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A luxury performance sedan needs to have a lot of boxes checked off in order to stand out in a field of cookie-cutter four-doors. And the Fisker Karma checked off nearly all of them, with two notable exceptions: one was that gap-toothed grin, and the other was its hybrid powertrain. Fortunately, VL Automotive claims to have the answer to both.

Chinese company Wanxiang was in the news earlier this year, as it moved to acquire bankrupt automotive battery company A123. Turns out, while that was taking place in the public eye, Wanxiang was also working with VL Automotive – of Bob Lutz and Destino fame – to try and buy out Fisker Automotive.

Bob Lutz has had grandiose performance luxury car dreams before – Cunningham C7, anyone? – but the VL Automotive Destino that was just unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show was certainly a surprise, even to long-time Lutz-watchers. As a reminder, the Destino is a Fisker Karma with a 638-horsepower supercharged LS9 V8 transplanted from a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. Plug? Gone. High-tech lithium-ion battery? Sold back to Fisker.

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.

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