Posted Jan 14th 2013 10:24AM
There's nothing wrong with the Fisker Karma that a honkin' Chevy V8 engine won't fix. At least according to Bob Lutz, it seems. Called the VL Automotive Destino, this machine is the brainchild of industrialist Gilbert Villereal and the aforementioned Lutz, and is intended to compete with such well-regarded performance sedans as the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.
As you can see, there are some significant styling changes made in the conversion from Karma to Destino, notably in the front and rear fascias, including exhaust tips out back and a new hood that's raised to accommodate what lies underneath. The interior is also reskinned and can be further customized by the buyer.
But it's the engineering work under that shapely skin that's truly noteworthy. Replacing the electric motor, battery pack and turbocharged range extender is one 638-horsepower supercharged LS9 V8 borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 driving the rear wheels through either a manual or automatic transmission. Power numbers are identical to the ZR1 and while fuel economy is not yet known, we can expect is to be a bit lower than the Corvette's 15 mpg (15.6L/100km) city and 24 mpg (9.8L/100km) highway.
The Destino will be built at VL Automotive's headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and it will be delivered through still-in-development distribution network starting this summer. Pricing is expected to be around US$180,000, which is significantly more than the Karma's slightly over $100,000 base price.
Click here to check out our high-res image gallery live from the Detroit Auto Show above and the press release below.
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"Destino" Premiers at the 2013 North American International Auto Show
DETROIT, Mich., Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Destino made its world premier today at the North American International Auto show as the newest four-door performance car in the world market of exclusive automobiles. Based on an award-winning design by Henrik Fisker and powered by the internationally applauded Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 powertrain, Destino is the result of collaboration by industrialist Gilbert Villereal and former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz .
"The goal in designing and engineering this automobile is to provide true motoring enthusiasts with an exquisite work of automotive art that performs at a world-class level. Attention to detail is a paramount concern, as is reliability and ease of maintenance," according to Lutz. "We have made styling modifications to differentiate our design and reengineered the chassis to accommodate the 638bhp ZR1's handcrafted LS9 engine with either a manual or automatic transmission. The result is truly an American designed, engineered and manufactured four-door performance car that rivals such models as the Porsche Panamera and Aston-Martin-Lagonda Rapide.
"We are developing our distribution network now and will deliver Destino on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers will have the option of customizing the exterior color and interior trim," Lutz said.
Destino has an overall length of 202.8 inches and a 124.4 inch wheelbase. Overall height is 52.4 inches.
Destino will be manufactured in Auburn Hills, Michigan under the auspices of VL Productions. Destino is scheduled for retail sales in the second half of 2013 following certification and validation. Prototypes are currently in testing.
Additional information, specifications and photos are available at www.VL-Automotive.com.
SOURCE VL Productions