There's nothing wrong with the Fisker Karma that a honkin' American V8 engine won't fix. At least according to Bob Lutz, it seems. Called the VL Automotive Destino, this machine is the brainchild of industrialist Gilbert Villereal and the aforementioned Lutz, and is intended to compete with such well-regarded performance sedans as the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.

As you can see, there are some significant styling changes made in the conversion from Karma to Destino, notably in the front and rear fascias, including exhaust tips out back and a new hood that's raised to accommodate what lies underneath. The interior is also reskinned and can be further customized by the buyer.

But it's the engineering work under that shapely skin that's truly noteworthy. Replacing the electric motor, battery pack and turbocharged range extender is one 638-horsepower supercharged LS9 V8 borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 driving the rear wheels through either a manual or automatic transmission. Power numbers are identical to the ZR1 and while fuel economy is not yet known, we can expect is to be a bit lower than the Corvette's 15 city / 24 highway.

The Destino will be built at VL Automotive's headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and it will be delivered through still-in-development distribution network starting this summer. Pricing is expected to be around $180,000, which is significantly more than the Karma's $102,000 base price. Check out our high-res image gallery live from the Detroit Auto Show above and the press release below.
Show full PR text
"Destino" Premiers at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

DETROIT, Mich., Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Destino made its world premier today at the North American International Auto show as the newest four-door performance car in the world market of exclusive automobiles. Based on an award-winning design by Henrik Fisker and powered by the internationally applauded Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 powertrain, Destino is the result of collaboration by industrialist Gilbert Villereal and former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz .

"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," according to Lutz. "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 Porsche 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," Lutz said.

Destino has an overall length of 202.8 inches and a 124.4 inch wheelbase. Overall height is 52.4 inches.

Destino will be manufactured in Auburn Hills, Michigan under the auspices of VL Productions. Destino is scheduled for retail sales in the second half of 2013 following certification and validation. Prototypes are currently in testing.

Additional information, specifications and photos are available at www.VL-Automotive.com.

SOURCE VL Productions


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  • 118 Comments
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seems like Fisker has found a secondary source of income. Tesla can sell powertrains without bodies, Fisker will sell gliders without powertrains. Quite a bit lighter, too. Around 4,000lbs, from what I've been reading. Not green, but if it helps Fisker keep building PHEVs, then I'm ok with it! Besides, how can one be upset about such a beautiful car?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Correction, re: weight "All told, the Destino sheds over 1,000 pounds from the standard Karma, with Villarreal claiming a curb weight of 3,750 pounds. " http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/01/vlp-destino/
      carguy1701
      • 1 Year Ago
      Holy crap, a Karma I'm actually interested in.
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like the mission of the Karma, but Henrik Fisker is one of the world's foremost coach-builders, not a global leader in powertrain manufacturing. Stylized designs like the Karma are usually discarded by bean-counters at major manufacturers, but a boutique coachbuilder like Fisker can make a major contribution to auto enthusiasts by bringing beautiful design to market. The powertrain innovations can be revisited in the future.
      Shiftright
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a brilliant idea, and it looks better too. Do want...
      justgoawaymad
      • 1 Year Ago
      So.....what happens to electric motor, battery pack and turbocharged range extender? Are they for sale along with the computer? Wouldnt that be a neet package to install in say.....my car? lol
      Shanti
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL! Lutz, you animal.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dump the highly inefficient, heavy, buzzy, expensive, and under-performing EREV power train with a real engine. By saving 1000 pounds, I bet this gets just a good of gas mileage as the original while giving FAR better performance. Well done, Bob.
      markos.liska
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.facebook.com/VLDestino
      Pinhead
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whoa, and a manual transmission to boot. To borrow from George, "I think it moved."
      Car Guy
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love Peter DeLorenzo's observation on the Karma. It's Fisker's "Rolling note to self"...........
      rmyoafno666
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone notice how similar the new Corvette and Karma fronts ends look??? (Hood shape and headlights)
      V8
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hell yeah! That's the kind of electric car I like!!!
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