Our first encounter with the Fisker Karma takes place at Etehad in Halstenbek. On the way, some thoughts go through my head. Fisker Automotive is a young company, the Karma is the first product sold under its own brand. An electric car with range extender on top of that. So the expectations are not too high for a newcomer. Or?
In Halstenbek we meet Masoud Etehad, owner of the car dealership of the same name and one of 7 Fisker dealers in Germany. We know each other from last year's Saab Dealer Tour and from our joint appearance at Vox. On our request for a Fisker day in Hamburg, there was a positive response. Masoud Etehad is a Hamburg businessman through and through. What he does he does with passion and consistency. The Fisker representation was planned for a long time and since a good 10 weeks the vehicles are available.
There is karma in the showroom and the first impression is “wow”. Broad, flat, sinewy. The sideline is reminiscent of a big cat on the go, the rear reveals Henrik Fisker's work for Aston Martin. The karma could also be a sports car from a noble English manufacturer. In the “Silver Wind” paint scheme, the Fisker sparkles like a diamond, which is a deliberate effect. Because there are small, ground glass particles in the paint - made from recycled glass. Fisker lives the environmental idea and - okay, okay - we are here in front of a car with impressive 22 ″ rims and 408 hp system performance, which is also supposed to be the most environmentally friendly car on the market.
The skepticism that this could all be just marketing disappears by the minute. Fisker has been thinking and the green basic idea is consistently pursued. No tree has to be felled for the wood applications in karma. The interior wood is “residual wood”, such as “Rescued Wood” from the 2007 firestorms in California or “18th century Sunken Wood” from the bottom of Lake Michigan. The leather comes from the world's first energy-self-sufficient manufactory, while processing ensures a minimal degree of waste. For those who like it, karma is also available with an interior that is free of animal products. The “Ecostandart” equipment level then supplies carpets made from recycled PET and soy-based seat foam and so on. Luxury with responsibility for more than 100.000 euros.
The Fisker story reminds me of the good old Saab years, 20 years ago. Saab then used wood from plantation cultivation, which was considered extremely environmentally friendly, while other manufacturers unabashedly processed tropical woods.
The karma is built at Valmet in Finland, formerly Saab-Valmet, and therefore a parallel. As if that wasn't enough, I open the door, take a seat behind the steering wheel and feel comfortable straight away. The seat like in a Saab, the puristic controls logically arranged. And when we are talking about Saab and Fisker, who lives under the hood of the Fisker - well we know each other - as a range extender the 2 liter turbo direct injection engine from the Saab 9-5 II.
Inside you can see what happens when a designer makes his own mark. No controller that slows down the fun on the car. Noble and authentic materials, perfectly processed, wherever you look. If Fisker manages to establish itself as a new company on the market, the boards of directors in Ingolstadt and Stuttgart will get a headache on this interior.
Because the Fisker not only pretends to be noble, it is easy. For optical reasons, there are glass inlays in the door pads, as well as in the center console. Real glass, no "I'm pretending". If you give an operating command via the center console, an optical flash scurries through the glass towards the dashboard. A lovely detail. The window regulators are made of milled aluminum. Everything I touch is real and everything is arranged very tastefully. My underlying fear that the Fisker might be a little too American-style fades away in a matter of seconds.
The operation is intuitive, and if you have an iPhone or an iPad, you don't need a manual in the Fisker. Both Apple products are easy to integrate and every operating step is immediately apparent. Which brings us back to car manufacturers who want to sell us their operating concepts as “simple” using some silly rotary switch in the center console. It was like that 30 years ago. An operating concept is only good if I don't need a manual. The Fisker's touchscreen shows how easy it is, and Munich and Ingolstadt look very old.
The Karma wants to be a sports car, not a limousine. You sit well on all 4 seats, of course better in front and more opulent than in the back. The car designed in California and built in Finland should accelerate from 6.6 to 0 in 100 seconds. With a consumption of 2.2 liters per 100 kilometers. Now we want to drive the karma and we have a problem ... the demonstration vehicle has been sold and the new delivery is rolling onto the courtyard.
We get a new demonstration karma, directly from the truck. Isn't that a bit brave, I think to myself. Cars for the media are usually meticulously prepared and we get a brand new Fisker, just like that! If that goes well ... How the Fisker Karma drives, Tom and Mark's first trip in an electric sports car, you can read that tomorrow.