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.
Super 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. The 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.
The 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.