Fisker Karma Named 2011 Top Gear Magazine Luxury Car of the Year
Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Automotive Team are definitely taking home quite the list of awards this year–and their pile might just be complete with the latest accolade. The UK’s immensely popular Top Gear TV show host James May has just named the Fisker Karma his “Car of the Year” and Top Gear Magazine named the extended range vehicle “Luxury Car of the Year”–an award that has previously been graced upon high-end vehicles as the Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe, the Jaguar XJ and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe.
One of the biggest fans of the Fisker Karma is one of the brightest stars in Hollywood himself, Leonardo DiCaprio. So fitting is the Karma with DiCaprio’s lifestyle and beliefs, it would be tempting to say that he was the inspiration for the Karma. It would also be the truth. Henrik Fisher says that seeing Leo get out of a Prius at the Oscars in 2007 gave him the idea for starting Fisker Automotive. “He [DiCaprio] could have bought any car in the world,” he says. “And I remember seeing that on television and thinking to myself, you know, when you’ve got a guy who could buy any Ferrari or Rolls-Royce and he’s buying a Prius, you know something is changing dramatically.”
Since Leo ordered his Karma, there have been a number of updates and tests made on the vehicle. Top of this list the exhaust system. One of only two blemishes on the concept Karma’s record was the fact that the generator would butt in at the most inappropriate moments, like a loudmouth drunk at a cocktail party. One moment, you’re sitting in the cabin mesmerized but the quiet hum and the Karma’s sophistication, then, mid-bend, the shocking sound of flatulent elephants fill the cabin, shocking you out from the spell. But that’s all fixed now, thanks to a new resonator in the exhaust, known in-house by the very technical term, The Pizza Box, and some remapped software that controls when the 20W battery pack is charged. All that is audible now are a few soft clicks and whirrs as the drivetrain goes about its business, just as it should be.
The other key change is to the steering weight, which was perfect once the car got going but rather too heavy at parking speed. Some reprogramming of the steering pump has completely solved this, so now the Karma is as easy to park as it is to fling through a corner. Both these updates have been made to Leo’s silver car. DiCaprio is an environmentalist and a strong supporter of animal rights. One of his latest Tweets restated his support for the end of the ivory trade. This explains his choice of the Eco-Chic interior in his Fisker. It’s the top-of-the-line that features no leather, just textiles and reclaimed wood. All the while, managing to look, feel, and smell premium without any cow peel in it at all.
In response to the awards, Henrik Fisker said, “It is fantastic news that the Karma has won two awards from Top Gear. We realize that we are at the beginning of our journey and awards like this remind us we are on the right road–building enticing green cars that people actually want to own.” Fisker added that he was especially excited that this was a European award for an American-made car, “it’s a triumph that American engineers have designed and engineered this ground breaking car at our global headquarters in Anaheim, CA and that there is now a new American car option that is bold, beautiful, smart and environmentally responsible.”