To return to the reasons for the creation of “Aurus”, I think, is not necessary. It is clear that the ideology – the state order – initially went ahead of commerce. However, the very fact of bringing such a project to an end is already a reason to congratulate its creators. Especially against the backdrop of a whole list of Yo‑mobiles, Marus, Hellas and other Matryoshkas that have sunk into oblivion. And if you remember at what time and under what geopolitical realities the car went into production, then you will get the feeling that those who gave the order to create a limousine suspected something ten years ago.
One way or another, the brand new Aurus Senat stood before me in all its monumental grandeur. Even with a standard base length, this is a very large car: well over five meters long and as high as a crossover. You can say hello to the driver of any SUV through the window without going anywhere. At first, it seems that the Senat was built on the basis of some kind of pickup truck or even a truck – this is how, for example, presidential limousines are made in the United States. But no: as you know, Aurus rests on a single modular platform (EMP), created by NAMI, which is also used for the entire model range of the brand.
The appearance of Aurus Senat has long been no secret to anyone. The main artist of the project, Yuri Chernenko, was repeatedly reproached for the fact that the Russian limousine turned out to be visually similar to Rolls-Royce. The designer retorted by strictly adhering to the terms of reference, which meant a classic status car without unnecessary experiments. Like, Senat is a kind of collective image of a representative limousine, which takes into account all the modern world trends in this genre. Actually, government cars were made in the same way in the USSR, inspired by the latest achievements, as a rule, of the American auto industry.
Despite the obvious resemblance to Rolls-Royce, the Aurus sedan is recognizable: during the two hours of photography, passers-by approached the car several times asking to be photographed against the backdrop of the “presidential limousine”. The car clearly does not need other “brand ambassadors”
Behind the massive door, equipped with electric locks and door closers, this time there were no surprises. Over the past few years, I have managed to study the interior of Aurus Senat at least twice – starting from the official premiere. The first thought you catch yourself driving is that it’s high up here: the off-road landing creates an additional feeling of monumentality. You have to climb and sit down in the cabin – the driver even has an interior cabin handle above the doorway. The second feeling is that there is not enough figurine at the edge of the huge hood: as part of the planned restyling, you definitely need to come up with something! ..
It is really cozy and expensive inside: embossing, engraving, stamping and even the noble smell of expensive leather – all this creates a special atmosphere. However, the task of making the car “without design frills” clearly also concerned the interior: Aurus, to put it mildly, is not very original. Two displays merged into a single dashboard, it seems, will soon appear on the Lada. The color and graphic solutions of the on-screen menus, by the way, are clearly peeped in the same place where, in fact, such a digital “tidy” first appeared.
The creators of Aurus Senat did not skimp on the front riders – the places of the hired driver and bodyguard are equipped with massage and heated or cooled cup holders
The architecture of the “cockpit” is classic: there is an analog clock in the center of the console, and a traditional massive selector lever of the “machine”, and the control system for secondary functionality with the help of a handy “washer” has long become a classic, first appearing on a German premium about twenty years ago. Even the climate control system with microdisplays in the temperature setting wheels and the same screen in the “washer” for selecting driving modes is a copy-paste from Land Rover cars.
Using all this is so convenient that it takes minutes to get used to the car, with the exception of perhaps finding the right settings for various multimedia options.
Visual kinesthetics inside the Aurus Senat will be a bit confused. On the one hand, there is the most delicate leather with royal diamond-shaped stitching, an Alcantara ceiling, wooden inserts and carved fittings everywhere, creating a tactile and visual feeling of high cost. On the other hand, frankly plastic buttons and levers, substrates for podiums and bases for various opening compartments. Behind the jewelry handles, for example, are the most ordinary plastic air deflectors, the budget interior of which is clearly visible. Rolls-Royce does not allow itself this! ..
In the back row – everything is like in the best houses! Two luxury reclining VIP massage chairs, power blackout blinds, individually controllable media screens and a secretary armrest with fridge, wine glass holder and airplane tables. You can relax and work.
The main difference from competitors is Aurus, albeit half a step, but behind in terms of ergonomics. For example, the same Rolls-Royce resisted the introduction of touch screens to the last, but surrendered under the pressure of modern trends: poking fingers, even despite ugly prints, has long been familiar to everyone. In addition, most machines of this class have removable displays, and they easily turn into handy tablets with full online functionality.
The same goes for tables. Folding from the front seat is much more convenient and safer in terms of the stability of things on them. In Aurus, the transforming tables are strong, but very narrow: brushing off a laptop or a glass from them is a matter of a second. And so every little thing will gather.
“Negotiations,” many will say. May be. But from such, at first glance, insignificant, trifles, the image of a luxury car is formed, especially considering the fact that Aurus is not far behind the most eminent competitors in terms of price.
The trunk in the huge Aurus Senat is very roomy. But do not expect family functionality from him – he is not for that. By the way, there is nothing under the floor in the “Senate” either: the calculation is for RunFlat tires, and most likely for an escort car
From a technical point of view, Aurus Senat is extremely curious. The power plant NAMI‑4123, developed by our specialists together with Porsche, is a hybrid one. 4.4-liter V8 petrol engine with 598 hp. With. a 60-horsepower electric motor helps, and it is completely domestic: the defense Sarapul electric generating plant. It is used both to start the internal combustion engine, and when accelerating the car, and also performs the function of a generator.
Another product of cooperation with global automakers that has already remained in the past is the all-wheel drive system of the Canadian giant Magna: in fact, the same as on large BMW models. But the unique gearbox is 100% Russian. This is a 9-speed “automatic” without a KATE R932 torque converter, capable of digesting 1000 Nm of torque.
How does it all ride? To be honest, impressive! The first moments do not leave the feeling that you are driving not a passenger sedan, but a luxury armored car. A high seating position, a hefty automatic lever, a tight steering wheel and a damped gas pedal give the Aurus Senat the gait of a giant moving as if in slow motion. In fact, this is an illusion: the dynamic characteristics of a limousine are excellent at any speed. Still – 880 Nm of thrust! The damped accelerator is designed to help the driver save the power of the inhabitants of the VIP zone from the avalanche of power. Yes, and move in the mode of traffic lights starts on such a machine – mauvais ton.
We had no complaints about the smooth operation of the transformerless box (the first testers of the pre-series Senates complained about it). The first and only time the transmission caught my eye was when I switched to Sport mode during rough city driving. In a similar rhythm, no, no, and distant jerks, and delays in the response of the pedals, and wiggles, and inertia emerge – something that the drivers of the Special Purpose Garage noted during the same tests. But this is still a three-ton limousine, which was not created for such a ride, and it is guaranteed that it will not spend the lion’s share of the time in such modes. But the most luxurious parameter – driving comfort – you evaluate much more carefully, especially remembering the last test of a direct foreign competitor – Ghost II. And again there are such nit-picking, which could be silent, but, remembering the price of the car, it doesn’t work.
The Aurus Senat suspension, as expected, protects against most road flaws, but in any of the modes – more than we would like, it transmits the canvas profile to the cabin. And it’s only a trifle: ripples from road defects, albeit a distant background, are present in a luxurious cabin. The same goes for external sounds: with intense acceleration, the distant roar of the V8 engine is always rejoicing – it creates a special atmosphere in the cabin and gives the feeling of owning a powerful car. But its albeit quiet, but monotonous buzz in the region of 2000 rpm is perceived as something already completely superfluous.
What is the upshot?
Aurus Senat is without a doubt a great debut! Direct proof that, when a clear task is set with strict control over its implementation, practically anything can be created in Russia. The car definitely turned out and dispelled all the skepticism that existed before the test. However, again, let’s not lose touch with reality: the list of what I would like to improve, complete and finalize for such money is also decent for the car. I would really like to see Aurus avoid the Soviet tradition of updating once every twenty years.
Most of all, in our opinion, it is necessary to work just on pricing. Still, a difference of 10-15% with the main British competitor is not a figure that can definitely persuade you to buy a domestic limousine, even if the level of patriotism of a potential buyer exceeds his multimillion-dollar bank account.
The cost of the tested car is 39,635,600 rubles
We thank the Pulkovo Avtodom dealership, the official Aurus dealer in St. Petersburg, for providing the car for the test.