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2013 Fisker Atlantic Debut

The new guy gives a serious challenge to the luxury car establishment.


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What's New

Think of the Fisker Atlantic (formerly known as the Nina) as a baby to its big brother Karma. The second hybrid vehicle from Fisker looks like the Karma, drives like the Karma, is stuffed of the same sybaritic luxury as the Karma, but it’s smaller and less expensive than the Karma. Would it be mean to call it “entry-level?”

The Atlantic exhibits much of the same design aesthetic as the Karma—exaggerated wheel arches; a sleek, rounded greenhouse; that goofy split grille up front that looks like a cartoon villain’s mustache. On top, it gets a “spider” structure that allows for a full glass roof, structural stability, and increased headroom. If the Atlantic is accused as derivative, at least its originator isn’t exactly bad-looking.

Underneath the skin, Fisker aims for more performance and range: the Atlantic uses a similar drivetrain to the Karma, but promises a minimum of 30-40 miles of electric-only motoring, and a BMW-supplied four-cylinder engine to eliminate any chance of range anxiety. The Atlantic is overall more purposeful, more sporting in its intents, and certainly just as environmentally conscious as its high-class stablemate.

Who It's For

Fisker wants young families to think of the Atlantic as a practical family car for their kids, with an added green bent. In that case, it would go against traditional luxury players—the BMW 5-Series and Audi A5 come to mind, and possibly the Porsche Panamera S, albeit not in size. Fisker also touts the Atlantic’s sportier dynamics and compact feel, so its buyers will supposedly want some sport to go with their environmental responsibility.

Key Features

The Fisker Atlantic shares its drivetrain with the Karma: namely, both are plug-in electric hybrid vehicles that can switch to gasoline for extended driving range. Like the Karma, owners of the Atlantic can expect:
  • A four-cylinder gasoline engine that acts as a generator, only this time sourced from BMW instead of GM.
  • Two electric motors, one per rear drive wheel
  • Available AWD as a future option
  • Curvy, aggressive exterior design, with “eagle eye” headlights
  • A full glass roof with “spider” structure
  • A luxurious interior with sustainably sourced materials

What We Think

Like any electric car company, Fisker has a lot of teething problems on its hands. The Karma has been famously (and perhaps unfairly) plagued with reliability issues, which fails to confirm whether a boutique, luxury electric vehicle can succeed in the first place. In that case, a smaller (but still just as good-looking) version should be successful on that merit alone—on paper, at least. Whether Fisker can attract a less well-heeled demographic with a reliable Atlantic remains to be seen. Good luck, boys.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: New York 2012

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