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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.


  • Phil

    and the Karma used to be so pretty… how does converting it to a Corvette drivetrain cost more than a whole Corvette?

  • guest

    Looks a heck of a lot better than the original with the newer, less garish front treatment.

  • Rick

    Finally a fisker I’d like to own

    • That’s it

      Finally a fisker I wouldn’t like to own

      • guest

        I wouldn’t like to own either of them, petrol or electric versions.

        Give me a Mercedes S-Class instead. Probably a diesel one.

      • Rick

        Why ? It’s lighter , faster and should have a life span of more than 10yrs

  • Jack Fast

    A standard Vette looks better – and this thing is almost twice the price of a ZR1 – nuts!

  • TheRealThomas

    Four speed Auto, like WTF. Hardly any $15,000 car still has a four speed auto. Why put it into a $200,000+ car. Surely at least a 6 speed would have been decent.

    • F1orce

      It’s making in excess of 800Nm

      The sometimes spaced out feel of a 4-speed is actually ideal in this situation.

      • Phil

        LOL. AMG make in excess of 800Nm, with a much bigger torque plateau thanks to the twin turbos, but the performance and economy benefits of the 7 speed auto are undeniable. The Bentley Flying Spur also has 800Nm, an 8 speed auto, and costs the same as the Destino.

        I’ll give Lutz credit for trying to rescue Fisker in some form, but if you’re going to price it at Bentley money, it needs to impress in all aspects. Not just in the application of old-school American hotrodding traditions.

        • $29896495

          Got to remember its America. Probably costs a buck fifty for a 4 speed and it will be tough. and there could be space issues too.

          • Phil

            The only 4 speeder offered by GM Powertrain is the 4L60, the 6L90 six speed is a stronger box – paired to the LSA in the Caddy CTS-V and the ZL1. Maybe there are space issues, but it’s a very big car and they’re already extensively modding it to take the V8.

    • keyuk

      Who cares? Anyone who was actually a car enthusiast would be getting the standard 6 speed manual anyway.

  • kkk

    hahaha Fiskar Fail, tesla is the way to go!

  • $29896495

    Nice looking. It’s good that it won’t be lost, if this keeps it alive.

  • LondonTiger

    Going for electric for this was never really a great idea. Luxury sedan & electric will not work at present.

    • F1orce

      They seem to be working in Norway & USA

    • or

      Tesla’s luxury electric sedan is the best selling car in it’s segment in the markets it has gone on sale in.

  • Connor G

    The american Maserati GT. I like it!

  • Exar Kun

    Great looking car. Nice to see the body isn’t going to waste. Saw a Fisker when in Canada recently and it had amazing presence in the metal.