Big, heavy, and blocky, the Aurus Komendant is a projection of Russian state power at a time of huge economic and humanitarian upheaval.

    Launched the other week at a museum run by the Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) that’s tasked with protecting government officials, the Komendant, like other Aurus vehicles, has been designed primarily to ferry around Russia’s elite.

    The Komendant has an upright stance, large rectangular grille with vertical slats, and squared-off headlights. All of which give the crossover more than a passing resemblance to the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, although it misses out on the British car’s reverse-hinged rear doors.

    The tail-lights, on the other hand, look like a reference to the pre-facelift Bentley Bentayga.

    The interior is kitted out with Nappa leather, metal and Russian wood trim, adjustable ambient lighting, wireless phone charging both front and back, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and an analog clock.

    The two rear seats have access to tables that fold out of the centre tunnel, a minibar-style refrigerator, and individual multimedia screens.

    Other available features include air suspension, adaptive steering, and various driver assistance features.

    The Komendant, like the Senat sedan, is powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 hybrid drivetrain producing a total of 446kW and 880Nm, and drive all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission with a built-in 46kW electric motor.

    Top speed is an unremarkable 220km/h, while the 0-100km/h time is similarly lethargic at 6.5 seconds. Fuel economy is a hefty 18.5L/100km on the combined cycle. These less than stellar figures are likely due to the car’s high curb weight of 3235kg.

    While the Komendant measures 5380mm long, 2004mm wide, 1820mm tall, and has a 3100mm wheelbase, the launch model is only available with four seats.

    Riding on standard 20-inch alloy wheels, with 21- and 22-inch rims available, the Komendant’s air suspension can be raised from the 230mm of ground clearance to 260mm if the roads get a little rough, which they tend to do outside of major cities, like Moscow and St Petersburg.

    As with other luxury vehicles priced north of US$200,000, the Komendant is highly customisable via a large selection different leather, wood, and colour combinations.

    We’re not sure how or when the Komendant will start rolling down the production line given Russia has been hit with punitive sanctions in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, and cut off from the international inter-bank transfer system.

    As a result major industries have been starved of imported components, and automakers, including Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Renault, have left the country, selling their assets for notional amounts.

    Lada – formerly a part of the Renault Group – has restarted production in the middle of the year, but only for stripped-back models that largely do without foreign-sourced components.

    The Granta “special edition”, for example, is fitted with the base 1.6-litre engine, four speakers, but no audio system.

    Aurus was founded in 2018 to produce Russia’s official state cars, and began selling civilian versions of these vehicles in 2021.

    Russia’s Central Research and Development Automobile and Engine Institute (NAMI) has a majority stake in Aurus. NAMI’s other major investment is Lada, which it bought from Renault in mid-May this year.

    Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, the Aurus sedan and limousine were built by Sollers at a factory jointly owned by Ford, and which also produced the Transit van.

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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