V8-powered Destino looks to rise from Fisker’s ashes

DestinoWith Fisker Automotive crossing the event horizon, there will be plenty of speculation about what was wrong with the company and its car, the plug-in hybrid Karma. One company isn’t just playing Monday Morning Quarterback.

Recently, VL Productions announced plans to build the Destino, a Karma with a V8 engine replacing the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and electric motors. Despite Fisker’s seemingly imminent demise, VL says it will start converting existing Karmas.

Bob Lutz, former General Motors product czar and current VL partner, told WardsAuto that the company obtained 20 Karma rolling chassis or “gliders” before production shut down.

The Destino will use the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 from the Cadillac CTS-V, which produces 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. It’s basically a detuned version of the LS9 V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which Lutz and partner Gilbert Villarreal had originally envisioned for this fast four-door.

Lutz told Wards that the switch was due to anticipated customer demand for an automatic transmission. VL couldn’t find an automatic that was compatible with the LS9, but GM was able to supply a six-speed auto for the CTS-V engine.

Lutz estimates that VL will be able to convert Karmas into Destinos for $85,000 to $90,000. That puts the total price for a Destino at around $185,000 to $190,000.

Despite the cost, and the insecurity that comes with a newly-orphaned car without its original factory warranty, Lutz says VL has received hundreds of inquiries, and would consider buying Karmas from dealers looking to liquidate their stock to meet demand.

VL would even consider building Karma chassis itself, although Lutz believes that would be a “logistics hassle.”

“If Fisker disappears, it won’t affect us,” Lutz told Wards.

DestinoIt also means car buyers will still be able to get Karmas, sort of. The Destino will be the exact opposite of the green plug-in Karma, although it will retain the latter’s gorgeous styling.

If VL is successful, it might make for an interesting commentary on what car buyers really think of luxury plug-in hybrids. It will show analysts that people like the car, but not the powertrain.

Could a V8 improve the Fisker Karma? Tell us in the comments.


Fisker failed. But now the EV pioneer is ready for an epic redo

Henrik Fisker has already had a career most executives can only dream about. He designed the BMZ Z8, a couple of Aston Martins, and his own Fisker Karma. But he’s got a plan to disrupt the auto industry, forged by lessons learned over the…

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.