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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PAGANI HUAYRA…ARTWORK IN MOTION

I hadn’t really taken much notice to Pagani in the past.  It’s a smaller boutique Italian car manufacturer from Modena producing the Zonda in small quantities.  Maybe that would explain why I have never actually seen a Pagani on the road before.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

With the retirement of the Zonda being announced last year, a number of questions started forming in my head. Why did I wait so long to learn about Pagani?  What could Pagani possibly do to replace a car that set a new record for production based cars which completed the Nürburgring in 6:47 (July 2010) beating the fierce Ferrari 599XX?  Lastly, why did Tiger Woods cheat on his wife?  Hmmm, much to ponder.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra w/ Rear Flaps Activated

Well, they call it Huayra; no I didn’t just sneeze.  It’s pronounced (wai-rah) and it’s named after Huayra Tata, the South American God of Wind.  Set to cause quite a storm in Spring 2012, the Huayra is rightfully named due much in part to its active aerodynamics incorporated into the beautifully sculpted bodywork of the car.  For starters the Huayra is capable of changing its height and independently operates four flaps, two in front and two in the rear.  Each flap moves separate of the other and is managed by a dedicated control unit, much like you would see on a fighter jet upon take-off.  These flaps play many important roles, sometimes producing maximum down force or preventing excess body roll and at other times simply slowing down the car by way of air-brakes; very similar to a fighter jet landing on a destroyer.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra W/ Front Flaps Resting

Underneath all that beauty and technology lies a Mercedes Benz Bi-Turbo V12 (5980cc) borrowed from the SL65 AMG Black Series.  By Pagani’s request, the turbo lag has been substantially reduced, achieved by smaller turbos and ECU reprogramming all of which equates to producing 700bhp. It rockets from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 230mph. The Huayra utilizes a 7-speed sequential gearbox which is beautifully controlled in the cockpit via its brushed aluminum shifter and shift gate.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra-AMG V12 Bi Turbo

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

The interior of the Huayra has to be one of the most beautifully adorned interiors I have ever seen in a car.  The use of brushed and polished metals, carbon-fiber combined with rustic leather and hi-tech electronics really gets my heart racing.  I often dream of living in this car simply because of its sheer beauty.

Every detail of the interior is carefully designed and tastefully executed.  Even the key is a chrome model of the Huayra, which is centrally placed in the middle of the dash board, as if to be on display like a piece of art work.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

The Huayra is more than simply a fast expensive car from Italy.  It’s a moving gallery displaying a study of contemporary design, encompassing the latest materials, composites, engineering, and electronics of our time.  Unfortunately, admission into this gallery will cost you around $1.2M and there only 40 of them a year.  Oh did I mention it has Gullwing doors?

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

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SEMA SHOW 2011…AUTOMOTIVE DEBAUCHERY!

It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to the SEMA show in Las Vegas.  I was one of those diehards that would attend every year and take part in this amazing spectacle of unnecessary add-ons to cars, trucks and pretty much anything with wheels.

Ferrari 458 Italai w/ Custom Carbon-Fiber Skin

Ferrari 458 Italia w/ Custom Carbon-Fiber Skin

Year after year companies and individuals would try to one-up each other and debut their fabulous creations at this show.  It’s the only place on earth I can accurately describe as automotive debauchery.

Nissan 350Z w/ an Extreme Body Kit

Nissan 350Z w/ an Extreme Body Kit

As you walk through the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center you’re overwhelmed by the thousands of blinking lights and sounds coming from the booths and individuals displaying this years hottest new aftermarket products.

Custom Widebody Camaro w/ Hide-Away Front Grille

Custom Widebody Camaro w/ Hide-Away Front Grille

As you near the doors to exit on either side of the buildings, you’re greeted by the sounds of screeching tires from the drifting performances put on by the Ford Cobras or the Corvette ZR1’s.  Eager fans waited in long lines to take a 2 minute “death ride” with a professional driver as they drifted through a course at high speeds in either a Ford Cobra, GT500 or Corvette ZR1.  They obviously kept these two courses far away from each other as to not cause any fights between the diehard Ford and Chevy enthusiast.

Super Performance Cobra Launching Into the Drift Course

Super Performance Cobra Launching Into the Drift Course

There was a massive turn out of customized cars displayed outside of the buildings which I felt had the some of the best looking and most creative cars at the show.  There were also the usual suspects in attendance such as Chip Foose (Foose Design), West Coast Customs, Platinum Motors, Giovanni Wheels, and Ford to just name a few.

Fisker Kama

Fisker Karma

It was nice to attend the SEMA show and get back to my roots once again. Over the past couple years the aftermarket industry has taken some big hits due to the economy however it seems as though it’s making a good comeback.

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