer, one Mr. Vladimir Putin, appreciates very much. What he probably doesn’t appreciate is the 4.4-litre V8 engine, co-developed by Porsche, mostly because he can’t hear it from so far away. And takeoffs should be swift and silent anyway, given that the power-train is aided by an electric motor to produce a grand total of 440kW.
Not enough zoom? Then you can opt for a 6.6-litre V12 in the unarmored Senat, which will give you no less than 632kW. Happy now?
At 5630mm in length, the Senat is longer than a Bentley Mulsanne but shorter than a standard-wheelbase Phantom, though the 6630mm Senat Limousine trumps all. Beneath all Senats is a unified modular platform, which houses the all-wheel drive power-train. Regardless of the model you’ll find a cabin that’s been designed almost exclusively with rear passengers in mind, with rear seats that tilt up to 45º and set off with soft pillows. You’ll also find a fridge built-in, replete with Aurus-branded crystal flutes, and leather-trimmed fold-out tables to rest them on.
The Aurus lineup may currently consist of the Senat saloon & limousine, but the family is set to grow. An Arsenal minivan (no relation to the football team) and a Komendant SUV will be introduced later, with names inspired by the towers of the Kremlin. Aurus will officially go to market in Q1 2019, while the firm also harbours plans to breach international markets. With a planned initial production run of just 150-cars/year for 2019 and 2020, the company will open a brand-new production facility in 2021 that’ll increase capacity to 5,000-cars annually, with the option to expand further to accommodate as many as 10,000-cars a year.