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We Hear: Fisker Karma-Based VL Destino Deliveries Begin Mid-2014

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/21/2013 Alex Nishimoto

Fisker may be gone, but Automotive News reports Bob Lutz and VL Automotive are moving ahead with the Corvette-powered Karma, the VL Destino. The company has reportedly acquired 25 unsold Karmas, and plans to begin deliveries of the Destino by mid-2014.

VL originally announced at the Detroit auto show that the Destino would go on sale later this year, but a delay pushed that timing back. That delay involved a dispute with an Asian investor that prevented VL from accessing the Karma's infotainment system codes, which Lutz said was crucial in producing a working car. Now that the dispute has been resolved, the former GM exec and his partners can go ahead with plans to swap out the Karmas' range-extended powerplant for a gasoline-fed V-8. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

According to Automotive News, the ZR1's 638-hp supercharged 6.2-liter LS9 V-8 is back on the table. We last heard that engine would be replaced by the 556-hp LSA from the Cadillac CTS-V and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, as the company wanted an automatic transmission offering for the Destino. AN also reports a 450-hp direct-injected V-8 will serve as the base engine, suggesting VL will use a version of the 2014 Corvette Stingray's 455-hp, 460-lb-ft 6.2-liter LT1.

Lutz said it will be a challenge for engineers to give the car the refined driving experience expected of a $200,000 luxury performance sedan, but the company is on track for a mid-2014 delivery. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

"It's going to take time," Lutz told Automotive News, "I don't want a rough car that's hard to drive with a bad transmission and high noise levels. At close to $200,000, these things are going to have to be silky and buttery to driver. The sound and feel have to be just right."

Lutz is also confident that VL can secure more Fisker Karma rolling chassis and body panels, so production of the Destino can continue beyond the initial 25 cars. Lutz would not comment on whether the company intends to bid on Fisker's remaining assets. If you already own a Fisker and are tired of living green, VL can convert a Karma in good condition to Destino specifications for around $100,000. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

VL plans to again exhibit the Destino at the 2014 Detroit auto show along with one other body style. Here's hoping VL somehow managed to get its hands on the stillborn Fisker Surf shooting brake concept.

a pile of luggage sitting on top of a car

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

VL Destino front three quarter© Provided by MotorTrend VL Destino front three quarter

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