AURUS is a brand of vehicle not very well known beyond the Soviet Union, but that could change with a third model from Russian luxury car maker spotted testing in Sweden.
Still in the early stages of development, it’s a big, luxurious SUV to be called Komendant and could be on sale in Russia later this year, although official word is that commercial production is planned for 2022.
It will join the Arsenal minivan and Senat sedan in Aurus’s expanding lineup.
Arsenal looks a lot like a hearse while the Senat is a sizeable limousine, also available in armoured version for wealthy, political or regal folks who might be attacked.
All three appear to have been inspired by Rolls-Royce.
A Senat currently serves as the presidential limo for Vladimir Putin.
Russian Minister of Industry and Commerce, Denis Manturov, told Izvestiya newspaper that sales of Aurus started small volume in 2019, and that sales of Senat and Komendant would start in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
“There are not so many orders for Arsenal minivans at the moment, however, if we notice a demand, we may start the serial production of the model,” he said.
He added the number of orders for Aurus vehicles had already topped 600 units. There are plans to manufacture about 200 vehicles this year.
The spy shots show the Komendant will share styling cues with its Arsenal and Senat siblings.
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 and also 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) — with the help of Porsche.
The German brand’s engineering services were tapped by Aurus for drivetrain development.
Power in the Komendant is expected to come from the same V8-based hybrid powertrain as used in the Senat.
It combines a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor for some 450kW and transmission is a 9-speed automatic feeding an all-wheel-drive system.
There will also be the option of a 6.6-litre, 634 kW V12 engine at a later date.
Sales will initially be confined to 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 luxurious Hongqi.
Aurus production is being handled by a joint venture owned by NAMI and Russia’s Sollers Group.
The first batch of cars is being assembled by NAMI, but by 2021 production will move to Sollers’ plant in Yelabuga, Russia, which is said to have the capacity to build up to 5000 units a year.
If you’re wondering about the Aurus brand name, it translates to ‘gold’ in Russian.