Meet the Aurus Komendant, Russia’s answer to the Bentayga and Cullinan

Did you know Russia had a homegrown luxury car company, called Aurus? It’s a brand developed by the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute (the acronym is NAMI in Russian), a descendent of a Soviet-era outfit that developed the country’s first indigenous Soviet cars after the revolution. Later on, it developed and produced engines and transmissions for the centralized economy’s other brands. And now, it’s producing a luxurious large SUV in a mainly capitalist Russian Federation, a follow-on to the Putin-approved Aurus Senat limousine and the Arsenal van. A car for the workers, this is not.

A version of the Senat, for the record, is Putin’s presidential state car – an armored limousine that caters to local tastes. It’s not quite as outrageous as some other regional offerings, like whatever Dartz is making right now and the Kombat Armouring T-98 Kombat armored urban vehicle. But it should be considerably more opulent.

What Aurus offers to people not named Putin is a little different than the state car, as you’d expect. It’s shorter, for one, and likely doesn’t have as many protection and defense features. We last reported it started at roughly $274,000. We would expect the Komendant, pictured here, to follow the Senat’s lead.

That means the NAMI-developed, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 should be present, making about 600 horsepower. We hear a V12 and even a 2.2-liter inline-four may eventually come to the Senat, but perhaps not to the Komendant. We expect the SUV to make its debut at the 2020 Moscow Auto Show, which takes place in August, with sales to follow sometime in 2021.

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2021 Aurus Komendant spy shots

The third model from new Russian luxury automotive brand Aurus has been spotted for the first time.

Still in the early stages of development, the vehicle is a luxury SUV to be called the Komendant and due on sale in Russia in late 2020 or early the following year. It will join the Arsenal minivan and Senat sedan in Aurus’ expanding lineup. The Senat also comes as a stretch limousine, a heavily armored version of which serves as the presidential limo for Vladimir Putin.

Judging by the spy shots, the Komendant will share styling cues with its Arsenal and Senat siblings. Although there are similarities to modern Rolls-Royces, the inspiration for the styling comes from the old ZiL sedans built in the final years of the Soviet Union.

2021 Aurus Komendant spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Styling isn’t the only aspect common to Aurus’ vehicles. They all ride on a shared architecture known as the Unified Modular Platform. It’s a rear-wheel-drive platform available with all-wheel-drive and hybrid technologies.

Development has been handled by a consortium of Russian automakers led by the Russian Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automobile Engines Institute (NAMI) and aided by Porsche. The German automaker’s engineering services were tapped by Aurus for powertrain development in particular.

Power in the Komendant is expected to come from the same V-8-based hybrid powertrain found in the Senat. The powertrain combines a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with an electric motor for approximately 598 horsepower. Completing the drivetrain is a 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system.

2019 Aurus Senat

2019 Aurus Senat

Sales will initially be in Russia but Aurus is looking at other markets, specifically China and the Middle East. China is expected to follow with its own range of luxury vehicles from its historic brand Hongqi.

Aurus production is being handled by a joint venture owned by NAMI and Russian automaker Sollers Group.

And in case you were wondering, the names for the vehicles come from the towers at the Kremlin, while the Aurus brand name is a portmanteau of Aurum, Latin for “gold,” and Russia.

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