2010 Fisker Karma/Karma S: Plug-in Passion

By KBB.com Editors on January 14, 2009 1:16 PM

Renowned designer Henrik Fisker doubled down in Detroit, showing both the first production version of his Karma luxury plug-in sedan and a potentially very-real retractable hardtop concept, the Karma S -- for Sunset. Both of these "eco-chic" stunners share the same aluminum space frame and proprietary Q-DRIVE powertrain that uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter GM Ecotec inline-four engine and a Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies controller to charge its centrally mounted Lithium-ion battery pack. That, in turn, powers two electric motors that generate up to 408 horsepower. Able to travel 50 miles on a single charge and hit 95 mph in its pure-EV "stealth" mode, the rear-drive Karma can sprint from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds and top out at 125 mph when switched into its unrestricted "sport" setting.

Fisker, whose previous efforts include a number of memorable cars for Aston Martin, BMW, and Ford, enjoyed the ultimate free hand in creating the Karma and Karma S at his corporate headquarters in Carlsbad, California. Using a design language he's dubbed "eco-chic", the aluminum and composite-bodied cars the bear his name display sensually flowing lines set off with high-profile detailing that includes bi-xenon headlamps, LED turn signals and tail lamps and 22-inch custom alloy wheels. While the nascent Karma S boasts a slick retractable hard top, the Karma is fitted with a standard glass solar panel roof, the largest to be formed from one continuous element.

Fisker believes he'll be able to sell about 15,000 of the new Karma sedan annually, which will carry starting price of $87,900. The Finnish firm Valmont Automotive (who currently build the Boxster and Cayman for Porsche) will begin producing this four-door model in the fall. No specific launch date for the two-door Karma S was given at its Detroit debut, but it's expected to go into production sometime in a 2011-2012 window.