Aurus Senat : Resurgent Russia’s high roller

The Aurus Senat in an undated photo. (Photos: Aurus Motors)
The spiritual successor to the grand Zil state cars, the Aurus Senat projects the same sense of imposing power that its’ enormous predecessor did during the Soviet era. Picking up after a hiatus period in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, the introduction of the Aurus brand, and its flagship Senat luxury saloon model, mark a return to Russian-manufactured presidential limousines after an interim when modern German-made Mercedes-Benz S-Class models at first supplemented, then supplanted aging Zil limousines.اضافة اعلان

Available in standard, stretched, convertible, and armored versions, the Aurus Senat’s record five-year development time saw it enter service in time for President Vladimir Putin’s 2018 inauguration. More than an expression of national confidence and political resurgence, the Aurus Senat’s arrival as a presidential car showcases Russia’s manufacturing might, just like other major industrial nations’ use of homegrown brands for such high-profile duties. Initially available only as a state car, the Senat, however, became available for sale to the public last summer.

Aurus Senat S600

The first Aurus in series production, the standard length Senat S600 is a Rolls Royce rivaling Russian high roller, similarly in enormous dimensions and elegantly arrogant aura. With a massive upright chrome-ringed grille, slim headlights, and a high and long bonnet, it cuts a similarly potent presence as old Zil limos. But unlike wide, scarcely decorated, and monolith-like late Zils, the Senat carries its heft with a vertical orientation and utilizes more flowing lines and rounded edges, including muscular rear haunches and a high-set rear deck.

The only Aurus available for retail sale yet, the un-armored S600 is powered by the same 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged hybrid V8 engine as its state car sister models. Developed by majority stakeholder NAMI institute, the Senat S600’s mighty combustion engine reportedly includes input from Porsche and develops 598HP at 5,500rpm and 880Nm throughout a wide and easily accessed 2,200-4,750rpm range. Supplemented by a 62HP electric motor sandwiched between its combustion engine and nine-speed automatic gearbox, the S600’s total hybrid system output is estimated at an immense 1,000Nm torque.

Measuring 5,630mm long and weighing 2,650kg, the Senat is, however, no slouch. Putting its vast power down through an all-wheel-drive system for sure-footed traction, the S600 can propel its substantial frame through 0-100km/h in just 5.8-seconds and onto a 250km/h top speed. With enormous turbo-boosted and electric-augmented mid-range torque reserves, it is expected that the S600’s on-the-move versatility would be effortlessly ample. However, there is speculation that Aurus might introduce an even more powerful 6.6-liter V12 engine in the future.

Designed for Russian winter road conditions, the S600’s all-wheel-drive provides additional road-holding and reassurance over ice, while SUV-like 200mm ground clearance gives the Senat an advantage over snow-covered and even some unpaved roads. Selectable driving modes even feature an ‘all-road’ setting for rougher conditions. Riding on a much more sophisticated, fully independent suspension system than Zil predecessors, the Senat’s ride quality is expected to match Western rivals, while optional air dampers are available for added comfort and body control.

Thoroughly equipped with driver assistance and safety systems such as adaptive stop/go cruise control and forward collision, lane departure, and blindspot warnings, the S600’s comfort, convenience, and tech features are extensive. They include digital instrumentation, a rear refrigerator, folding tables, privacy curtains, double-glazed windows, and much more. Spacious and luxurious, its cabin is elegantly indulgent yet tastefully finished, with high-quality woods, metal accents, and open-pore wood trim. 

With around 70 percent of the projected initial annual production of 300–350 earmarked for export, Aurus’ main foreign market is expected to be the Middle East. It was announced last year that the UAE — a significant minority Aurus shareholder — might acquire armored Senat models. That said, Senat S600 starting prices were announced at 18 million rubles last year. Then equating to around JD176,500, without duties, this is now expected to have risen to approximately JD235,500, given the significantly stronger current ruble exchange rate.

Aurus Senat Armored

Available in standard and long-wheelbase versions, armored versions of the Aurus Senat are designed to the highest civilian VR8 and VR10 ballistic and explosive resistance specifications. Significantly heavier and expected to be slightly smaller inside owing to thick bulletproof glass and integrated armor plating, they also features run-flat wheels for emergency getaways.

Aurus Senat L700

At 6,620mm long, the L700 is the limousine Senat version, which weighs an estimated 6,200kg, in the top-spec armored presidential specification. Russia’s answer to America’s Cadillac-branded “Beast,” two presidential L700s are operated by Russia’s Federal Protection Service and accompany the President when traveling. Rumored to even float, the presidential L700’s ultra-high technology and protection levels can, however, only be speculated.

Aurus Senat Cabriolet

Built in only three examples, the two-door soft-top convertible parade car Senat arrived just a few years after the last batch of specially-ordered Zil parade cars it replaces. Debuting as the defense minister’s ride at the 2019 Victory Day parade, it features a front standing space and support handles.

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