A Russian automaker has launched a luxury version of Vladimir Putin's $ 300 million armored limousine aimed at super-rich oligarchs.
A dazzling presentation at a Moscow motor show witnessed the presentation of two models of the new state brand Aurus: the Senat limousine and a smaller Senat sedan.
The luxury vehicle with Soviet influence was created in an attempt to attract mega rich Russian oligarchs away from foreign brands such as Rolls-Royce.
The limousine, which is described as offering "inflexible level of ballistic and explosive protection," will serve as Russia's new state vehicle and was seen in that role at the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin earlier this year.
The new brand, which is run by the Automotive Automotive and Motor Research Institute of Russia (NAMI), was developed under the instructions of Putin, who wanted Russian presidential vehicles.
The new luxury limousine of Soviet influence led by the state was created to attract mega rich Russian oligarchs away from foreign brands such as Rolls-Royce.
The luxury vehicle has a hybrid electric motor and can go from zero to 62 mph in less than six seconds. Its rear seats are reclined by 45 degrees and have custom-designed soft pillows and a built-in refrigerator with Aurus-branded glass spectacles.
The new Aurus is based on the armored version built to protect Russian President Vladimir Putin, who can fully immerse himself in the water and works with steel-reinforced tires to prevent them from deflating.
The Senat Limousine has a 4.4-liter V8 engine developed jointly by NAMI and Porsche, with a hybrid electric motor that offers 590bhp and can go from zero to 62mph in less than six seconds.
Its rear seats recline at 45 degrees and are equipped with custom-designed soft pillows along with a built-in refrigerator with Aurus-branded glass and folding tables with leather trim.
In his inauguration for a fourth presidential term in May, Putin rode into the Kremlin in a black and square Aurus limousine with a large front grille.
This marked a return to the Soviet-era practice of leaders traveling in nationally manufactured ceremonial cars. In previous years, Putin opted for a Mercedes instead.
Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov (left) and Aurus Hilgert CEO Franz Gerhard (right) presented the Aurus Senat vehicle, designed as part of the Kortezh project, at the Moscow International Motor Show 2018 in the center of Moscow. Crocus Expo exhibitions
Chief designer Vadim Pereverzev acknowledged that the design influences for the Aurus Limousine included a model made for the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the ZIS limousine of 1946, which also featured a huge chrome grille
Hilgert Franz Gerhard on the back of the Aurus Senat, where the seats recline at 45 degrees and has folding tables with leather upholstery
Little is known about the characteristics of the Senat rescue system, which can completely submerge in water and keep occupants safe, and works with steel-reinforced tires to prevent them from deflating.
It was released to compete with & # 39; The Beast & # 39; of the American president, who presents night vision cameras, tear gas cannons, action shotguns pumped into the doors, a fully sealed main compartment capable of withstanding a chemical attack and several pints of Donald Trump's blood for emergency transfusions.
Putin's version is also bombproof and is even a little bigger than the specially adapted Cadillac of the American president.
The new Russian designs are influenced by Soviet-era cars produced only for senior officials, automakers said, and the Kremlin has already received several vehicles.
Chief designer Vadim Pereverzev acknowledged that the design influences for the Aurus limousine include a model made for the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the ZIS limousine of 1946, which also featured a large chrome grille.
Pereverzev told AFP that market research among the Russians showed that "there is demand for a high-tech product manufactured in our country, particularly for such a car."
He added: "Consumers of these cars, you could say they are tired of Rolls-Royces, Mercedes and Maybachs," said Pereverzev, who has worked with Italian brands such as Fiat.
The launch comes days after the arms manufacturer Kalashnikov surprised the industry by presenting a new electric car with a blue retro powder design.
Pereverzev added: "I would say it was more the time that inspired our designers: an era of great achievements for our state when cars like the ZIS appeared."
Putin showed Aurus when he arrived in Helsinki in a bomb-proof limousine that can submerge underwater and is even larger than President Trump's own vehicle, The Beast.
Vladimir Putin reached the summit with Trump in Helsinki in an armored presidential limousine, the Aurus Senat vehicle that took six years to build and cost $ 300 million to develop
The presidential limousine of Donald Trump, a Cadillac informally known as & # 39; The Beast & # 39; It is equipped with night vision cameras, tear gas cannons, 8 inches of armor and pints of blood from the president
The cars were developed by a state company called NAMI, which has a controlling stake in the Aurus brand, together with the Russian car group Sollers.
Russian state funding for the project reached around 12 billion rubles (£ 135 million) and Trade Minister Denis Manturov helped to unveil the new luxury vehicle.
An investor from the United Arab Emirates, Tawazun, also invested 110 million euros in the construction, Manturov said.
The brand hopes to attract both wealthy Russians and international clients who currently opt for Western models.
The CEO of the Aurus brand, Franz Gerhard Hilgert, said in his presentation: "We will not sell this vehicle only in Russia, we will sell it abroad".
The price of the model will be somewhere between Mercedes and Rolls-Royce, "said Hilgert, who used to represent Daimler Chrysler in Russia.