Many have tried to emulate the success of the British Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands. Very few have succeeded. This week, a Russian company, Aurus, announced a new luxury sedan which it hopes will eventually challenge Rolls-Royce and Bentley for market share at the very top tier of the luxury car market.

Aurus’ Senat model has been custom built as Russia’s new state vehicle. It was first seen at the inauguration of president Vladimir Putin earlier this year. The team behind the brand are Russia’s Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engine Institute, known as NAMI. NAMI are believed to be state owned, as such, Putin has a key role in the development of the Senat.

It was unveiled at this week’s Moscow Motor Show and the company new plans to offer the Aurus to Russian and global markets in the long term. The company plans to develop an SUV off the back of the Senat and has been working in collaboration with established manufacturer Sollers.

Aurus plan to start building the Aurus Senat at a rate of 150 cars per year. Work is afoot for a new factory which will increase production to 5,000 units per year. Reports indicate that once enough of the vehicles are available, the Kremlin places to switch state official’s vehicles to Aurus models.

The Senat currently uses a 4.4 litre Porsche-derived V8 engine producing 598 hp together with a hybrid engine. It gets a nine-speed automatic gearbox and all wheel drive. Performance to 100 km/h is less than 6 seconds. A 6.6 litre version, using a V12 layout, will produce around 850 hp.

The Aurus Senat is expected to make a European debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2018 next March with plans to export the car to China, the Middle East, South America and eventually to the US. For now though, the Senat is effectively the replacement for the iconic ZIL sedan! Would you buy one?