Hail a taxi in most American cities, and what are you likely to ride in? A Ford Crown Vic, maybe a minivan or an Escape Hybrid. But a few lucky residents of Rome had something decidedly more exotic recently when stoic carrozzeria Italdesign-Giugiaro outfitted its Quaranta concept with a meter, dome light and white paintjob to pull taxi duty around the Italian capital. Brave of them – have you ever tried navigating the overcrowded streets of Rome on anything larger than a Vespa? Good luck.
The Quaranta concept was unveiled at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show to commemorate the design house's 40th anniversary. The exotic shape is powered by the Toyota Synergy Drive found in the Lexus RX400h, complete with 3.3-liter V6, electric motor and continuously variable transmission and supplemented by solar panels. Billed (at the time, at least) as the world's fastest hybrid, the Quaranta is said to be capable of shuttling its occupants – or paying fare, in this case – to sixty in 4.2 seconds. Now, to the Spanish Steps, double-time!