Review: Fisker Karma vs BMW 335d

Update: This was written in 2012. Since then, BMW has released a 3-series hybrid. Fisker no longer sells the Karma but are planning to sell the Motion model, at some point. Having gone out of business and now back in business, I would guess they are figuring out things like funding.

Fisker Karma carSuper high-performance and green? As you think about your next luxury sedan, you may be thinking about buying a Fisker Karma.

I say that fully kidding – I know that none of my readers are thinking about buying a Fisker Karma.

Anyhow, I read with interest a Car & Driver magazine review of the new Fisker Karma. Think of it as a much faster Chevrolet Volt with a super beautiful body.

The gas engine powers a generator that charges an electric motor that moves the wheels. So it can run only on electric power for about 25 miles.

Why am I comparing the $116,000 Karma to a $44,000 BMW 335d? Here are several reasons:

1. Performance? The BMW is faster than the Karma… BMW = 0-60 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds. TheĀ Fisker does 6.1 seconds.

2. Interior room? Similar.

3. Quality of materials, fit and finish? Similar.

4. Fuel economy? BMW wins… 27 miles per gallon vs. the Fisker’s 24.

5. Green? Disposing of all those lithium-ion batteries when they fail to hold a charge anymore will be a nightmare. And diesel is more dirty than gas in some measures but cleaner in others.

BMW 335dThe Fisker is a clear winner in the distinctiveness realm. You won’t see another on your block, guaranteed – no matter where you live. But for everything else, the BMW wins.

A final note: the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid is definitely a closer vehicle to compare. It costs a closer $100,000, does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and gets similar fuel economy to the BMW.

Photos are courtesy of the Fisker and BMW websites.


2 Replies to “Review: Fisker Karma vs BMW 335d”

  1. “Green” is so arbitrary! Like you say, the components of a battery-powered car are tough to dispose of, and the amount of material and energy that goes into design and manufacture is never taken into account. Plug-in electric cars use coal energy or nuclear energy or whatever is producing our electricity. Presumably it’s less waste than a gasoline or diesel engine, but I don’t haven’t seen figures.

    If a hybrid car is only getting 25 mpg, I’m way better off buying a 4-cylinder VW or Toyota or any other car that gets 30+ mpg.

  2. I totally agree, actually if compared to the upcoming BMW 640d gran coupe, which is similar to the panamera, the BMW weighing in at approx 50MPG on diesel blows the karma out of the water. 0-60 in 5.4 too.

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