It's easy to get lost while staring at the paint on a Fisker Latigo CS. The car is devoid of orange peel, and near-flawless liquid color drapes and flows over every curve. It's hypnotic, and it sucks you in.
Henrik Fisker--the designer responsible for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the BMW Z8--knows this. He stands there, smiling a little, as your eyes melt into each fender. This is the response that Fisker likes, because it means that you have convinced yourself that yes, in fact, a rebodied, $200,000 BMW 6-series really is worth the money.
Yep, you read that right: the car pictured here started life as a BMW M6. Fisker Coachbuild has quietly spent the last two years reviving the long-dormant tradition of the specialty coachbuilder, rebodying production cars with custom bodywork. And like the company's first car, the Mercedes-Benz SL-based Tramonto, the Latigo oozes exclusivity but is built on relatively ordinary underpinnings.
Here's how it works: After picking up a new BMW 650i or M6 (coupe or convertible), you drop off the car with Fisker. The stock exterior body panels are all removed, and the entire interior is retrimmed by hand. The car is then rebodied with all manner of Fisker-designed carbon-fiber and aluminum panels. The final design keeps the proportions, the glass, and the basic interior of the 6-series, but it nevertheless looks little like a modern BMW. Stiffer springs and twenty-inch, forged Fisker wheels are bolted on as standard. And if you feel the need for even more power, a 648-hp, M6-based V-10 is available.
The end result is jaw-dropping. The Latigo's fundamental shape is obviously that of a 6-series, but it's also far more delicate, Italianate, and exotic than the ugly-baby Bavarian. And while the car drives--as you'd expect--like a tuned BMW, there's something intangible about the entire experience that seduces you. The buttery-soft leather that could have come from a $20,000 Italian sofa. The sight of the arching rear haunches in the side mirrors. The stunning, Aston Martin-esque C-pillar. It's almost magical.
Some people will probably balk at the idea of paying two hundred grand for a reclothed BMW; that amount of cash, after all, could buy any number of faster, crazier Italian exotics. And still others will see the Fisker as little more than a rolling bank-account statement. Fisker himself sees the car as a tailor-made daily driver for those who can--and do--have everything. In the end, public perception is irrelevant; only 150 Latigo CSs will be built, and those few who buy them will likely do so for emotional, not practical, reasons. After all, when you've been well and truly sucked in, what's two hundred grand?