The Fisker Karma was reborn a couple of years ago as the Karma Revero. It’s pretty much the exact same car as it was when it was a Fisker, but it’s a new brand that’s under new ownership selling this lovely plug-in hybrid luxury sedan, which is now built here in the U.S.
But there’s a fact about the Karma Revero that I didn’t know until very recently. I always knew that the Karma was a PHEV, but I never gave any thought to what gas engine it uses as its "range extender." Of course, I assumed it was outsourced, since I was pretty sure Karma doesn’t build its own engines. The answer surprised me, and it may surprise you: it’s the General Motors Ecotec LNF engine, the same turbocharged inline four that powered the Chevy Cobalt SS.
Now, the Chevy Cobalt SS was a fine little performance car in its day, but isn’t that an odd candidate to source an engine for a high-end luxury sport sedan? The Revero has a starting MSRP of $130,000, which, until now, I thought sounded about right for its high level of luxury. However, now I’m not so sure about the value of the Revero, considering it uses the same engine as a Saturn from a decade ago, as this engine also saw duty in the Saturn Sky Red Line.
You might think it’s some revised, higher-performance version of the GM engine, kind of like how Lotus retools Toyota engines, but nope. It has the exact same specs — 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque — as the GM cars it was in back in the day. Granted, the added electric powertrain boosts those stats to numbers more befitting of an expensive luxury hybrid — but it still would be nice to see the gas engine improved upon in some way. This engine in the Karma made a little more sense back when it was the Fisker Karma in 2012 — but 2012 was already seven years ago, and now the engine just seems outdated.
Karma knows this, and it has a new model on the way: the Revero GT. The Revero GT does away with the old GM engine and replaces it with the same turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gas engine that acts as a range extender for the BMW i8. This is an engine that makes performance numbers surprisingly similar to that of the aforementioned GM engine. The Revero GT claims a total 536 hp compared to the non-GT’s 403 hp, and the GT model also has an all-electric range of 80 miles versus the regular Revero’s range of 50 miles. The GT has a 0-to-60 time that’s almost a full second faster, and the two cars have an identical top speed of 125 mph.
All of this to say: If you’re in the market for a green luxury sport sedan with a 6-figure price tag, the Revero GT is only $5,000 more than the regular Revero and on paper, it appears to be well worth the slight price bump. It’s cheaper than a BMW i8, and it has a back seat! Normally, I’m not enough of a snob to be too good for a Chevy Cobalt engine, but if I were spending more than $100 grand on a car, I think I would be. Find a Karma Revero for sale
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