Fisker Automotive, Top Gear’s favourite hybrid builder, has revealed the next chapter in its quest to move from a start-up producer of swoopy supercars into a mainstream manufacturer.
Called the Atlantic, the stunning all-new four-door saloon developed under the codename of Nina will go head to head with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 when it goes on sale ‘sometime in 2013’. It will cost around £40,000 after tax rebates, according to the company.
Powered by a similar electric drivetrain with petrol engined generator set up as the Karma, the Atlantic ditches the occasionally rough-edged GM-sourced four-cylinder turbo in favour of a shiny, new 240bhp/260lbft BMW unit. Codenamed the N20, the slick twin-turbo engine will be also be used by BMW in the entry level Z4, 328i and 528i.
No official details have yet been released about the Atlantic’s chassis, but the company has confirmed that the car will be offered in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive layouts. Performance versions echoing BMW’s M Sport models will be added to the range after launch, as will a convertible. A small SUV to go up against the Audi Q5 is also being considered.
The design of the new Atlantic continues the Karma’s arresting theme of concept car looks in a production car. Clearly shorter and more upright than it’s big brother, the Atlantic’s styling still bristles with cool details. Everything apart from the family front grille is new.
One of the key new details that will make it into production is the partly glazed roof, which uses a unique ridged structure with echoes of a steel spider’s web. Apart from keeping the cabin light and airy, it also allows the four-seater Atlantic – the battery pack bisects the rear seats, so five seats is not an option – to offer what the company calls ‘remarkable’ levels of rear headroom.
The Atlantic’s interior promises to be just as innovative as the exterior, with a range of stunning design packages available from launch. Continuing the trend started with the Karma there will be fully animal-free variants, but the company also revealed several other interior concepts that are as arresting as the exterior design.
The car’s Atlantic name was first used by Bugatti back in the 1930s as a variant of its Type 57S. Just four of those were built and so it’s now one of the most valuable cars in the world, the last one selling for around $35m back in 2010. Even Fisker was surprised when they found the name was available.
But no one should be surprised when the finished car arrives, albeit a little later than originally scheduled. Despite becoming a political football in the upcoming US presidential elections, Fisker has forged ahead with its fund raising. Having just raised another huge chunk of private cash – Fisker turned down any further US loans as they came with too many conditions apart from the negative PR – it is on course to reopen the stalled US-based factory and continue gearing up for production soon.
The Atlantic’s production debut will be followed by the launch of the Fisker Surf sportbreak, but no date has yet been set for the Karma’s convertible cousin, the Sunset.