Henry Ford was no gifted artist, yet he made a car worthy of the common man. William Durant didn’t especially like cars, but created a marketing and distribution empire that inspired us all. And while Henrik Fisker’s car-centric life isn’t fully wikipedia’d, the first creation of the company that bears his name is an object of wonder and inspiration. The Fisker Karma, like every concept from any auto show, is a dream car: flaws and compromises intact.
While I spilled the beans on the Karma’s Vellum, I never discussed the interior. So let’s fix that. The Karma’s guts are another exercise in concept car Shock and Awe. While autojournos occasionally sit in million dollar concept cars, most folks do not. Safe to say that if you, mere mortal, sit behind the tiller of a Fisker Karma, you’ve experienced the Concept Car in all its glory. Especially in the avant-garde EcoChic trim level, which is a good and bad thing.
Instead of mass-produced, the Karma goes cottage industry, Aston Martin Lagonda style. Plastic door panels at your knees? Maybe, but they’re swathed in sheets of “EcoSuede”. Most touchpoints are wrapped in padded fabric reminiscent of Ricardo Tubbs’ designer threads. And while there’s a touch of wood trim (eco-farmed from the bottom of a lake, no less), the obvious places for timber have iPhone worthy glass. And brushed aluminum, including the electric door releases. Aside from the EcoChic’s cornball leaf-etching in the glass, this tri-tone environment is an interior designer’s wet dream.
And the ICE in the center stack looks unfinished/overtly minimal like a proper concept car, but is intuitive and beautiful…once it finishes booting up. Even worse, the large Karma is shockingly small inside. But since it isn’t thin and harsh like a (similarly exotic) Aston Martin Rapide, it’s more like the first time you sat in a bean bag chair. If you’re significantly wider than Justin Bieber, you might disagree. But less is still more.
Except when you get the Karma moving. That’s when 5300lbs of sedan feels just about right. Aside from the frequent thuds and bumps from the 22” wheels, this is a proper luxury car with a ride that puts everyone else to shame using the Laws of Physics. You can’t hustle the Karma like a normal car, because this is a (compromised?) hybrid concept car come to life.
But the steering is remarkably lively, hybrid or otherwise. Handling is flat if you keep those steering inputs slow and stately. Combined with the obligatory torque of an electric motor and the interior ambiance of a C4 Corvette (complete with ample view of that stunning hood), you’re piloting a proper space ship.
The driving experience of a monstrous hybrid sedan with a disturbingly low center of gravity is just as unique as the concept car styling. Touchy-feely thoughts aside, the performance numbers won’t impress: a garden variety 7-series will run circles around this monster. At least the GM Ecotec power generator is quiet and “sport” mode is entertaining…if not especially exciting. I’d like to think the fuel economy is better than most luxury sedans, but that’s not the point.
The Karma is an experience. It’s immensely rewarding in every way.
And Two and A Half Men product placement aside, this won’t be someone’s only vehicle. At $116,000 for the top line EcoChic trim, it doesn’t take a White Whine fan to realize you’ll get more car for less money elsewhere. But can you put a price on owning a concept car? And drive it to work, enjoying every moment?
Bragging rights intact, every jerk off in a Benz, Panamera, Bentley, Phantom, etc. are cast off as “untouchable” when this bit of Hindu mysticism is in the joint. Inappropriate Caste System references FTW, son!
And while the current reality of the H-Town McMansion burning Karma adds irony to said Hindu concept, I did fall in love with this dream machine. And now I wonder if my tester was the responsible party…wait, could my personal/spiritual karma be responsible for the Karma’s McMansion maiming?
No matter: if the Pinto survived the explody-problem and thrived in a (somewhat) competitive market for years, why not cut Fisker a break? Unless it burned down your crib, too. So let’s go back to the money, honey. Everyone’s all about Fisker’s long-term financial prospects: tragic, but a fair point.
My point? Screw it: the intended buyer has tons of disposable income and the Karma is a stunning piece of machinery. It, like true love, is filled with beauty, bliss and effortless good times. Also like true love, there’s sadness, tragedy, and nothing more than unfounded hope for a better future with the one you adore. This is the passion of owning a sedan that will be the last vehicle mistaken for an appliance. A sedan amongst the most exotic vehicles, no less!
And with that, thank goodness for concept cars becoming a reality. Enjoy it while you can.