Production Starts On Vladimir Putin-Endorsed Car, Russia's Store-Brand Rolls-Royce

Illustration for article titled Production Starts On Vladimir Putin-Endorsed Car, Russia's Store-Brand Rolls-Royce
Photo: Aurus

Remember when you were eagerly watching Vladimir Putin’s 2018 inauguration, sitting on your couch in a pile of furs and chugging borscht from a rusty thermos? Of course you do we all do. Remember when you saw the limo Putin climbed into that at first you thought was a Rolls-Royce Phantom?

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Remember how you swore one day you’d have one, but the only way was to become President of Russia, but you decided you didn’t want to be poisoned in a café so you gave up the dream? Well, good news: production has started on a civilian version of the car, so all you need is money, not a deathwish.

The car is known as the Aurus Senat, and Reuters reports that as of March 31, Russia has begun production of the high-end car, with between 200 and 300 planned to be built. The base-trim version (with probably plastic unpainted bumpers and steelies) will start at $245,000.

That’s a bargain when you consider that the car the Aurus looks most like a Great Value version of, the Rolls-Royce Phantom, starts at $463,350. Save yourself 200 very large and get the one that’s frankly, probably good enough.

The Senat is, surprisingly, a hybrid, powered by a 590 horsepower 4.4-liter V8, co-developed by NAMI (the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute from the Soviet era that developed everything from hovercraft to military vehicles to Chaika limos) and Porsche engineering, along with a 62 horsepower electric motor.

Illustration for article titled Production Starts On Vladimir Putin-Endorsed Car, Russia's Store-Brand Rolls-Royce
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Also, those headlights look so familiar, but I can’t quite place them. They’re almost like Chrysler 300 units, but not quite.

The American market is probably unlikely, but China and the Middle East are very likely, so if you want one, you’ll have to buy it there and register it in Montana, I guess, if you want to drive it here.

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What’s confusing is that it seems like the Aurus Senat has been available for sale before, but I think and, I’ll be honest, it’s not entirely clear from the Reuters story or anywhere else that the difference here is that the long-wheelbase, full-limo version (21.7 feet long!) will now be sold? That, or the announcement that happened in 2018 never actually came to fruition, which is possible, too.

I guess I’ll have to ask my local Aurus dealer what the deal is.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

planktron
Planktron

How is there any more pride in completely ripping off an existing design than just buying what’s already available? How is tracing an existing thing built by another country supposed to convey a sense of industrial might to the rest of the world?