Cars Around Town, Part 2

A 2000 M Coupe that is well maintained

Does the driveway look familiar? Welcome to part two of the Cars Around Town mini series. As mentioned in the conclusion of part one, here is the second car.

Who and What

Today’s car is the BMW M Coupe. Being from the year 2000, it’s around the mid cycle area for the model, and it’s owned by the same guy who had the Ferrari I wrote about. It represented an alternative to the Z3 M Roadster, and it was rarer. It’s funky looks have been a primary target for jokes, but I honestly think it doesn’t look bad.

History

Since the M Coupe was the first of its kind, the closest history would be the predecessors to the Z3 M, since they’re almost the same car. This ranges as far back as the BMW 303 from the 1930s, but its more famous relative, the Z1, is when the general shape began.

As far as performance goes, the Z3 M and M Coupe went through three engines in their lifetimes, the S50, S52, and S54, the latter being used in the M3 at the time. The horsepower ranged from the 200s and 300s depending on the engine, and under 5,000 total M Coupes were produced, making it pretty rare. I think I’ve only seen one or two out on the road excluding this one, which further proves my point.

Conclusion

Thanks once again to the man who let me photograph his cars. The M Coupe was a great sports car that was perfect for you if you wanted a smaller car in the “M” category. It’s lifespan was short but led on to the next generation by being a coupe model of the Z4 M. Unfortunately since last year’s Z4 redesign, there hasn’t been much mention of a coupe, only renderings. Since BMW could make more money by releasing a coupe model, I certainly see one coming soon.

Image Credits

All photos: Aaron M. Rodgers

Karma/Revero: August’s Car of the Month

Even though it was founded by a former Aston Martin employee, Fisker Automotive lived a rather short and unpleasant life. It was focused around making hybrid and electric cars, the most well known being the Karma. How did a short lived company make a Car of the Month entry? Buckle your seat belts everybody, it’s time to dive into Karma/Revero chaos.

Side note, this article is for you if you’re tired of the “Will it take down Tesla?!” articles that seem to plague every new electric or hybrid car released these days. (Lets be honest, Tesla is too far ahead in the electric market for any new release to rival its sales)

The Fisker Karma

Our car begins its journey in 2011. Fisker had been around for a few years creating the Karma, a hybrid complete with two electric motors and a 4-cylinder engine. The body was created by Henrik Fisker, who designed famous cars like the BMW Z8 and Aston DB9, and obviously, founded Fisker.

It takes about one look at the car to tell that it’s definitely something different, with its divided grille and diamond shaped exhaust port, but the individuality doesn’t stop there. The interior can be leather, or for a more environment friendly feel, repurposed lumber. A solar panel sits within the roof of the car, primarily to help interior climate control, but secondarily for giving the battery a slight charge while driving.

Coming out with a decently high price, sales were pretty slow, and a couple of recalls were issued due to battery risks. There were around three events where a Karma was suspected to start a fire, one of them setting a house alight and another during hurricane Sandy, where 16 burning Karmas took a poor Toyota Prius down with them. Fisker was also sued by Tesla, and some reviewers said it was a poor drive. I’d say this was a rough start. Oh, and I forgot to mention, two years into the car’s lifespan is when Fisker went bankrupt.

The In-between

If you didn’t know what happened next, you might be wondering why this is the Car of the Month. Things weren’t looking too good. Well, when Fisker filed for bankruptcy, the Chinese company Wanxiang Group decided to purchase certain assets, like the sheetmetal design, engine and hybrid motors, and even a Karma manufacturing facility. Add in three years of preparation and it’s not hard to figure out what happened next.

The Karma Revero

In 2016 out came the Revero, from the new company called Karma Automotive. It features almost all of the original Karma features, with slight changes in bodywork. Unfortunately, the 2016 Revero wasn’t much of a step up from the Karma, presenting bad reliability, however, each year since Karma has given it their all to make it a great car.

The new 2020 model seems to be the result of their hard work. It has less problems and provides some nice performance to the driver. It strips away the old looks for a sleek body that flows into itself while still remaining unique. I think that it represents a much clearer image of the goal that Henrik had, to make a luxurious hybrid production car.

I do believe that if Wanxiang can keep going the way that they are without disruptions, Henrik’s goal will be reached eventually. There’s one problem though. Fisker has started up again, and they plan to debut with the Fisker Emotion sedan this year, as well as a mass production SUV in 2022. This leaves me with a big question. Can it stand up to Tesla?

Just kidding. What I’m wondering is if Fisker will want to take the rights of the Revero back. If they do, will it devolve into what it originally was? Or become something better? I guess we’ll have to wait on that. Below you’ll find a dramatic bolded cliffhanger, which is supposed to hint to a future article or something like that.

To be continued…

Why it’s the Car of the Month

The Fisker Karma/Karma Revero deserves the title of Car of the Month for the journey that it is embarking upon to reach its initial goal from a decade ago. To go through bankruptcy, recalls, and poor reception, yet to be revived and experience similar problems but still be selling cars today is a marvel on its own. While the greatly improved 2020 Karma Revero is not the end of the journey, it’s safe to say that it’s on the latter half.

Congratulations, Karma and Revero

The Scoring Board

Performance: 4 | Luxury: 6 | Looks: 9.5

Performance: Why it gets a 4

The Karma/Revero gets a 4 in Performance because while it has about 400hp, it can only hit a 125mph top speed, despite a 4.5 second 0-60. It would be nice to see better engines in future models, which could be a real possibility if it keeps getting better.

Luxury: Why it gets a 6

The Karma/Revero gets a 6 in Luxury because its interior looks sort of minimal when compared to a BMW but it’s shaped more like a supercar’s.

Looks: Why it gets a 9.5

Karma/Revero gets a 9.5 in Looks because I really enjoy the exotic styling. There’s not really any other car that looks like it on the road.


Image Credits

Fisker Karma: Fisker, Mad4Wheels

Fisker Karma ES White Knight: SR Auto, Mad4Wheels

Karma Revero GTS (2020): Karma, Mad4Wheels

Cars Around Town, Part 1

Let this 308 Quattrovalvole welcome you into the “Cars Around Town Mini Series”

To get right down to the point, I’m going to be sprinkling a few short articles here and there about the cars in town that I photograph with permission from their owners.

Who and What

Today’s car is a beautiful Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole from 1985. It’s owned by a guy that I’ve met before, who has a nice garage complete with a lift and space for five cars. Being made in ’85, it was the last year of production for the 308. While only producing around 230 horsepower, the V8 inside lets out a loud growl that only a Ferrari could possess.

History

The 308 was the successor of the Dino, a legendary Ferrari, one of the first to be easily accessible to the public. It was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti, the man who was responsible for the styling of multiple famous Ferraris, like the Berlinetta Boxer. Some of you readers might recognize it from the original Magnum, p.i. show, as it was featured throughout its lifetime.

It wasn’t too cheap of a car, so if you didn’t want to pay the full price you could opt for the slower 208 models, which had a very similar look. Something interesting to see are the visual and internal differences between the US and European versions, and a keen eye can point them out. Since the Euro spec performs better, it will usually be priced higher on the market. I find it pretty surprising that the 308 actually had Rally Group 4 and B class models made, since “Ferrari” and “Rally” aren’t used in the same sentence often.

Conclusion

I want to thank the person who let me take photos of their car (you know who you are), which served as one of Ferrari’s first mass produced vehicles, and helped start the road to where the brand is today. I will be doing another article soon of a second car at the photo shoot.

Image Credits

All Photos: Aaron M. Rodgers