FISKER KARMA…ECO-COOL!

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

I don’t know too much about hybrid cars.  I personally like the sound of a great exhaust system spewing sweet-smelling fumes from a high performance gas guzzling power plant.  One thing I do know about hybrids is that they all tend to look a little weird.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Take the Prius for example.  I know it’s trendy in LA to drive a Prius as to show the fellow Angeleno’s you’re doing your part to save the world, but does it really have to look like that?  Even the all-electric Tesla (see previous post) manages to look just a little off from your typical sports car.  The list goes on but it seems someone finally took note and is trying to change things.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The company Fisker has come a long way from the days of being an aftermarket coach builder; rebodying BMW’s and MB’s to name few.  Founders Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler have decided to change the way hybrid/electric cars are perceived and to prove to the world that you can have a fuel-efficient car without looking like a member of the chess club.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is a beautifully designed sedan and one of the few cars that has managed to stay true to its concept form.  A solar roof is tastefully incorporated into the body adding a futuristic element to an already forward design.  Other elements such as 22” wheels and Fisker’s signature sleek front grille adorn the wonderfully sculpted bodywork of the Karma.

The Karma’s powertrain uses the internal combustion engine in series with a generator and the Lithium-ion battery to power the electric motors that power the rear wheels giving up to 50 mi of electric driving.  After that, the internal combustion engine engages to generate energy for the electric motors providing up to an additional 250 mi of range; equating to about 52 mpg.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Karma has (2) 201 bhp motors that can produce a 0-60 time in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph (Sport Mode).  Materials such as Water-Based Paints, Reclaimed Woods and EcoSuede are just a few of the ingredients that go into making this eco-friendly, state-of-the-art sports sedan.

While I can literally write a book about the Karma’s technical attributes I really like this car for the way it looks.  The performance specs aren’t the greatest, especially when you compare them to other sports sedans in the same price range  ($104K – $120K) but sometimes specs aren’t’ everything.  The person that drives this car is much like the car itself; a sleek and sophisticated forward thinking individual that believes looking cool is just as important as saving the world.  I like to call it “Eco-Cool”.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

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LA AUTO SHOW 2011…A MATTER OF SURVIVAL!

It was my own fault for waiting until the busiest day to go to the 2011 LA Auto Show.  I kept trying to make it sooner if only my schedule had allowed.  When I woke up on this rainy Sunday morning I had no excuse, this was the perfect weather to be indoors gawking at cars.  I had made my decision, today was the day! Umbrella, check! Camera, check! Cash, coffee, check check!

2011 LA Auto Show

2011 LA Auto Show

Upon arriving at the LA Convention Center I could already tell by the herds of people scrambling to run inside that chaos was about to ensue.  Buying my $12 ticket at the automated machine was the easy part, getting past the gates was a different story.  It felt like a scene from “Saving Private Ryan”; everything was in slow motion as fear and terror lie in their tear-soaked eyes.  Once I made it through the carnage of crying babies, lost children, confused parents and the occasional hit in the ankles by those rental strollers, things started to clear up like a fading storm.  I managed to block out most of the noise and after entering, I saw a sign in the distance that read “Tuners and Aftermarket”; yes, my specialty!  Many of the cars were repeats from this past SEMA show however I did see some interesting customs like a gorgeous Bugatti Veyron, a matte red Ferrari F430, and a pretty cool Lotus Evora to name a few.

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron

Back upstairs to the main hall, better dodge that stroller headed directly for me, close call!  While all the major car companies had representation at the show only a few actually impressed me with some innovative and creative models.

Cadillac Ceil Concept

Cadillac Ceil Concept

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac was among the few that really made a splash with their lineup of cutting edge design and the debut of their new electric ELR model.  There was a lot of excitement at Cadillac’s  booth as they had on display the Ceil Concept among all the other current models including the record breaking CTS-V’s.

BMW displayed their much advertised iSeries electric car, which is slated for production in 2015, and their much awaited new M5 model.

BMW iSeries

BMW iSeries

Hyundai has made great strides in breaking free of the “inexpensive” label and into more of a “luxury” or “high-end” label.  They’re doing a great job with their new line up; the Equus, Genesis, Sonata Hybrid, Elantra to name a few.

Mini’s booth was bustling with people as they reveled at all the options and aftermarket parts that bestow the new cars.  Many people waited in lines to try on the new Countryman Model for size.  The new Mini Cooper Coupe S looked great and received a lot of attention as well.

Fiat’s Abarth model, a “high performance” version of their popular 500 model, seemed to be well received judging from the lines of people waiting to sit inside.

Fiat Abarth

Fiat Abarth

Audi finally showed off their much anticipated S6 and S7 models due to be out this March.  Audi also had on display the e-tron Spyder concept and A3 model; their new electric car technology.

Audi e tron Spyder

Audi e tron Spyder

KIA GT Concept

KIA GT Concept

KIA’s booth was riffled with excitement as they had a very impressive concept car they called the “KIA GT”.  I was barely able to snap off a few pics due to the crowds of people attempting to do the same.

It was very exciting to see many of the car companies’ step up to the plate with their innovative designs and technology.  It feels like we are entering a new era in the automotive world.   The combination of a lagging economy coupled with the high demand for new technology is forcing car companies to push the envelope in all areas.  Much like my experience attending the Auto Show, it’s a matter of survival for these car companies, and staying on the cutting edge is a matter of life or death.  The 2011 LA Auto Show left me wounded, frightened, exhausted and excited to see what next year will bring!

BLOWN AWAY BY AYRTON SENNA DOCUMENTARY TITLED ” SENNA”

This past Sunday I had the distinct pleasure of viewing one of the best documentary’s I have seen in a while.  The film was simply titled “Senna” which documented the life of Formula 1racing phenom Ayrton Senna.  I don’t think there is anyone in the car world that hasn’t heard the name Senna, but for those who haven’t, it really didn’t matter.  I actually brought my wife, who doesn’t know much about racing, and she walked out of theater in tears adoring Ayrton like the rest of us.  Don’t get me wrong, it certainly didn’t hurt to watch footage from the onboard camera as Ayrton flies through the streets of Monaco on the big screen either.

Although there was some amazing footage of Formula 1 racing and excellent documentation of the Senna/Prost wars, the film was so much more inspiring than that.  Ayrton was such a sincerely loving individual in which the film did an amazing job of showing.  I really felt as if I knew Ayrton as a friend after leaving the theater.  To many, Ayrton was a modern day hero, an underdog that everyone rooted for, because he fought every day for God and his country against impenetrable odds.  He did so because he couldn’t stop as he was quoted saying in the film.  He was a true and whole person  and an amazing competitor in every sense of the word.  He is very much missed.

The Director of the film, Asif Kapadia, was brilliant enough to get what the goal of the film was about and worked diligently with Ayrton’s family and film team to produce this wonderful tribute of a great man.  Asif was kind enough to hang around after the film for some Q & A which I was able to record and put at end of this post.  I was also fortunate to snag a picture with Asif.  If you haven’t done so already, please show your support, go out and see Senna or buy the DVD you will be very happy you did.

Watch Asif talk about making the film after the debut: