Under the hood of the Fisker Karma is a GM-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is in no way connected to the wheels. Bolted directly to a generator, the 260-hp engine's sole assignment is to create electricity. The motivation to move this 5400-pound sedan comes from two electric motors attached to the rear differential. With a total output of 402 hp and 981 lb-ft of torque, the Karma promises brisk acceleration -- it takes fewer than six seconds to reach 60 mph, according to the manufacturer. Of course, that's only in Sport mode, where both the batteries and the gas engine provide power to the electric motors. In EV-only mode, the Karma needs almost eight seconds to reach 60 mph. Its wheelbase is as lengthy as a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-class, but the Karma is about ten inches shorter, 4.4 inches wider, and 5.6 shocking inches lower, giving it absolutely stunning proportions. Its high style is also evident in the interior, which has a center-console touchscreen for most secondary controls. Astute observers will notice some GM-sourced switchgear, but this cabin is as fashionable as it gets. The Karma is scheduled to go on sale this fall, pending EPA and CARB certification. Early test drives demonstrated its remarkable handling -- and Fisker showed a wagon version, called the Surf, at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. Should the Karma be successful, it'll be joined in the marketplace by a convertible and Fisker's next effort, a mid-size sedan that will be more affordable.
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