The Aurus Senat on display at the Moscow International Auto Salon. Pictures: Pavel Golovkin / AP

Moscow, Russia - Now you too can travel in Kremlin style. This is the commercial version of Russia’s presidential limousine, as used by president Vladimir Putin and the Federal Protective Service, to transport high-ranking state officials.

First shown in public this week at the Moscow International Automobile Salon, the Aurus Senat sedan and limousine are expected to go on sale to the general public early in 2019, with prices starting at 10 million roubles (a surprisingly reasonable R2.12 million). It’s the spiritual successor to the tank-like Zil of the 1960s (now a cult car in its own right) and at 6.62 metres in long-wheelbase format, it’s not much smaller.

Built as part of an ambitious programme called the Kortezh project by the Russian central automotive institute and the Sollers company, it has a hybrid powertrain developed in collaboration with Porsche that combines a 440kW V8 with a 30kW electric motor, driving all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission - and if that’s not enough for you, there’s a 6.6-litre V12 version in development that should be good for more than 600kW.

The Senat will make its European debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show; depending on who you talk to, Kortezh is planning to build between 50 and 120 cars in 2019, some for the Western market but mostly for the Federal Protective Service and Emirati company Tawazun, which has already entered a €110 million (R1.85 billion) joint venture to distribute Aurus cars throughout the middle east, starting in 2020.

The Senat will be followed in late 2019 or early 2020 by an SUV, with an Aurus motorcycle (including an electric model) under development and a convertible Senat promised for the annual Victory Day parade on 9 May 2020.

IOL Motoring