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Detroit motoring venture VL Automotive is moving ahead with plans to transform Fisker Karmas from using hybrid powertrains to full-strength ZR1 Corvette power.

The company, which is backed by former General Motors’ vice chairman Bob Lutz and industrialist Gilbert Villarreal, has apparently purchased 25 unsold Karmas.

The company also settled an ongoing dispute with an Asian investor that had hindered VL from accessing codes that operate the car’s infotainment system.

VL Automotive Karma5

The extended-range Chevrolet Volt-like, petrol-electric powertrain has been swapped for the engine and transmission used in the Chevrolet Corvette.

There are two versions available. The base model gets a 6.2-litre LT-1 direct injection V8 developing 336kW and 609Nm of torque, while the top spec uses a supercharged version punching out 476kW and 818Nm.

Transmission options will include a four-speed automatic paired with a 3.42 performance rear axle ration, or a six-speed manual with twin-disc clutch, launch control and the same performance rear axle.

VL Automotive Karma4

The Destino has a more conservative grille and rear fascia, along with a bonnet bulge to accommodate the supercharger.

The Fisker Karma’s artificial sound generators have also been replaced with a quad-tipped exhaust.

All told, the Destino sheds over 453kg from the standard Karma, with Villarreal claiming a kerb weight of just less than 1800 kilograms.

VL Automotive Karma2

Lutz told Automotive News the challenge for engineers is to create a refined driving experience, as expected of a US$200,000 ($207,000) luxury performance car.

“It’s going to take time. I don’t want a rough car that’s hard to drive with a bad transmission and high noise levels,” Lutz said in the interview. “At close to $200,000, these things are going to have to be silky and buttery to drive. The sound and feel have to be just right,” he said.

VL Automotive also plans to return to next year’s Detroit motor show with the sedan and one other body style.

VL Automotive Karma1

The company believes they have secured a source for the body panels and gliders – cars assembled minus the drivetrain, so that production can continue after the initial batch of 25 are sold.

Additionally, VL will offer existing Karma owners the option to convert their cars to Corvette power for about $100,000 ($104,000).

Lutz said the company is on track to start delivering cars from mid-2014.




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