James Gent

James Gent

September 22, 2022 3:14 pm

BMW Middle East has unexpectedly unveiled an electric off-road prototype dubbed the ‘Dune Taxi,’ a reveal that could hint towards an entry in the all-electric Extreme E off-road rally series.

Starring in a promotional video shot in Abu Dhabi, the dune taxi is shown journeying to – and subsequently driving up – Tal Moreeb, referenced as ‘the big dune’ in the Liwa proving grounds. The 130-degree slope is the centre-point of the Liwa Sport Club-organized Liwa Festival and is considered one of, if not the, toughest, desert hillclimbs in the Middle East.

En-route, the Dune Taxi is pursued by two, bespoke-equipped X6 M Competitions, which each boast 625 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged V8. Affixed accoutrement for the video include a roof rack (with spare wheel) and overhead LED lights.

The Dune Taxi prototype itself, meanwhile, is said to produce around 536 hp and just under 738 lb-ft from, what is suspected to be, the same electric platform at the heart of BMW’s iX M60 e-SUV. Indeed, the iX M60 itself – which kicks out 619 hp and 811 lb-ft more than the dune taxi – also makes an appearance in the film at the halfway point.

Few further details have been provided though, other than the prototype’s 400mm of wheel travel (rather handy if you’re circumnavigating some of the trickiest terrain in the world), a dynamic development of BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system for its EV range, and the natural fibre reinforced polymer bodyshell, which will almost certainly drop the iX X60’s unladen 2,659kg curb weight considerably.

Said distinctive bodywork has led many to speculate that BMW is gearing up for a maiden season in the all-electric Extreme E, an off-road rally series that promotes the importance of sustainability, doing so by hosting events at locations that are off the grid. Should BMW confirm an entry, it would become only the third manufacturer to launch a works outfit – after McLaren and CUPRA – since Extreme E was launched for 2021.

In a further tantalizing tease, the Concept XM – set to be the most powerful BMW M car to ever go into series production – also makes an appearance in the film. The hybrid model, which will feature a hybridized 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 capable 644 hp and 650 lb-ft will make its global debut on September 27, as confirmed in an early clip from BMW USA.

As well as the Dune Taxi, the Middle East film also stars Madelyn Cline, star of Outer Banks, and Lebanon’s Abdo Feghali. Fun fact, Abdo ‘Dado’ Feghali – known as the region’s drift ‘kingpin’ – set a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous drift (11,180 metres) in 2013. The pair are joined by Red Bull’s Drift Brothers Johannes and Elias Hountondji.

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