Fisker Surf shooting brake wows Frankfurt Show
The first words out of our mouth was, "The shape is a bit like a Ferrari FF." First thing out of their mouth – as though they were utterly perched to form the words, too – "But with four doors!" Henrik Fisker and COO Bernhard Koehler much prefer hearkening back to the 1970s iconic Lamborghini Espada when talking about the Surf's inspiration.
The Surf is the second model from the Fisker design pool, and it is so-named partly because a Fisker owner can now load a surfboard either in or on it. This joins the Karma sedan on the production line at Valmet Automotive in Finland, and should be ready for deliveries worldwide by July 2012.
The Surf shooting brake could well be called the Fisker Karma station wagon since its main objective is to respond to the ridiculously skimpy trunk on the sedan, which measures an adorable 7.1 cubic feet – less than the total storage room in a Ferrari 458 Italia. The expandable room in back now measures anywhere from 12.7 to 29.0 cubes. Hardly cause for a group "Wow!," but certainly a handy improvement.
Aside from the added carriage work and its space afforded, overall weight on the Surf versus the Karma increases by just 77 pounds, putting it in the 4,400-pound neighborhood. Work is reportedly underway for creating a custom set of luggage that best makes use of those awkwardly meted out cubic feet.
The entire powertrain, chassis, and interior execution of the Surf are identical to the Karma sedan, with the only major cabin change being the additional room in back for a couple of adults. We had a six-foot colleague get situated comfortably in the driver's seat while we sat our 5'11" body in the rear seat. Memories of the Aston Martin Rapide's "rear-passenger capsule" sensation came up, but the only insufficiency really is foot room beneath the front squabs. Fisker could have done a better job there. The 1.2 inches of added rear headroom work well for those of us up to six feet in height.
Whereas the exterior rear roof-mounted solar panel on the Karma is a 120-watt gathering unit, the available panel for the Surf is a 133-watt unit. The sturdy black plastic grille insert is a new look, as are the very sharp new 22-inch standard wheels. Fisker is currently working with an outside supplier to create an easy roof rack system to slide into the standard aluminum roof rails.
When we last drove a Fisker Karma, we were critical of the sound that entered the cabin via the footwells whenever the 255-horsepower GM Ecotec turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder chimed in to extend the range of the 315-cell lithium ion battery pack in Sport mode. Fisker tells us that the silencers have since been swapped out to create a more appropriate $100,000-plus premium noise. We're hoping that this is true. In the meantime, the awesome "signature Fisker external sound" gently fills the eardrums in Stealth mode as on the Karma.
Fisker Automotive tells us that pre-orders remain at just above 3,000, which is where they reportedly stood back when we drove the Karma dynamic prototype in February of this year. "Those initial enthusiasts," says Koehler, "are still with us and first deliveries have happened in the U.S. We have then a list of thousands more who are simply in the 'wait and see' mode and have the firm intent of buying once they hear first-hand feedback from the first customers."
Designer and CEO Fisker also tells that the Surf should do particularly well in Europe, a continent renowned for its addiction to larger premium wagons. Fisker hopes to sell 3,500 Surf models per year, rather ambitious for a shooting brake.
Pricing is set to reflect a slight premium over the $95,900 to $108,900 range of the Karma, but no exact Surf numbers have been announced yet. They did blurt out, however, "It'll be like the FF but with four doors and at one-third the price."
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