• 2011 Fisker Karma

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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 His company originally made several re-bodied versions of the Mercedes SL and the BMW 6-series, but in very limited production and a high price tag.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 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.

  • 2011 Fisker Karma
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    GM-sourced gas engine with a lithium-ion battery pack
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400+ electric, then 260hp from the gas engine
  • Displacement:
    2.0L L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:


2011 Fisker Karma
- image 281122

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 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.


2011 Fisker Karma
- image 281126

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 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.


2011 Fisker Karma High Resolution Interior
- image 393375

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.


2011 Fisker Karma
- image 281143

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

2011 Fisker Karma
- image 281134

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 factory in Finland. This facility has also been the production line for several Porsche and 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.


2011 Fisker Karma Exterior
- image 393381

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

2011 Fisker Karma
- image 281128
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Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the Topspeed.com team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with Topspeed.com ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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What do you think?
Show Comments


  (516) posted on 10.8.2012

i think tinur is right. a cheap car, affordable, could have a greater impact on the environment, because more people will buy it.

  (475) posted on 10.8.2012

you may be right brad. but how long will the electric engine work if you drive a little more aggressive?

  (422) posted on 10.8.2012

i hope the karma will be a great success. then all this technology could be implemented on cheaper cars.

  (452) posted on 10.8.2012

midocar, the petrol engine is to work when the battery is down, and it’s only to re-fuel it.

  (475) posted on 10.8.2012

i find it funny to say that a car is eco-friendly when it has a 260 HP petrol engine.

  (509) posted on 10.8.2012

it’s quite a shame what has recently happened at fisker. but i think they will get over that.

  (516) posted on 10.8.2012

although very nice, this car is expensive. i would rather have the mercedes.

  (542) posted on 10.8.2012

the car is beautiful. this is the best word to describe it. it does resemble the quatro porte, but it yet has its own individuality.

  (488) posted on 02.7.2012

The car exterior was simple yet elegant. There are many new technologies that have been used to add more impact.

  (458) posted on 01.30.2012

The car’s design is unique with exciting and beautiful exterior. You cannot easily identify that it’s an eco-friendly car.

  (530) posted on 11.22.2011

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.

  (466) posted on 11.21.2011

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.

  (692) posted on 11.17.2011

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

  (382) posted on 11.14.2011

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.

  (453) posted on 11.4.2011

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!

  (459) posted on 11.3.2011

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.

  (300) posted on 10.27.2011

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.

  (445) posted on 10.7.2011

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.

  (599) posted on 09.23.2011

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.

  (302) posted on 03.16.2011

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.

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