Aurus Senat: European debut for Russian limousine

The Aurus Senat S600 and Senat Limousine L700, the first models from the new Russian luxury brand tasked by president Vladimir Putin with rivalling Rolls-Royce, have been displayed in Europe for the first time at the Geneva motor show.

The two cars were first unveiled at last year’s Moscow motor show. The Senat L700 limo, described as offering “uncompromising level of ballistic and explosive protection”, will serve as Russia’s new state vehicle and was seen in that role at the inauguration of president Putin last year.

The new brand, which is run by Russia’s Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engine Institute, known as NAMI, was developed under the instruction of Putin. He felt it was important that Russia made its own presidential vehicles.

Both machines are built on a new Unified Modular Platform developed by Aurus and NAMI. The Senat Limousine uses a 4.4-litre V8 engine jointly developed by NAMI and Porsche, aided by a hybrid electric motor to offer 590bhp and can achieve 0-62mph in less than six seconds. The machine is powered by a nine-speed gearbox.

Other engine options for the unarmored Senat will include a 6.6-litre V12 with 848bhp.

The Rolls-Royce-rivalling standard Senat S600 is 5630mm long, with a 3300mm wheelbase, rising to 6630mm and 4300mm respectively on the limo variant. Both cars will be built on a unified modular platform. The Senat will be all-wheel drive and run on independent multi-link rear suspension, with gas-filled shock absorbers.

The interior has been focused on rear passengers, with rear seats that recline to 45deg and are equipped with custom designer downy pillows. There is also a built-in refrigerator with Aurus-branded crystal glasses and fold-out tables with leather trim.

Along with the two Senat models, Aurus is also planning to develop a minivan called Arensal and an SUV named Komendant. The model names are inspired by the Kremlin’s towers. Aurus models went on sale in Russia ilast month, and will eventually be offered in international markets.

While Aurus is originally planning to produce 150 vehicles a year, a new production facility will expand capacity to 5000 by 2021, with the option to further increase volume to 10,000 vehicles if there is demand.

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