• Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?

It’s a steep price to pay for a hybrid sports car that doesn’t have as long of a track record of reliability as others in its segment

Three years after the Karma Revero hit the market, Karma Automotive has launched the updated version of its hybrid sports car. It’s called the Karma Revero GT and it comes with plenty of improvements over its predecessor beyond the addition of the “GT” suffix. The Revero GT looks more evolved than the Revero. It comes with an updated interior and a revised powertrain lineup that includes the addition of BMW’s 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. Karma Automotive hasn’t released the official price of the Revero GT, but expect it to sell for more than the $135,000 price tag of the outgoing Revero. It’s a steep price, which begs the question: is the Karma Revero GT worth $135,000?

What is the Karma Revero GT; What Is Its History?

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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To understand the Karma Revero GT’s roots, we first need to get to know the man who laid the groundwork for its existence. Henrik Fisker is an auto designer who’s best known for designing some of the most iconic luxury sedans of the ‘90s. He’s the man who penned the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9, and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. When his career as a designer for BMW and Aston Martin ended, Fisker turned his attention on becoming his own boss.

In 2007, the American-Danish designer partnered with Quantum Technologies to launch Fisker Automotive.

The start-up’s goal was to develop performance and luxury cars of the electric persuasion. The first model to come out of that goal was the Fisker Karma, which got off to a promising start only to be derailed by the company’s lack of funds and the mismanagement of the limited funds it already had. Fisker Automotive lasted six years as a company. It filed for bankruptcy in 2013. The company’s assets — those included design, a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and a manufacturing facility in Delaware were eventually bought a year later by Chinese auto-parts supplier Wanxiang Group for $149.2 million. A year after making the purchase, Wanxiang Group brought Fisker Automotive back to life, this time under a new name: Karma Automotive.

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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Under the stewardship of its parent group, Karma Automotive launched the Revero hybrid-electric performance sedan in 2016, retaining a lot of the exterior and interior design of the original Fisker Karma, but adding a spate of new technologies to usher the model into a new era. Production of the Revero began in 2017 as Karma Automotive began its goal of building around 150 units in 2018 and 300 units in 2019.

As production of the Revero continued, Karma started developing a refreshed and more performance-oriented version of the model. That model ultimately came to be known as the Revero GT.

The Karma Revero GT arrived in May 2019 packing a fresh new look to go with an updated interior and, most importantly, a new powertrain setup featuring a BMW-sourced 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. It’s the same engine that BMW uses on its own hybrid performance car, the i8.

2020 Karma Revero GT Specs and Performance

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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In keeping with its identity, we’ve already established that the Karma Revero GT comes with a BMW-sourced 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that will work side-by-side with a pair of electric motors to produce a stout 535 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. The introduction of the Bavarian mill means the end of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that was previously used in the Revero.

2020 Karma Revero GT drivetrain specifications
Engine 1.5-liter BMW engine + electric motors
Battery Pack 28-kWh
Horsepower 535 HP
Torque 550 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 125 mph
Battery 28-kWh
Electric range 61 miles
Combined range 340 miles

Not that it’s a big loss for Karma; Bimmer’s turbocharged three-cylinder unit is the same engine that you can find in the i8 plug-in hybrid. It’s also lighter than the GM four-cylinder unit and the integration of the new — and also lighter — 28 kWh battery pack means that the Revero GT sits at a lower weight class compared to its predecessor.

The new powertrain setup doesn’t account for a majority of the weight loss but it is a healthy contributor in the Revero GT weighing in at 5,050 pounds.

That’s 350 pounds lighter than the Revero, which has a curb weight of 5,407 pounds.

Put the hybrid sports through the performance gauntlet and you’d be surprised how quick this thing is. With the powertrain firing on all cylinders, the Revero GT can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph 4.5 seconds, making it almost a second quicker than the Revero. Top speed, on the other hand, is electronically limited to just 125 mph. A case can be made, though, that if you throw that limiter aside, the Revero GT is capable of achieving a higher top speed, perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 to 170 mph. It wouldn’t be surprising if it could actually achieve that.

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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Regardless, the Revero GT’s performance numbers are impressive enough for its competition to take notice. Porsche, for example, boasts that the Panamera 4E Hybrid, which features its own hybrid system that produces 457 horsepower, can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, or 0.1 seconds quicker than the Karma.

Performance capabilities aside, the Revero GT’s new 28-kWh battery carries enough juice to run 61 miles in electric mode.

Tread lightly on the accelerator and you might even hit 80 miles on a single charge. That’s another huge improvement from the Revero’s battery pack, which could only cover 37 miles of ground in electric mode before it starts asking for more juice. Throw in the extra 280 miles granted by the electric generator that BMW’s three-cylinder engine powers and you’re looking at a combined range of around 340 miles.

2020 Karma Revero GT Pricing

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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This is where it gets a bit tricky for the Karma Revero GT. The hybrid sports car is priced at around $135,000. It’s not a particularly absurd price tag considering the going-rate of a lot of exotic performance cars these days. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens, and top-end Porsches will cost you at least $200,000 these days.

The problem with the Revero GT’s price tag is that it’s higher than most of its direct competitors.

The aforementioned Porsche Panamera 4-E Hybrid, for example, starts at $99,600. That’s savings of $35,400 compared to buying the Revero GT outright. You only need to add a little over $20,000 to the Revero GT’s price tag and you can buy a Panamera 4-E Hybrid and an entry-level Porsche 718 Cayman.

Hence, the question on everyone’s mind: is it worth spending $135,000 on the Karma Revero GT?

Is the 2020 Karma Revero GT Worth $135,000 And What Options Are Available?

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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Part of me understands Karma’s pricing strategy for the Revero GT.

Its predecessor, the Revero, started at around $130,000 and while sales numbers weren’t made public by Karma, we can assume that the automaker sold enough to justify the development of the Revero GT.

Here’s where the concern starts. The Revero, which traces its roots back to the perpetually faulty Fisker Karma, wasn’t a bastion of reliability. It’s been plagued with its own set of reliability issues, including a few recall issues, most recently a few months ago in April when it sent a notice to the NHTSA about potential issues with head protection and side curtain airbags. Apparently, there’s a chance that they don’t deploy in the event of a rollover.

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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To be fair, the Revero GT comes with a spate of safety and technological improvements over the Revero so a lot of the issues that plagued the latter shouldn’t affect the new model, right? It shouldn’t, but assuming that the Revero GT is a perfect vehicle is, in itself, a fool’s errand. There will be issues with this car. Some issues could probably be dusted off while others could be major enough to warrant their own safety recalls. Let’s hope that’s not the case, but we have to be realistic at the same time.

So, is it worth splashing $135,000 on the Karma Revero GT knowing the potential perils that lie ahead? I’m not certain that it is, especially with so many other options available in the market, most of which aren’t as expensive as the Revero GT.

Perhaps the announcement of some options — Karma hasn’t mentioned those yet — that will be offered with the Revero GT will change some people’s minds. Perhaps not. I’m on the side of the latter. To be clear, I want Karma Automotive to succeed with the Revero GT. But if part of that success means I’m going to have to pay at least $135,000 for a hybrid sports car that could have its share — even if it’s not directly tied to it since it’s a new model — of problems, I’d rather spend that kind of money somewhere else.

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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Who cares if the Porsche Panamera 4-E Hybrid has fewer horsepower than the Karma Revero GT? It’s cheaper by more than $30,000 and I know what I’m getting from Porsche. I don’t think I can say the same with Karma.

Further reading

Is $135,000 Too Much to Pay for the 2020 Karma Revero GT?
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Read our full review on the 2020 Karma Revero GT.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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