Production has begun.
A Rolls-Royce is an inimitable thing, dripping with class and luxury like no other manufacturer. Cars like the recently revealed Boat Tail and even the 'regular' Phantom are just spectacular, but even if they are impossible to replicate, many have tried. Most of these copies have come from China - although we have seen some homegrown copies too - but the latest one hails from Russia, and President Putin even rode in one during his last inauguration. Called the Aurus Senat, it's been a working concept since 2018 and plans for the vehicle have existed since at least 2013, but now it's heading to production.
Details on the vehicle are unsurprisingly scant, but according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti, Industry Minister Denis Manturov says that between 200 and 300 examples will be produced this year. There's no word on what features the vehicle will offer, but the most basic version is expected to cost buyers 18 million rubles (around $245,000). Compared to the $450,000+ starting price of a Rolls-Royce Phantom, that's a relative bargain, but with no details on performance or luxury specs, it's hard to guess how alike the brilliant Rolls is to the unknown Aurus Senat. Still, we're sure that the differences will be obvious, even if the styling is a close copy.
The car will be quite important to the Russian government and is seen as a prestige project for the Kremlin to show that Russia doesn't need the west's luxury goods. In 2014, new sanctions inhibited Russia's access to many imported goods and tech advances, which has led to further tension with the government. This isn't our first time seeing Russia replicate a Rolls-Royce though, as there are plans for a copy of the Cullinan SUV too. Naturally, it's unlikely that anywhere but Russia will ever see these vehicles on the road, but at around half the price of the real thing, China and other eastern markets could well take to the Aurus too.