by Morgan Carter
While it remains reminiscent of the Fisker Karma of almost a decade ago, the Karma Revero GT has finally moved with the times and now stands as a solid contender against the Tesla Model S and Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid, where the old Revero fell woefully short of the mark. With a new combustion engine sourced from the BMW i8, the GT now develops a combined 536 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque. It's still not quite as quick as the Panamera Turbo or the Model S, but it comes a lot closer. The interior is just as sumptuous as ever, if not more so, and the new tech features help the Revero GT stay competitive in the high-tech electric hybrid market. The previous generation Revero may have been disappointing, but the new GT may be the Karma Revero we always deserved.
To say the Karma Revero GT is all-new would be slightly misleading. True, it is a brand-new model, but many of the elements of the previous Revero carry over mostly unchanged. It's still extremely nostalgic of the Fisker Karma on which the line is based. But its evolution has seen the hybrid sedan grow in aesthetic appeal and it gets more than just good looks. The GT now sources its engine from BMW instead of GM, and the turbocharged three-cylinder engine also comes paired with a larger battery and stronger twin motors, increasing horsepower significantly. The new Karma also gets additional standard safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
91.5-liter Turbo Gas
Single Speed Automatic
While 2020 may see the Karma Revero completely remade into the Revero GT, many of the beloved design elements have carried over to the new model. However, the engineers decided to accentuate the characteristics that make the Karma so darn beautiful. It's just as curvaceous as it's always been, but widening its hips have given it a more appealing stance. The sedan now rides on smaller 21-inch Cascade Silver alloy wheels, but it can still upgrade to 22-inch wheels in a variety of styles. Spearhead-shaped automatic LED headlights draw attention to the low grille, resting atop a broad front bumper. The roof still plays host to the Karma's vaunted solar panel. The rear fascia gets a decklid spoiler, and the brake calipers are offered in an array of colors.
Sexier curves give the new Revero GT a slightly longer and wider profile than the outgoing model, measuring 199.4 inches long and 85.1 inches wide. However, it retains the same 124.4-inch wheelbase. It's also exactly the same height as the old Revero, standing just 52.4 inches tall. The biggest change, though, is that the GT drops almost 400 pounds, weighing in at just 5,062 lbs. That's still pretty heavy, though, but it does help the sedan to be quite a bit quicker and more athletic than its predecessor.
For 2020, Karma Automotive has expanded the paint options for its electric hybrid sedan. The standard palette comprises Borrego Black, Balboa Blue, Pacifico Grey, and Silver Fog, all at no surcharge. The remaining choices all add $1,000 to the bill and include options like Anza Bronze, Moreno Brown, Surf White, Corona Red, Napa Red, Bodega Bay Blue, and Laguna Pearl.
While the Revero may sacrifice some of the excessive torque it once had, it now has far more balanced outputs of 536 hp and 550 lb-ft. This makes the sedan significantly quicker than the previous generation, shaving almost a full second off its 0-60 mph sprint time. In Sport mode, the powertrain can lug the 5,000-lb vehicle up to speed in just 4.5 seconds, although this can be cut down to 3.9 seconds in Launch Mode, according to the manufacturer. Stealth mode, using only electric power, sees this drop to 5.1 seconds, while the all-gasoline Sustain mode has the slowest sprint time of 5.5 seconds. The Revero has its top speed electronically limited to 125 mph, but both Sustain and Stealth mode get even more limitations, maxing out at just 95 mph.
As quick as the Revero GT is, it's the improved refinement of the car that impresses us most. Throttle inputs are much more natural, despite the decision to stick with the single-speed automatic transmission.
Under the hood, the Revero GT is a whole new car, and boy are we grateful for that. Karma Automotive has learned from its mistakes, and now, instead of sourcing the combustion engine from GM, the GT has taken its cue from the BMW i8. The 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine is far more capable and refined, contributing 228 hp to the equation. However, this power is never directed towards the wheels. Rather, it goes to the twin electric motors, which add their own inputs to develop a combined 536 hp and 550 lb-ft, which is then directed to the rear wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission.
This gives the sedan a whole lot more power than the previous generation, and it's immediately noticeable. The Karma is legitimately quick now, while moving even more silently than it already did. The motors carry all the burden up to 25 mph before drawing extra power from the generator, but you may not even notice when that happens. Getting around town is as quick as it is quiet, and even passing on the highway will result in little more than a purr.
The old Revero was already quite a fun sedan to drive, and the GT evolution has improved upon this to better match the highly capable Porsche Panamera. With loads more power on tap, the GT can finally keep up with the Panamera, even if it still weighs a bit more than the Italian athlete. But thanks to some creative engineering, the Karma now handles its weight even better, never losing its composure on the road. It can handle sharp turns far more easily and experiences very little body roll. The rear-axle torque vectoring delivers even better handling, and the well-weighted steering allows the driver to really enjoy the freedom granted by such impressive handling dynamics.
The Revero is still remarkably quiet, though, so you need to be mindful of exactly how much power you are drawing from the engine, or you'll certainly hear something else - namely, the sirens pulling you over. This eerie silence extends to road and wind noise, too. The well-insulated cabin is also supremely comfortable thanks to the plush seats and the capable suspension. There may still be more athletic electric sedans on the road, but few can best the Revero GT's style, poise, and luxury.
The Revero GT gets a slightly larger battery than the outgoing Revero. With 28 kWh of capacity, the battery can carry the sedan across 80 miles on electric power alone, according to the manufacturer. The EPA claims that the Karma can only go 61 miles, though. Similarly, using both the battery and the engine as a generator, the Revero GT can cover 330 miles according to the EPA, although the manufacturer claims up to 360 miles. According to the EPA, the combined fuel consumption is 26 mpg relying on the combustion engine, or 70 MPGe using the entire powertrain. The gasoline tank can store up to 10.3 gallons of premium fuel, while the battery can be charged in four hours using a Level 2 outlet. DC fast charging cuts this time down to 34 minutes, but maxes out at 90% charge.
Karma Automotive hasn't missed a step with the new GT. If anything, the sedan is even more decadent inside. Plush leather and genuine wood appoint every surface, and both the driver-information and infotainment interfaces are pristine, enormous screens. They may not be the most intuitive, but they are quick and responsive. There is still only space for four, though, since Karma has decided to stick with the long center console. A decent amount of head- and legroom means that all four seats can accommodate full-size adults, but the trunk certainly can't handle luggage for more than one. Heated and ventilated front seats come standard, while heated rear seats can be optioned.
There is space for up to four inside the cabin of the Revero GT, with each passenger getting to their own bucket seas. There is enough head- and legroom to accommodate most adults, but the sloping roof can be problematic for particularly tall individuals. It also makes it tricky for them to enter and exit the relatively low vehicle. The center console extends all the way from the dashboard to the trunk, so there is limited hip room, and you can't really spread your legs out too wide. But the seats are definitely comfortable, with ten-way heated and ventilated front seats coming standard. The rear seats can be heated, too, as an optional add-on. Forward visibility is quite good, but the sloping roofline and large rear pillars will make you grateful for the now-standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Only the finest materials are present throughout the cabin of the Revero, which isn't surprising when you're paying well over $100k. Buyers can choose between solid or perforated leather, but the only standard color choice is Palisades - which is just plain black. Crystal Cove is a $400 option, while Ventura, Pebble Beach, and Imperial Dune all add $800 to the bill. The most premium options are part of the Rebel range and include Lava, Reef, and Ceramic, each for $2,100. Regardless of the color scheme, the upholstery comes paired with genuine wood veneer around the center console, door panels, and the steering wheel.
For the new generation, the Karma Revero sacrifices half a cube of cargo space, leaving a mere 6.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Thus, the GT is even less practical than the Revero of old, where the high-performing Tesla Model S offers more than double the capacity. The Porsche Panamera, the Revero GT's closest rival in terms of power and looks, also has it handily beat. A day's shopping or a handful of carry-on bags could probably be squeezed into the Revero in a pinch.
There is a moderate amount of in-cabin storage, with a standard glove compartment and a pair of cupholders for each row of seats. The center console houses a cubby for the front-row seats, and all four doors get pockets, albeit narrow ones.
The latest iteration of the Karma Revero is more high-tech than ever. And the tech is all incorporated beautifully inside the modern cabin. A large driver-information display sits just ahead of the steering wheel and makes it even easier to engage with the new driver-assistance features, which now comprise lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking distance monitoring. Both a rearview camera and surround-view camera come standard, too. Comfort features include dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated ten-way power front seats, and available heated rear seats. Meanwhile, conveniences include keyless entry, push-button start, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and active cruise control.
The Revero already had a delightfully responsive infotainment suite, and the GT has stuck with what works. The touchscreen interface is enormous, and the high-powered processor makes responses almost immediate. It's not the most intuitive system, though, so it will take some getting used to. Standard functions include FM/HD Radio, Bluetooth functions, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and on-board Wi-Fi. The sound system has received an upgrade, though, with Sennheiser having designed a bespoke 3D surround sound set-up for optimal audio pleasure. Two USB ports are offered to charge your smart devices.
The Karma Revero has yet to receive a dependability rating from J.D. Power, but since the previous generation never did, we doubt the new GT will be any different. But, like the old Revero, the GT hasn't been subjected to any recalls yet. Karma Automotive offers a four-year/unlimited mile basic warranty, which also covers roadside assistance. There's an additional ten-year/unlimited mile battery warranty included as well.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has given the Revero GT a crash-test safety rating. While this may be because the model is so new to the market, the more likely reason is the price. With a similar price tag to the outgoing Revero, the new GT would simply cost too much to put through proper testing.
Like its predecessor, the GT gets all the basics, such as ABS, EBD, stability and traction control, and an impressive eight airbags: dual-stage front, front side, front knee, and side curtain. It also inherits the forward collision avoidance, lane departure warning, and parking distance monitor that can be found in the old Revero. All-new for 2020, though, is a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The upgrade from bi-xenon headlights to LEDs should also affect overall safety.
Where the first generation Karma Revero was merely a half-hearted revival of a near-cult classic, the Revero GT is what it should have been from the start. With a refined engine delivering power to the electric motors, the sedan finally has what it takes to keep up with its competition, and it retains the qualities that kept the first Revero in the running. These include a sumptuously appointed cabin, plenty of standard tech, and loads of style.
The GT has expanded the safety suite to better keep up with modern consumer expectations, and even the already impressive infotainment suite has received some upgrades. However, the sedan still has a depressingly small trunk. The Revero is basically the high-heels of the electric car segment. It looks extremely attractive, but it's wholly impractical.
At least the new GT is more fun. It handles even better than the old Revero, so fans of the athleticism of the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid finally have a viable alternative to choose from. The Karma Revero GT may not be the best electric hybrid on the market, but against stiff competition, it finally puts up a real fight, and we'd love to see more of these beauties on the road.
With its complete redesign for 2020, the Karma Revero GT doesn't just gain a bunch of features and a lot more style. It also gets a shiny new price tag. It's not significantly more expensive than the old Revero, and buyers looking at such premium luxury sedans probably won't even feel the difference. Without any of the optional color changes or wheel upgrades, the Revero GT will set you back a whopping $144,800. For better or worse, there aren't many ways to customize the Karma apart from aesthetics, so you won't see this price fluctuate too wildly. However, this MSRP doesn't include tax, registration, licensing, or Karma Automotive's $1,800 handling fee. As a hybrid vehicle, the Revero may qualify for tax rebates in some states.
There is only a single model bearing the Revero GT badge. Under the hood is a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine paired with twin electric motors to develop 536 hp and 550 lb-ft. Power is still regulated by a single-speed automatic transmission, and only a rear-wheel drivetrain is offered.
The sedan rides on 21-inch alloy wheels and is equipped with automatic bi-LED headlights, daytime running lights, and LED taillights. The cabin is appointed with leather, either solid or perforated, and genuine wood trims several surfaces. Dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, push-button ignition, and active cruise control all come standard. The ten-way power front seats get heating and ventilation, along with memory settings. The infotainment suite consists of a large touchscreen programmed with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, FM/HD Radio, and Wi-Fi. It gets an equally large driver-information display, a rearview camera, a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision avoidance, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and a parking distance monitor.
There aren't any official packages for the Revero GT, at least insofar as the configurator goes. You can trade out the standard wheels for different 21-inch variants, or larger 22-inch wheels. The brake calipers can also be had in a variety of colors. And, while there are a variety of standard color options, both interior and exterior, buyers can use the Karma in-house Design Team to personalize their Revero GT in just about any way they like.
There really isn't much in the way of choice when it comes to the Karma Revero GT. Luckily, though, the sedan comes extremely well-appointed in its so-called base form. In terms of customization, a bold color like Napa Red will certainly turn heads, but the standard Borrego Black really makes the Burnt Orange brake calipers pop. Larger 22-inch wheels also give the Revero a bolder stance, but you don't need the $12,000 Carbon Shadow wheels. The Dune Twist Midnight wheels are just as attractive with the right paint, and they cost just $3,500.
As it was in the past, so it shall be in the future. The Tesla Model S is still a firm competitor for the Karma Revero, even after the engineers slapped on the GT badge. With approximately 534 hp and 557 lb-ft on tap, the Tesla remains the quicker of the two electric sedans, able to launch itself up to 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds. The S Performance variant of the Tesla can make the sprint even quicker, in just 2.3 seconds. Ultra-modern tech and an impressive maximum range of 391 miles keep the Tesla Model S at the head of the electric market. It's not quite as luxurious inside, though, although it can stow twice as much cargo with ease. It remains the more affordable vehicle, too, with a starting MSRP well below $100k. While the Revero GT is certainly a huge leap forward for Karma, it probably won't be enough to close the gap between these two vehicles.
The engineers at Karma Automotive had the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid firmly in mind when they redesigned the Revero GT. Thanks to its upgraded powertrain, the GT is now a much closer rival to the Porsche in terms of quickness, only 0.1 seconds shy of the Porsche's 4.4 second 0-60 mph sprint time (although Launch Mode sees the GT manage this much quicker), despite the Porsche developing significantly lower outputs of 330 hp and 327 lb-ft. The upgrades to the interior and tech also make the Revero a more capable rival, even if it has an even smaller trunk than before. The two sedans are almost neck-and-neck, now, so it will likely come down to taste. And, in that regard, the ultra-stylish Revero might be the winner. However, Porsche foresaw this change in the power dynamic and released the highly capable Taycan to put the Karma Revero GT back in its place.