A Genuinely Good Idea That's Compromised By Design Fisker is a company driven by design. I can't tell you how often I heard that line from the company's namesake, its PR people and engineers during my brief trip to Los Angeles to drive the production version of the 2012 Fisker Karma. And it's something that bears repeating. So is "production version," because the Karma we drove this time last year was – at best – a prototype. Fisker's people are willing to admit that the initial launch event was an effort to assuage fears – from customers, investors and the Department of Energy – that the Karma isn't vaporware. They wanted to get butts in seats to prove they'd built a functional vehicle. And our man Matt Davis' initial impressions bore out the Karma's pre-production status. The racket from the General Motors-sourced turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder incessantly droned through the cabin when even mildly pushed, and the interior materials, while plush, came across as a mishmash of textures and fitment, neither of which would be acceptable in a luxury sedan costing upwards of $100,000 that was meant to replace the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series parked in the garages of eco-concious one-percenters. I'm here to report a cliché: What a difference a year makes. Putting aside for a moment Fisker's recent round of bad-news-turned-worse in the form of missed milestones, DOE loan renegotiations and the layoff of some 60 workers in Delaware, I'm here to see if Fisker is making something the world's elite aren't just ready to buy, but want to. And that question has already been partially answered. Fisker has produced over 1,500 Karmas, although it's not willing to cite an exact number of deliveries. According to our sources, around 300 are already in customer hands, and the reps we spoke with claimed 51 more keys were handed over the day of our arrival. So the people have spoken. At least with their wallets. And if they're looking to stand out from the pack – a particularly difficult feat in the exotic-clogged LA basin – nothing in the world comes close right now. You've seen endless images of the Karma since its 2008 reveal, but nothing compares to seeing it on the road. It has presence that would make Bertone, Zagato and the entire Pininfarina design house crumple their sketches, throw their hands in the air and walk away from their articulated desks in defeat. It's wide. It's long. And if the seemingly endless hood and mountainesque fenders aren't enough to make you weak in the knees, the back end and rear haunches make an Aston Martin DB9 look like a pre-pubescent boy in comparison. Also, 22-inch wheels. Standard. But it's not just the overall shape of the Karma that demands you kick down your boss' door and demand a raise (or, more accurately, call your broker for a withdraw), it's the details. Mosey out back and you'll notice the diamond shaped exhaust outlets, complete with chromed …
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|MPG||55 City / 54 Hwy|
|Power||403 @ rpm|
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