Fisker's Karma comes back around as Karma Revero
Having previewed its arrival with a teaser last month, Karma has whipped the sheet off its the reborn grand tourer. Although it's wearing a new badge, the Revero carries more than a passing resemblance to the eco-chic Fisker Karma launched in 2011, both on the outside and under the skin.
Under the Revero's gorgeous shell is a plug-in hybrid range-extender powertrain almost identical to the one in the Fisker Karma. Electric traction motors send 301 kW (403 hp) of power and a whopping 1,330 Nm of torque through the rear wheels. They're powered by a 21.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, good for 50 miles (80 km) of all-electric running.
Because 50 miles is nowhere near enough range for a luxurious grand tourer, there's a 175-kW (325-hp) petrol generator connected up to the battery as well. It adds another 250 miles (402 km) to the range figure and can be used to maintain the battery's charge, or replenish it when it runs flat.
The battery can also be charged using a regular wall socket, but at ten hours to a full charge it's worth investing in the 240V, 6.6 kW fast charger that takes just three hours to do the same job. There's also a solar panel on the roof of the car, which Karma claims will add another 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of range to the battery over the course of a normal day's driving.
With electric motors providing the power and a gorgeous exterior design, you could be forgiven for expecting Tesla acceleration times from the Revero. Unfortunately, the figures are barely enough to take care of hot hatches and warm German family cars. Running in Sport it takes 5.4 seconds to hit 60 mph (98 km/h), while dropping back to long-range electric Stealth drags it out to a sedate 6.9 seconds. Top speed is 125 mph (201 km/h) in Sport, and drops to 94 mph (151 km/h) in the other two drive modes.
It's not going to set any acceleration records, but that's not really the point of big grand tourer like this. Just like the original Karma, it's better to focus on the totally unique interior design and marvel at the crazy eco materials that have been used. Reclaimed wood has been used for the dashboard trim, and the leather chosen for the seats is subjected to as little tanning and painting as possible.
Compared to the old car, which also ran with the same eco-chic interior trim, the real change comes on the technology front. The central touchscreen has been redesigned with a slicker, more user friendly interface, and there's also a new electric instrument binnacle for the driver.
Forget the interior, though, because this car's real drawcard is the way it looks on the outside. Designed by Henrik Fisker, the man responsible for the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9, the Revero is still as arresting as the original Karma was when it launched in 2008.
What has changed is the price. The Fisker Karma cost US$103,000 when it hit the market in 2011, but the Karma Revero will set buyers back at least $130,000. Whether the high sticker price will put people off a hybrid that's slower than the quickest electric cars, heavier than all but the biggest gas guzzlers and that has not earned a reputation for quality remains to be seen.