Destino--The Corvette-Powered Fisker Karma: Detroit Auto Show

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If you've always felt the 20 mpg Fisker Karma is a little bit too green, a new sport sedan based on the Fisker Karma might be just the car you're looking for.

The VL Automotive Destino is essentially Henrik Fisker's range-extended electric car, with all the expensive drivetrain components removed and replaced with Chevrolet's LS9 V-8 engine. That's the same supercharged unit you'll find in the Corvette ZR1 supercar.

If you think that sounds strange, then it gets better--one of the men behind the Destino is none other than "father of the Volt" and Via Motors figurehead, Bob Lutz.

Proving Lutz still has gasoline coursing through his veins, despite pushing for greener vehicles like the Volt and the Via electric trucks, the Destino is designed "to provide true motoring enthusiasts with an exquisite work of automotive art that performs at a world-class level.  Attention to detail is a paramount concern, as is reliability and ease of maintenance."

With Fisker's recent problems, including cooling issues leading to fires (the recall for which indirectly led to even greater damage...), perhaps there's method behind the apparent madness of swapping the range-extended Karma powertrain with a simpler, tried-and-tested engine like the LS9.

Fisker Karma: Range-extended electric car ultimate guide

Destinos will come with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Lutz says the car is "an American designed, engineered and manufactured four-door performance car that rivals such models as the Porche Panamera and Aston-Martin-Lagonda Rapide."

On the outside, the Destino differs little from the Karma on which it's based--though the front facia takes on a more subtle appearance, losing Fisker's distinctive mustache grille. Arguably, it's all the more attractive without it.

The Destino is a collaborative project between Lutz and industrialist Gilbert Villereal, and made its debut today at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. It will be built in Auburn Hills, Michigan--not far from where Lutz's former colleague at GM and now Fisker CEO, Tony Posawatz, is setting up a Fisker technology center.

We asked Fisker for a comment on the modified Karma, and this is what Senior Director of Global Communications and PR, Roger Ormisher, told us:

"Fisker believes that it speaks to the appeal of the Karma and its stunning, award-winning design that coachbuilders are wanting to take our cars and modify and customize them. We join many famous brands in automotive history that have been the subject of customization and modification."

He added that the project isn't a joint partnership nor a strategic alliance, though VL Automotive has ordered 20 Karmas, less their powertrains and lithium batteries, for conversion.

The Destino is scheduled for retail sales in the second half of 2013--and is available on a first come, first served basis.

Want to catch up with the latest news and launches? Head over to our Detroit Auto Show page.


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Comments (9)
  1. Not much interesting, and it doesn't even look sexy. The new grill, gills and rims look to belong on an early-2000s Maserati. It lost the sexiness of the Fisker.

  2. Looks interesting as the car would likely sell well without being green because of its exterior design. Calling it a 20 mpg car though is not fair as this is the rating if you don't plug it in. Most people who buy this car do plug it in. I am currently getting >500 mpg as I rarely have to drive it more than 40 miles per day.

  3. So does this company have ties to Fisker Automotive? How are they doing this, are they buying Karmas and stripping them out or are they purchasing gliders from Fisker?

  4. From the article:
    "...the project isn't a joint partnership nor a strategic alliance, though VL Automotive has ordered 20 Karmas, less their powertrains and lithium batteries, for conversion."

  5. I actually don't remember seeing the comment from Fisker, so it was either added after my comment or I simply missed it somehow sorry.

  6. here's there facebook page, not much activity, looks pretty new

  7. Thanks!

  8. They kept what's good and got rid of what sucked, great looking car now!! and the LS9 sounds like a blast!! now all i need to do is hit that mega million so i can afford one.... cheers!!

  9. So I guess there is significantly more luggage space, much lower weight, and higher performance. Price should even be lower too with the expensive batteries gone.

    With Fisker loosing 338 Karmas in the Sandy hurricane, this second sales direction could really help on the bottom line.

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