Imagine the confusion when we discovered that a Fisker Karma was making its way to the Detroit Auto Show. Mind all of you, that’s not what really confused us; what did the trick was that this car isn’t actually a Karma, but it surelooked like one.

On top of that, it isn’t an electric car like the mustachioed Fisker; it’s a gasoline-powered sports car that comes with a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 powertrain. This, dear friends, is the Destino four-door performance sedan that’s being built as a collaboration between industrialist Gilbert Villereal and former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. Yep, that Bob Lutz.

Not a whole lot is being made out of the Destino, presumably because it’s still in its relative infancy, although it is based on the electric Karma and will be built in Detroit under the auspices of VL Automotive with a retail date scheduled for the latter part of the year.

Find out more about the VL Automotive Destino after the jump

  • 2013 VL Automotive Destino
  • Year:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    638 @ 6500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    604 @ 3800
  • Displacement:
    6.2 L
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2013 VL Automotive Destino Exterior
- image 489013

Despite being based on the Karma, Lutz explains that the Destino comes with styling modifications to differentiate it from the electric car. Having said that, the biggest difference, and one that we’re relieved to see, is the different and slightly more subdued grille that doesn’t take away from the overall profile the way the mustache grille of the Karma does.

The intakes on the sides of the redesigned front bumper are also bigger than that of the Karma’s, something that we presume to be necessary, given the much bigger powertrain the Destino has under its hood. The presence of bi-xenon headlamps, auto-dimming rear and side view mirrors, and a trunk-mounted rear view camera are all welcome technological additions to the car.

As for the rear, the Karma’s actually looks better than that of the Destino, at least as far as we’re concerned. The latter’s rear profile, though teething with aggression, looks a little patched-up, with the components hastily put together without thinking of overall aesthetics, unlike the Karma’s rear end, which is just streamlined to the hilt with plenty of sporty touches to go with it. The Destino’s confusing rear design is only exacerbated by those pair of twin tail pipes, which only seems to add to the messy design than highlight the car’s overall characteristics.

Have a look at the exterior dimensions of the Destino below:

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase 124.4 in. (3,160 mm)
Length 202.8 in. (5,151 mm)
Width 84.0 in. (2,133 mm)
Height 52.4 in. (1,330 mm)
Front Track 66.6 in. (1,692 mm)
Rear Track 67.0 in. (1,701 mm)


2013 VL Automotive Destino Exterior
- image 489014

The Destino’s interior was designed by mixing high luxury with state-of-the-art technology; just the way the people developing this sports car like it. The interior can be dressed in either leather or suede, offering customers a choice between a material that comes with low pigmentation and high yield with one that’s described as 100-percent post-industrial textile.

The Destino’s steering wheel is also more than just a wheel; it has mounted audio and phone controls that make it easier for the driver to access these options. You’ll notice that the Destino also has keyless ignition with a push-button start, making it more accessible for drivers to hop in to their cars and get that mammoth engine revving. The seats, particularly the two in the front, feature six-way power with lumbar adjustment and memory.

Comfort first, right?

Finally, a choice audio systems can be had, depending on the customer’s preference. A 10.2-inch multifunction haptic touchscreen is available, as is climate control with dual-zone automatic air conditioning, heated front and rear seats, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Check out the interior dimensions of the Destino below:

Interior Dimensions
Seating Capacity 4
Headroom (Front) 38.3 in. (973 mm)
Headroom (Rear) 35.7 in. (908 mm)
Legroom (Front) 42.6 in. (1,083 mm)
Legroom (Rear) 31.4 in. (798 mm)


The folks behind the Destino also reengineered its chassis in order to accommodate the 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 V-8 engine that produces an impressive 638 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 604 pound-feet of torque at 3,800 rpm and mates to either a four-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission.

If that engine is too powerful for your liking, you can opt for the base option 6.2-liter LT1 direct-injection V-8 engine, one that comes with an output of 450 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 450 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm – you know, the one in the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.


With that much power in tow, VL Automotive has fitted the Destino with a slew of safety features that ensure the car remains in tip-top shape when it’s doing its business out on the roadway. Eight total air bags are present in the interior while an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is locked in at all times with a Traction Control System (TCS).

It also helps that the car is built using a proprietary aluminum frame with front and rear crush zones, and side impact protection, ensuring that the safety needs of the driver and the passengers are taken care of.

Finally, Low Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) can be found in passenger and rear seats.


2013 VL Automotive Destino Exterior
- image 489011

The Destino features a four-wheel independent suspension with Short-Long Arm (SLA) architecture. The front of the suspension features a monotube coil-overs with aluminum control arms and a stabilizer bar while the rear is made of a load-leveling coil-overs with its own aluminum control arms and stabilizer bar.

Have a look at the Destino’s suspension specs below:

Suspension Specs
Ground Clearance 5.6 in. (142 mm)
Steering Turns Lock-to-Lock 2.7
Steering Type Rack in pinion with variable speed, electro-hydraulic power assist
Steering Ratio Variable 14.5:1 to 16.1:1
Turning Circle Curb-to-Curb 40.4 ft. (12.3 m)
Turning Circle Wall-to-Wall 41.1 ft (12.5 m)

What Bob Lutz Has To Say About It

"The goal in designing and engineering this automobile is to provide true motoring enthusiasts with an exquisite work of automotive art that performs at a world-class level. Attention to detail is a paramount concern, as is reliability and ease of maintenance. We have made styling modifications to differentiate our design and reengineered the chassis to accommodate the 638bhp ZR1’s handcrafted LS9 engine with either a manual or automatic transmission. The result is truly an American designed, engineered and manufactured four-door performance car that rivals such models as the Porche Panamera and Aston-Martin-Lagonda Rapide.

We are developing our distribution network now and will deliver Destino on a
first-come, first-served basis. Customers will have the option of customizing the exterior color and interior trim."

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