BMW Middle East tells a mysterious tale with a very fast electric buggy
Top Gear explained that desert’s Empty Quarter where shooting takes place isn’t far from the start of next year’s Dakar Rally. However, the Dune Taxi looks just like the Odyssey 21 spec electric buggy used in Extreme E, but with a BMW grille and a couple of vents on the rear fenders. Both Audi and BMW were fixtures in the Formula E single-seater series until last year. Audi left to compete in the Dakar Rally with its series-hybrid RS Q E-Tron in early 2022, recently updated to the RS Q E-Tron S2. Based on the Dune Taxi’s shape, what appears to be the lack of a spare wheel, and the word “Cosowrth” in the center stack, we suspect BMW is headed to the other global electric off-road racing event. In fact, the Cosworth connection seems to provide the proof of Extreme E involvement. The engineering and motorsports firm says in a post on its Facebook page that the Odyssey 21 is “equipped with our electronics solutions from control to display.” A picture of that display on Facebook matches a brief glimpse of the display in the Dune Taxi.
Other supporting evidence comes in power ratings of 536 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, a tad less than the Odyssey 21’s official 550 hp but a skosh more than its 679 lb-ft. The Dune Taxi body is made from the same natural fiber-reinforced polymer (NFRP) with cutouts for gullwing doors and a trim roof scoop. The suspension can run through 15.7 inches of wheel travel, a half-inch more than found on the Odyssey 21. And the Tal Moreeb sand dune that the Dune Taxi climbs for its rallying finale ascends at an incline of 130%, the same skyward angle the Extreme E series says the Odyssey 21 is designed to max out on.
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