Back in 2008 Italian design firm Italdesign-Giugiaro unveiled a new concept car in honor of the design house’s 40th anniversary but also to show that Giugiaro designers were looking to the future by showcasing a new advanced hybrid drivetrain.

The end result was the Giugiaro Quaranta, an environment-friendly four-wheel drive sports car, which incorporated a series of innovative technologies including a hybrid engine with solar energy. The concept also features a mid-mounted engine and could accommodate three adults and one small child plus all their gear.

Not much has been seen or heard about the concept until now. The residents of Rome would have been surprised to see the concept acting as a high-speed taxi last week, with dozens queuing up for their chance to take a spin.

Access to the cabin is via an upper door that incorporates a pair of smaller side ones. At the touch of a button, the door opens upwards but in a downwind direction, regulated by proximity sensors. The door is hinged to the hood pillar and is aligned with a second upper rear door, for access to the engine compartment and boot.

The Quaranta taxi was a little different to the original concept car, painted in white with prominent taxi logos all over. You can see actual images of it on the streets of Rome by following the jump below.

[The Sun]