Meet The Aurus Senat: Vladimir Putin’s 7-Tonne Knock-Off Rolls-Royce

"The perfect whip for the budding oligarch."

Normally we think of China as being the home of automotive plagiarism, but it seems Vladimir Putin’s Russia is giving them a run for their money with the Aurus Senat.


Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and shirtless horse-riding aficionado, certainly likes the finest things in life. A luxurious watch collection, filled with Breguets and Patek Philippes; an extensive property portfolio throughout Russia and Western Europe; his $140 million personal superyacht Graceful

He also gets driven around in an incredibly luxurious, seven-tonne, Russian-made limousine that has more than a passing resemblance to the current-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Meet the Aurus Senat: the official Presidential State Car of Russia as well as officially one of the most confounding cars ever made. If you don’t believe us, check out this cartoonishly villainous promotional video below.

In standard form, the Aurus Senat weighs just under 3 tonnes, but Putin’s Senat, which boasts bulletproof armour, reinforced glass, bomb-resistant underfloor protection, solid ‘run-flat’ rubber tyres, an integrated weapons system and a self-contained oxygen supply, weighs over 7 tonnes – about the same as a commercial bus, Drive reports.

Like a Rolls-Royce, it’s exceptionally luxurious inside. The interior is filled with swathes of real wood and Russian leather, and a champagne fridge comes as standard. It’s the perfect whip for the budding oligarch facing sanctions from the West.

It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L petrol V8 reportedly developed in cooperation with Porsche combined with a single-motor electric hybrid system which gets it (the standard car at least) from 0 to 100km/h in just 6 seconds. In comparison, the non-electrified Rolls-Royce Phantom’s 6.75L twin-turbo V12 does 0-100 in 5.3 seconds.

At the same time, the Aurus Senat ‘only’ costs around 18 million rubles (~US$245,000), which is about half the price of a Phantom. Aurus also plan to produce a hydrogen-powered Senat, as photos from a recent Reuters report suggest. That’s something Rolls also isn’t doing.

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Vladimir Putin drives Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a Senat during an event at Sochi Autodrom in 2018. Image: Motor1

The Aurus Senat was introduced as Russia’s state car in 2018 and replaced the Mercedes-Benz S600 Putin used to tool around in. It’s a return to the grand tradition of excessive Russian luxury limousines, as epitomised by the ZiLs of the Soviet era.

Aurus has already started exporting the Senat to the Middle East and China, and are reportedly developing a luxury full-size SUV, the Aurus Komendant. We wonder if that will end up looking like a Cullinan…

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