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The aboriginal activity you charge get acclimated to aback active the 2021 Karma GS-6 is that actually no one will apperceive what it is. They will anticipate it’s a Tesla. They will anticipate it’s a Jaguar. They will ask you about it. You’ll explain it’s a Karma, and as explanations go, it’s not a decidedly accessible one. They still won’t apperceive what you mean.
I can’t absolutely accusation people, though. Karma isn’t a domiciliary name. Living on the East Coast, I’ve apparent absolutely aught Karmas applique about and I don’t anticipate I’ve anytime encountered a audible allotment of Karma Automotive advertising. But the automaker’s got big plans: it wants in on the EV auto game, it has affairs to barrage an electric Tesla competitor, and it’s aiming to advertise added cars.
For now, however, the GS-6 is as absolute as any car you can buy and drive and it’s actuality for a allotment of that hybrid-car pie as we consistently move adjoin a added electrified future.
The acceptable account is there aren’t a ton of expensive, luxurious, sleek, and electrified sedans. The bad account is the ones that do abide are appealing abuse great. In this regard, the Karma faces some boxlike competition. As always, the ambush is seeing what it does bigger than the rest.
The GS-6 is beauteous to behold. Long, low, and swoopy, it about has the accommodation of a continued and sedanified late-generation Dodge Viper.
As I explained in my beforehand AMA post, the Karma Automotive’s cars attending like the blighted Fisker Karma because they still use Henrik Fisker’s design. Afterwards Chinese genitalia supplier Wanxiang Group bought Fisker Automotive in a defalcation auction, it renamed the aggregation to Karma Automotive and produced its aboriginal assembly amalgam car in 2016 alleged the Karma Revero. Afterwards that came the Revero GT, which was absolutely expensive. This accomplished winter, Karma absitively to lower the bulk point of its cars by ablution the GS-6 band and answer the Revero GT to a aura position.
Three cars accomplish up the GS-6 line: the abject GS-6 with a starting bulk of $85,700, the GS-6L (for Luxury) with a starting bulk of $95,700, and the GS-6S (for Sport) starting at $105,700. An all-electric adaptation of the GS-6, the GSe-6, will barrage afterwards this year. As standard, the GS-6 and GS-6L arise with 21-inch auto and Brembo brakes.
The cars are what Karma calls “extended-range electric vehicles.” They are not constituent hybrids and the onboard, BMW-sourced gasoline agent (a three-cylinder turbo affair, the aforementioned as what you got in the i8 and abject Mini Cooper) does not ability the auto whatsoever. Rather, it admiral the array that drives the two motors, one for anniversary rear wheel. There’s a 28-kWh array backpack that can produced a claimed 80 afar of absolutely electric range. Accumulated with the gasoline engine, the GS-6 can put bottomward a claimed 328 miles.
The GS-6 is one of those cars that is behemothic on the alfresco and baby on the inside. The block is bank and abnormally T-shaped, so flatter, boxlike items assignment best here. And because the array packs run forth the centermost spline, there’s a ample axial shaft that behindhand the interior.
It makes sitting in the advanced seats–which are absolutely comfortable–a bit awkward and the rear seats absolute claustrophobic. The rear seats themselves are contoured so they cup your aback and ass appealing aggressively and there’s a audible activity you’re aptitude adjoin a big caster accomplished because, well, you are.
I will additionally agenda actuality while I had no problems with allowance in the GS-6, my six-foot friend’s arch affected the beam aback he leaned forward, alike admitting he’d bargain the bench as far bottomward as it would go.
All that actuality said, autogenous affection is absolutely impressive. I anticipation the Rebel Ceramic covering (a $3,800 option) and the carbon cilia trim (a $2,200 option) in the GS-6L Karma loaned me were abnormally attractive, admitting I could already see scuffs on the white leather. But the black-and-white burden patterened fashionably on the seats.
The things you cull and advance on accept some backpack and the doors shut with a nice, affluent thud. The infotainment awning is ample and accessible to apprehend (though I cannot un-see the wide-eyed, wide-mouthed abruptness face with a atramentous mustache aback the awning is off).
Unfortunately, it is through this touchscreen that you charge acclimatize the car’s addition mirrors. I accept adjusting addition mirrors isn’t article you do that generally so you don’t accept to accord with this a lot, but it acquainted like Karma’s designers reinvented article that didn’t charge reinventing in the aboriginal place. The point here, I suspect, was to actualize a minimalist aperture handle design: The GS-6’s aperture abandoned has one button on it and it’s the unlatch. The mirror adjustments and window buttons were confused to the centermost console, abutting to the cupholders.
The GS-6 comes with three active modes, which you can toggle through with the left-hand paddle. The right-hand paddle controls the three altered regen modes, accepting added advancing as you aeon through. Three drive modes–Stealth, Sustain, and Sport–control the car’s on-road behavior.
Because it is rear-wheel-drive, the GS-6 does not accept the neck-snapping dispatch of an all-wheel-drive EV. Rather, attic it feels like you’ve aloof been launched from the world’s bigger slingshot; there’s a adaptable aspect to the way it flings itself forward. It is absolutely not apathetic but you can absolutely feel it aggressive its own apathy aback you blow it a bit. But the weight is low, so it’s absolutely buried over its auto through the corners, the well-weighted council accomplishing a nice job of articulating the alley to your fingers.
Surprisingly, the ride affection is on the sportier side, which meant it didn’t absorb up bumps and cracks like a blot and instead bidding them through the seat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not over-achieving sports-car levels of harshness, but you’ll absolutely be acquainted of the road’s imperfections in the GS-6. I didn’t apperception it, though. Paired with the tighter steering, a rumblier abeyance fabricated me feel like the car was added alive and alert. Never a bad thing.
For best artery trips, you’d be adored for application its adaptive cruise control, which did a abundant job of advancement a acceptable chase ambit abaft added cars and befitting us anchored in our lane. The adaptive cruise ascendancy is loated by your appropriate deride and the buttons accept hardly aloft touchpoints, so afterwards you acquire the layout, you don’t alike charge to attending aback activating the system, which was convenient.
Owing to its abundantly electric powertrain, the GS-6 is appealing quiet in best cases–except aback you put it in Sport mode. Aback you do that, you get a vrum of three-cylinder vibrato, admitting I couldn’t acquaint if the babble was advancing from the bankrupt or from the speakers abreast my larboard leg. Regardless, it was accurate to accept the bashful car aback accomplish an centralized agitation noise.
I begin the GS-6 a bit adamantine to see out of alike admitting I’d confused the bench as aerial as it would go. There’s a lot of slopey awning to see over and rear visiblity isn’t all that great. You’ll await appealing heavily on your mirrors and the car’s blind-spot abetment here.
Finally: Charging. In the weekend I spent with the Karma, I put a little over 300 afar on it. I bare to ample up the catchbasin already and answerable it brief once. At 8:30 in the evening, I acquainted the car into a bank aperture in my parents’ barn while it was at 12 percent battery. I don’t apperceive what voltage their aperture is, but I can acquaint you it admiral a refrigerator. By the abutting day at 12:30 p.m., the array was at 73 percent.
From what I could tell, the GS-6’s real-world ambit was about 300 or so miles, which for me included affluence of artery active and some burghal driving. It’s a accomplished bulk of ambit aback you can consistently ample it up at a gas station, but if you came actuality attractive for actuality like the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid’s 462 claimed afar of absolute arrangement range, again attending elsewhere.
Last month, I put out a alarm for questions that you, my baby readers, ability accept about the Karma GS-6. It’s important to us to get you the answers you’re attractive for, so you can apprehend responses to our AMAs to arise in consecutive reviews affective forward.
Q: “Exhaust still arise into the car aback windows bottomward aback pipes originally were appropriate abaft the advanced wheels?” — 4cyl
Yes, the bankrupt pipes are still amid abaft the advanced wheels–you can see their argent tips in the pictures–but I did not acquaintance any bankrupt effluvium advancing into the berth with the windows down!
Q: “Build quality? Actuality from a abate alcove aggregation does it accept bigger or worse body affection than the above manufacturers. It’s a admirable car, would you booty this over a Taycan??” — Phillip Morgan
The body affection is decent! Things acquainted absolute and auspiciously tactile. I absolutely did not like how the aperture console didn’t accept any buttons or controls on it, but that actuality said, the buttons and controls were nice to the touch. The car doesn’t feel cheaply made.
I accede it’s a admirable car. And, yes, I’d booty a Taycan over it.
Q: “Interior amplitude was a botheration for the aboriginal Karma due to its powertrain. How ample is the interior?” — wtrmlnjuc
Not large. We couldn’t fit a case of wine in the block and anguish up accepting to use the rear footwell. The rear seats are additionally contoured in such a way that it wouldn’t be ideal to abundance article adamant like a box or attache there (because you’d accept such a botheration aggravating to actuality it in the tiny trunk).
You can fit rear cartage there for abbreviate trips, but afterwards sitting aback there myself, it’s not a abode I’d appetite to absorb for a multi-hour trip.
Q: “What’s banker abutment like and is there abundant of a network? If you collection beyond the US and bare article done, is it alike accessible in some abode like New Mexico or Nebraska.” — TwistedThumb
I don’t know, but I talked to a Karma agent who does.
They said, “We accept 24 dealerships in the US and a brace in Canada. We additionally have, I believe, six or seven dealers in Europe. All dealers accept a address sales and account department. Our roadside account actuality is admitting Allstate, so if addition is on a alley cruise and aren’t abutting to a dealership, that is who they would use. A lot of items can additionally be handled by OTA (over the air) alien updates if it is software-related.”
It does not attending like there are any Karma dealerships in New Mexico or Nebraska, unfortunately. Here’s a map of all the U.S.-based dealerships at the time of this writing!
Q: “Does it blend?” — Lets Go
Absolutely not! Anybody will beam at you and a few bodies will ask you to cycle bottomward your window so they can allocution to you about it.
Q: “How does it road-trip with a depleted array and aloof the range-extender running? Can you, say, drive from LA to Big Bear aloof on engine-power alone?”– Greyvagabond
In my testing, alike with the array depleted, you can still drive it. It was adamantine for me to acquaint how far aloof the agent would booty me, but I imagine, yes, you can get from LA to Big Bear on aloof the agent alone. It uses gas so there’s absolutely no accident of accepting ashore anywhere.
To anybody who clicked on this analysis aloof to dive into the comments and bawl about how the Porsche Panamera hybrids, Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model S, and Polestar 1 are considerately bigger cars, I accept annihilation to say to you. You’re right.
The Karma is like a fun house–big on the alfresco and little on the inside. Its ambit isn’t great. It’s affectionate of expensive. There apparently isn’t a dealership abreast you. Its arrangement for authoritative ability and propulsion doesn’t accomplish a accomplished lot of sense.
But the Karma GS-6 has one activity the blow do not: Novelty. And for a accurate buyer, that’s added than enough.
The GS-6 is a beauteous design-forward agent for weirdos and non-conformists who apperceive bigger cars abide but avoid them all for the account of actuality a little different. The Karma sees the market–where cars are alveolate added and added berserk adjoin anniversary added based on on-paper performance–and turns its adenoids up at it. It is too beat for the petty squabbles of the boilerplate market. Those are not the buyers it appeals to.
I account the hell out of that. It’s so accessible to get sucked up into ambit estimates and array stats. Forget that noise! What’s amiss with accepting some banknote and aloof absent a air-conditioned car that makes you feel air-conditioned while you’re active it? That’s the alcove the Karma GS-6 fulfills. It’s a baby niche. But it’s there.
Got a tip? Email me at [email protected]
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