100 Hot Cars

Just Car Blog

Consumer Reports’ Fisker Karma Dies On Check-In: Video 9
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Fisker Karma, Automotive, Consumer Reports, Fisker, Kurt, News, video, Videos on 03 9th, 2012

Boutique automaker Fisker probably doesn’t need any more bad press. After all, its Karma sedan has only been in owners’ hands for a few months, but the company has already struggled through two recalls (one battery-related, the second software-based) and a recent round of funding-related layoffs. Now comes word from Consumer Reports, via Autoblog, that the Karma purchased by CR died during the magazine’s check-in process.

While critics complain that CR isn’t always as objective as it would have readers believe, it gets credit for purchasing each of the vehicles it road tests. In the case of the Karma, that purchase set the magazine back over $100,000, which is roughly 10,000 times our own budget for purchasing test vehicles. Upon delivery and during CR’s check-in process, its newly acquired Karma suddenly refused to engage any gear beyond park and neutral. According to CR, it was the first time in the publication’s history that a car failed before completion of the initial check-in.

The local Fisker dealer immediately dispatched a flatbed to retrieve the car, which is undergoing diagnostic tests. In fairness to Fisker, it’s reasonable to expect glitches from any new car, especially one that uses a complex, extended-range electric drivetrain. There is, apparently, some validity to the adage that you should never buy a first-model-year-car, no matter how good it looks.

Jay Leno Looks At The Fisker Karma 23
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Fisker Karma, Automotive, Electric, Fisker, Jay Leno's Garage, Kurt, video, Videos on 01 23rd, 2012

The 2012 Fisker Karma. Image: Jay Leno's Garage

Chances are good that you’ve heard of the Fisker Karma. Recently launched, the car has made appearances on CBS’s “Two And A Half Men,” but it’s already been the subject of two voluntary safety recalls by Fisker. Like the Chevrolet Volt, the Fisker Karma is an extended range electric vehicle, but unlike the Volt is aimed at the luxury market. It’s not a sport sedan, but it is a legitimate grand touring car, with a price tag (north of $100k) to match.

Designed by Henrik Fisker, the Karma is powered by lithium-ion batteries driving two rear-mounted electric motors. Combined, these motors produce the equivalent of 400 horsepower and 1100 pound-feet of torque, and on battery power alone the car has a range of up to 50 miles. When the batteries run down, a gasoline-powered generator kicks in, providing power to the motors and giving the Karma a virtually unlimited range (assuming you stop for gas every 250 miles, that is).

With as much torque as a Bugatti Veyron, you’d expect the Karma to be quick off the line. It is, but the car is hampered by its 5,300 pound curb weight, so the run from 0 – 60 takes just under six seconds. Top speed is 125 miles per hour, which should be fast enough for the type of buyers Fisker has in mind.

Since Jay Leno already has a Chevy Volt, he has a sense for the design behind the Fisker Karma. Is he impressed by the extended-range EV grand tourer? Check out this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage (in its new format) to find out.