At the Monterey Car Week this month, Karma Automotive will bringing their new GT to the California event. The car was penned by the designers at Pininfarina and sets a new tone to the future-facing Chinese-owned automaker and their first departure from its vehicular roots under Henrik Fisker.
Their current and only production model, the Revero, is for the most part an updated version of the Fisker Karma that was introduced in 2011 and has been enjoying steady if not stellar sales numbers in carbon-conscious California niche, where they are also headquartered.
The GT emerged as a two-door concept car but it’s been made apparent that Karma intends to change very little from that prototype first shown at the 2019 Shanghai Motor Show. Despite its new aesthetics, though, the car still rides on a platform shared with its older four-door brother.
In its defence, the GT’s range-extender hybrid powertrain features some rather significant alterations that proved to be either too prohibitive or too costly to implement in the Revero prior to this. Karma needed clean slate, ideally, but this is the next best thing.
Chief among the changes is the internal combustion engine, which in their current model continues to be an Ecotec turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder sourced General Motors. Now, as a result from a fresh partnership, BMW will be supplying the motors as well as much of the electronics and battery components.
The 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine is presumably the same B38 which was first slotted into i8 sports car but now powers a multitude of variants within the BMW family including 1 Series, X1, X2, and MINI, giving the GT a leg up in overall output, lightness, and fuel efficiency.
In combination with its electric motor, Karma is projecting a combined power figure around the 400kW mark, enough thrust to launch the GT to 100km/h in less than 4 seconds. Even better, the denser 28kWh lithium ion battery array allows the car to travel distances upwards of 100km without invoking the combustion engine.
Driven sufficiently frugally, the efficiently managed hybrid powertrain can theoretically deliver a range over 800km before needed to be refuelled. That’s an incredible breadth of ability when taking into account its projected performance and overall versatility.
It might only have two doors but the commodiousness of the GT’s rear seats do not seem any more compromised than the four-door Revero. Accessing the space for a 3rd or 4th passenger, though, is another matter.
Because it still houses a petrol engine up front, so a ‘frunk’ is out of the question, naturally, but the rear boot should be quite large indeed. Like the Revero, a large tunnel runs along the cabin’s centre, leaving any 5th occupant straight out of luck.
Whether the GT’s appearance in Monterey next weekend is a sign that the car will be an all-new model or one that is merely highlighting the innovations coming to the next-generation Revero is unclear, though we have to wonder how much longer the the company can lean on its sole model, and an ageing one at that.