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New York show: Fisker unveils Atlantic sedan

Good Karma: A second iteration of Fisker’s family face – as first seen on the Karma sedan – adorns the new Atlantic sports sedan.

Audi A5 in Fisker’s sights as Atlantic sports sedan takes to the stage in New York

9 Apr 2012

START-UP car brand Fisker used last week’s New York auto show to unveil a design prototype of its Audi A5-rivalling Atlantic luxury plug-in hybrid sports sedan.

Co-founder, executive chairman and design director Henrik Fisker said development of the Atlantic – originally codenamed Project Nina – is 90 per cent complete.

Following reports and rumours about the Californian firm’s financial position, Mr Fisker also said the company’s funding is sufficient to put the new model into production.

Powered by the second generation of Fisker’s range-extender hybrid drivetrain, the Atlantic also features innovations such as ice-like daytime running lights and a “spider” glass roof that provides both improved roll-over protection and increased headroom.

The Atlantic is similar in size to the Audi A5 and BMW 3 Series coupe.

Mr Fisker said that, while it was too early to talk about pricing, “we are going into a segment somewhere around the Audi A5 (and) upper end of the BMW 3 Series”, which suggests an opening price around half that of the circa-$US100,000 ($A97,180) Karma.

Fisker is aiming the Atlantic at young families “who want to drive an impactful, high-end vehicle while making a positive statement about responsibilities” and is “engineered inside and out to offer a dynamic yet compact feel on the road”.

118 center imageThe drivetrain remains a secret, although Mr Fisker announced at the unveiling that a small four-cylinder BMW engine will be used as the range-extending electrical generator.

The use of lithium-ion batteries has been confirmed.

Short overhangs and a long wheelbase create interior space claimed to equal the A5 and 3 Series, while the second-generation range-extender powertrain is smaller, providing a more commodious luggage space, which can be expanded using the split-folding rear seats.

Mr Fisker said the panoramic glass “spider” roof, which incorporates a crossmember, provides more headroom than would be expected of a car with such a low-slung, coupe-like silhouette.

In addition to its sleek profile, the Atlantic’s sporting intent is illustrated by frameless doors, with hidden rear handles enhancing the coupe look.

Mr Fisker claimed the Atlantic – which is primarilly rear-wheel drive but will also be offered with optional all-wheel drive – will offer performance and fuel economy better than any in its segment and price range.

The Atlantic’s squat, four-square stance gives almost supercar looks and it bears a strong family resemblance to its similarly sculpted but larger Karma sibling.

Fisker said the Atlantic’s lines were inspired by nature and describes its stance as resembling a “wild tiger ready to pounce” while its grille – an evolution of the Karma’s – combined with sharp-looking headlights are said to “create a greater rear-view mirror presence than any other vehicle in its class”.

On the aerodynamically optimised rear end, slim LED tail-light clusters flow into the bootlid and are split to allow a wider opening.

At the unveiling, Mr Fisker confirmed the Atlantic prototype is an accurate representation of the production model.

“What you see today is a promise of what we will deliver,” he said.

He is confident the Atlantic will attract many new customers who may not have previously considered an extended-range EV.

Apparently keen to allay concerns about the company’s financial health, Mr Fisker said the company’s first product, the Karma, which has been in production since July last year, is selling well and netted the company revenues of $US25 million in January and $US50 million in February.

A wagon version of the Karma, called the Surf, was revealed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show and a convertible Karma was shown at Detroit in 2009.

Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda said the Atlantic represents a “crucial milestone” in the company’s transition from start-up to fully-fledged mainstream car manufacturer.

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