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Fisker Karma

The EV with European style from an American start-up.

ELECTRIC

Under the ridiculously long hood of the Fisker Karma is a GM-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is in no way connected to the wheels. Bolted directly to a generator, the 260-hp engine’s sole assignment is to create electricity. Motivation to move this hefty 5300-pound sedan comes from two electric motors attached to the rear differential. With a total output of 403 hp and 959 lb-ft of torque, the Karma can get to 60 mph from a stop in just over six seconds, according to the manufacturer. Of course, that’s only in Sport mode, when the batteries and the gas engine are both powering the motors. In electric-only mode, the Karma needs almost eight seconds. Its wheelbase is as lengthy as that of a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-class, but the Karma is shorter, wider, and much lower, giving it absolutely stunning proportions. Its high style is also evident in the interior, which has a center-console touchscreen for most secondary controls. Better still, the Karma has good driving dynamics. Sometimes, however, a decent-driving car isn’t enough to drive a successful company. Fisker has faced financial problems, gotten bad press after Karmas caught on fire, and keeps rotating new faces into the office. Should the company survive, a more affordable mid-size sedan, the Atlantic, is in the production pipeline.

COMPETITORS

Aston Martin Rapide

Jaguar XJ

Maserati Quattroporte

Porsche Panamera

new for 2013

There have been no changes to the Karma for the 2013 model year.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; ABS; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

20 (GAS ONLY, COMB.)

54 (ELEC. ONLY, COMB)

PRO

A beautiful EV, for a change

Rare, fast, and sexy

CON

Unproven reliability

Tight rear seat

Financial uncertainty

Base Price: $106,000–$113,000

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: EcoStandard, EcoSport, EcoChic

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 4-passenger

MOTORS: 2 liquid-cooled AC; total 403 hp, 959 lb-ft

BATTERIES: Lithium-ion, 20 kWh, 241-hp max output

RANGE EXTENDER: 2.0L turbo I-4, 260 hp; 235-hp generator

TRANSMISSION: Single-speed

PASSENGER VOLUME: 95.7 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 6.9 cu ft

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