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Although Fisker began deliveries of its electric Karma sports sedan just a few months ago, the automaker already developed a radical new model, revealed at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Dubbed the Surf, the new Fisker features a "shooting brake" body style, reminiscent of older Aston Martin models - and the new Ferrari FF.

The Surf's front end is practically identical to its Karma sedan stablemate, but the two cars' design rapidly diverges behind the rear doors. While the sedan's lines taper off to create a traditional trunk, the Surf instead features a rear hatchback and small, triangular rear windows directly behind its C-pillars. That gives the Surf the appearance of a station wagon, though Fisker prefers the term "shooting brake," which originated on 19th century carriages featuring a rear compartment that allowed seated sportsmen to hunt. The Surf also features new 22-inch wheels, a black grille insert and aluminum roof rails running the length of its elongated roof.

Under the hood, the Surf features the same 403 horsepower hybrid drivetrain as the Karma. This pairs a 22 kWh lithium ion battery and a 255-horsepower turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine borrowed from GM. This means that like the Karma, the Surf can travel up to 50 miles on purely electric power, or around 300 miles between gasoline fill-ups.

Inside the Surf also heavily resembles the Karma sedan, though rear seat room is increased considerably due to its higher roofline. Thanks to the Surf's hatchback layout, cargo volume jumps from the Karma's miniscule 7.1 cubic feet to a more reasonable 29 cubic feet - and according to Fisker, a set of luggage designed to take advantage of every last inch of that figure is in development.

While Fisker has not announced pricing for its Surf shooting brake, we expect it will command a slight premium over the Karma sedan, which starts around $96,000. That will make it far less expensive than Ferrari's upcoming $280,000-plus FF, though it remains to be seen whether the draw of electric power will convince buyers to ditch performance archetype Ferrari for up-and-comer Fisker.

 

See more coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

 

JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.
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