No, it’s not electric.

In fact, it’s a 5.7-litre twin turbo petrol V8.

You’re looking at the Aznom Palladium, the first of a mini-series of 10 super exclusive, high end luxury SUVs, based believe it or not on the RAM 1500 pickup.

Yep. Palladium is the second issue of the Italian design studio established in 2006 by Marcello Meregalli in Monza, Italy.

The first, the Atulux, released in 2018, was similarly based on the Ram 1500 — but the previous generation of the American pickup.

Aznom describes the car as a “hyper-limousine” and designed to fill a “rather interesting and exclusive niche”.

What that niche exactly is remains to be seen . . .

The idea apparently was to retrace the steps of famous Italian coachbuilders from the past, when each vehicle was truly handmade with care and passion.

In fact, each will be a bespoke build, tailor-made to the wishes of the customer in every facet.

“We have produced this vehicle choosing artisanal manufacturing techniques that are almost lost today, such as panel beating and hand-crafting the body of the car, together with other technological solutions,”Aznom’s founder, Marcello Meregalli, said.

“Engine builders, tanners, panel beaters, designers and engineers who have worked on this project are heirs to a tradition that has made Italian cars famous around the world.”

Palladium is of course a precious metal, part of the Platinum group of metals.

The name is also inspired by the mansions of renowned Italian architect Andrea Palladio, famous for using ancient Greek and Roman styles as the base for his creations.

 

Standing just shy of 2.0 metres high and 6 metres in length, inspiration for the Palladium came from Barack Obama’s presidential Cadillac.

Its 5.7-litre biturbo V8 delivers more than 520kW of power and 950Nm of torque.

The V8 features cylinder deactivation to save fuel, but an eTorque mild-hybrid system is available upon request.

“Our main company has always dealt with wine and I spend many days visiting remote farms and vineyards,” Meregalli said.

“In those situations a 4×4 off-road vehicle is truly necessary. And how many times have I seen sedans stuck on the road to ski towns in the winter.

“The car that I had in mind had to be beautiful, luxurious, comfortable . . . but also unstoppable!”

Meregalli explained Atulux was the first step.

“We built one car and sold it really fast but the turning point was when we met designer Alessandro Camorali, who had very interesting ideas and showed us very interesting drawings.

“Camorali worked on the Serpas sports car, based on a Radical, and suggested an evolution of the Atulux. In time we started working closer together and by the end of 2017 the final idea started to take shape.

“Finally in 2018, with the launch of a perfect vehicle for us to use as foundation, we made the final decision to start the project.”

 

The plan is build 10 of the cars, but you’re unlikely to see them on the streets of Rome.

“Our intention is to create 10 cars, a mini-series, but with an approach similar to that of a shipyard,” Meregalli said.

“Maniacal care of the details and extreme personalisation and customisations chosen together with the final client.

“So you can understand how we can only manufacture a very limited number of vehicles.

“We are therefore in the process of establishing a relationship with just a few special clients.

“We hope to stir interest in Europe also, but more realistically we are concentrating on markets such as the USA, Middle East, Russia and China.”

The seats, which have a custom pattern in the seat and back areas, boast a large headrest designed with the same philosophy as the rear recliner.

The base model is completely covered with Foglizzo leather, including the roof lining.

Valuable materials and finishing touches elevate every aspect of the car to quality levels rarely seen before.

They underscore choices made together with clients, thanks to the best suppliers and the most talented craftsmen Italy has to offer.

 

In order to guarantee the most comfortable experience the air conditioning functions with two entirely separate and independent systems, so  back passengers can choose a completely different setting and temperature.

Another refinement comes in the form of the touch display placed on the driver’s door panel.

It permits complete control of the interior lights, air conditioning, on-board refrigerator, opening and closing of all drawers and compartments, the trunk and of course windows and doors.

Back seat passengers are also pampered with Harman Kardon audio and two Microsoft Surface X PRO.

A beautiful handmade clock, made of gold and of course palladium, is available in the lower central position at the rear.

It incorporates the Palladium logo while the arms tastefully mirror the exterior colour of the car.

The clock can be removed and become an elegant piece of home furniture.

Aznom is also providing owners of the car with a full luggage set, manufactured with the same leather and stitching as the interior.

A notable piece is the umbrella, signed by Francesco Maglia, a company that has manufactured umbrellas in Milan since 1854.

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Headshot Riley 96x96 - Palladium a hard act to follow

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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