2011 Fisker Karma

With gas prices heading well above $3.00 per gallon in most states, economical cars and trucks have made a resurgence in the American automotive consumer’s mind. One can hardly drive down a road without seeing one of the first and most popular hybrid cars, the Toyota Prius . Most major manufacturers have since produced these types of vehicles and there are more new models in the works, even from upstart luxury manufacturers.

One of the premier automotive designers in the industry felt hybrid cars were lacking in both excitement and luxury, and decided to take it upon himself to create a new segment. Henrik Fisker previously designed such memorable cars as the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9 . His company originally made several re-bodied versions of the Mercedes SL and the BMW 6-series , but in very limited production and a high price tag. Fisker Automotive became a true manufacturer in 2007 with the simple idea of creating an inspired, beautiful, and exciting luxury hybrid vehicles. Shortly after, the Fisker Fisker Karma was introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. It’s easy to see why it turned more than a few heads with its voluptuous flowing lines and promised 50-mile full electric range.

As if drop-dead good looks were not enough to distinguish this car from other eco-friendly vehicles, the performance numbers help the Karma truly pull away from the crowd. Its 0-60 mph performance is said to be in the neighborhood of 5.8 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. The Karma may not be able to keep up with your neighbor’s Porsche Panamera , but while you’re getting 67 miles per gallon, he will be sitting at a gas station.

UPDATE 03/23/2011: Three years after the Karman first debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the first unit has finally rolled out of the Valmet Automotive’s plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. US and European customers will receive their first units by next month.

UPDATE 07/13/11: Finally, the Fisker Karma is set to be delivered to its first customers. It took a long time, but the wait is now over. The luxury plug-in hybrid sedan is scheduled to be delivered later this month with the first person expected to get his hands on it being no other than Hollywood A-lister and eco-guy Leonardo di Caprio. According to Fisker, there are already 3,000 pre-orders for the car with the wait list expected to hit until early 2012.

Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Fisker Karma.

Inspiration

Fisker Karma

Henrik Fisker has had an illustrious career since graduating from design school. His stints with BMW and Aston Martin have evolved his design and shown his hands-on approach to coach building to be very successful. The inspiration to create automotive works of art came from an all-time great and Mr. Fisker has said, "The guy who influenced me most was Giorgetto Giugiaro. I remember the first time I saw the Maserati Maserati Boomerang concept on a magazine cover behind a window at a newsstand. I put my nose against the glass, and just said ’wow’!" Maserati has long been known for creating visceral masterpieces of design and the similarities between the body of the Maserati Quattroporte and Fisker’s Karma can be seen in the flowing, clean lines, and strong sense of presence. Fisker’s desire to cement his own interpretation of timeless cars into the hearts and minds of fans everywhere will begin with the Karma; truly his own from the ground up.

Exterior

Fisker Karma

Many of Fisker’s cars have been described as “feline” and that is seen in the grill of the Karma echoing whiskers on a cat and a coiled stance ready to pounce. Some of this design could have evolved from BMW’s design philosophy with the double kidney grill and eyelid headlights.

Beyond the simple beauty of the exterior, several innovative technologies have been used to further the Karma’s visual and working impact. The world’s first glass-flake paint is being used to make the paint color chosen truly react to its surroundings. According to Fisker Fisker press releases, the paint is unparalleled in terms of shine and reflectivity. The paint was also used because of its water-based content in an effort to not use current industry standard paints that may harm the environment.

Moving to the top of the car, one immediately notices the full panoramic roof. Upon further inspection, the roof actually acts as the largest full roof solar panel in the industry. While the sun beats down on you as you whisk the Karma through picturesque hills and winding coastal roads, your roof is actually increasing the range of the vehicle. Apparently it can add up to 200 miles of photovoltaic driving power.

Interior

Fisker Karma

Once your Karma has autonomously started due to its proximity start system located in the key fob, you are enveloped in rich leather and rescued wood accents. That’s correct, even the wood grain dash is eco-friendly having been recovered from the intense wildfires that burned through Orange County, CA in 2007.

Fisker has gone to great lengths in making the car both graceful and functional, which shows at nearly every angle.

The sumptuous leather gracing your behind was treated at an energy-sufficient plant further helping to protect the environment during manufacturing. Many of the models will also feature a type of suede that was created from mostly recycled materials. Fisker has gone to great lengths in making the car both graceful and functional, which shows at nearly every angle.

The Karma is not lacking in infotainment technology either. A 10.2” touch screen interface is predominately placed front and center to control everything from audio to climate and navigation functions. The computer will even adapt to your knowledge of the system by displaying less complicated views for novice users based on their initial inputs. The combination of high-technology instruments and old-world craftsmanship make the interior of the Karma a heavenly place to spend your time.

Performance

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine producing 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

Production and Pricing

Fisker Karma

Fisker Automotive began accepting pre-orders for the car long before any production or test mule models were even developed. By the beginning of 2011, Fisker had received 3,000 deposits and expect to make the first deliveries in February.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has been integral in giving Fisker over $500 million in capital to get the car and the company off the ground. Assembly is planned to take place in the Valmet Valmet factory in Finland. This facility has also been the production line for several Porsche and Saab Saab models in the past. Do not plan on taking delivery of your new Fisker before late in the first quarter this year, unless you have over $95,900 to spend on the base version of this eco-friendly luxury sedan. That price doesn’t even take into consideration all the optional upgrades on the car, which if you avail, should send the bill all the way up to six-digit territory. Sure, tax credits should be able to lighten the load a little bit, but it still wouldn’t be enough to make you feel any better about the brand’s latest price hike.

Competition

Fisker Karma

It is somewhat difficult to describe the competition in the market for the Fisker Karma. This vehicle places itself in so many segments at once that hardly anything is a direct competitor.

One of the top luxury sedans, produced by the oldest car brand in the world, has recently been introduced with a hybrid powerplant, the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid . It is closely priced to the Karma and has been brought to market in order to please those who want a more eco-friendly car without losing any of the creature comforts that one expects when spending over $90,000.

Two cars that may be more closely linked than either company would admit would be the Fisker Karma and the Aston Martin Rapide . The Aston makes no attempt to be eco-friendly or even relatively expensive, but rather was designed to be stunning from every angle. The car designed by a company whose philosophy was undoubtedly influenced by Henrik Fisker and has been creating some of the most sensual sports cars on the market in recent history.

Jay Leno Reviews the Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma
LOVE IT
  • Exclusivity
  • Fuel Economy
  • Solar Panel Roof
LEAVE IT
  • Price
  • Unproven and Untested
  • Limited Range

25 comments:

The design of its wheels is absolutely looks so cool on it, and even though I’m also not impressed with its exterior detailing. I must say that its interior features recovered it even its powerful engine.

Karma is already so perfect for me! Its exterior detailing is absolutely very striking and unique, and I love the design of its wheels! I’m also glad that it had an impressive interior.

The wheel of this Karma is truly looking very cool on it and I just like the other commentator I’m not so impressed with the platform of this one, but I love the luxuriant interior of it. smiley

Karma is very classy and luxurious to be too lousy! If you didn’t notice, this vehicle is so striking on its exclusivity. However, I must say that the only thing that I don’t like on this one is the fact that it is on an electric motor.

What was wrong with this Fisker Karma? I can’t see anything, that is not good at it. Well, for me, it had the looks that what I’ve been looking for in a car, so classy from its exterior into the interior!

For some reason, I can say that I’m not so impressed with its exterior appearance but when it comes into its interior, well it is absolutely very striking on that.

Well, I must say that Karma is still absolutely looks so amazing and striking on its simple design and styling, but I’m too disappointed to know that it is one of the unreliable cars today.

True dynamic sense of aggressive car concept. Now with the most popular hybrid cars at the same time the essence of luxury cars exist, giving more profile.

Karma looks too huge, but I’m kind of a little impressed with the detailing of this car, and I notice that a very nice interior touch, but I think that it is not really that luxurious because I can’t see any advanced technologies on it.

I must admit that this one actually turned out to be quite gorgeous. I have this notion that hybrid cars tend to be bulky and ugly, guess I was proven wrong.

The front hood of this car is like a DISTORTED whatsoever! there’s a lot of wide variety of choices of car out there..Again, this is one of the "MANY" pointless and useless production!

if this car is the definition of "nice car" then there’s no more UGLY CAR..smiley I don’t like both interior and exterior of this car! And besides so much for that its not yet tested and the reliability of the engine is not yet proven!

Very nice interior colors, and bold ones. Unfortunately in order to have a good balance between interior and exterior the exterior cannot be blue.

This is why most of the makes prefer to have gray/black interior color combination. They are a perfect match with any exterior color.

Not sure why are you complaining about the price tag of this car. Fisker Karma looks better than a Porsche and costs less. Also with that insane fuel economy you can buy a Porsche from savings on gas.

We can all drive more fuel efficient cars starting today without spending a dime – it’s a matter of adjusting our driving habits. I learned a ton at an eco-driving workshop at this summer’s Midwest Renewable Energy Fair.

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