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Karma Revero GT Impresses

by Bill SiuruDecember 31, 2019
The Karma Revero GT, 2020 Luxury Green Car of the Year, represents the evolution of the Revero series hybrid. Karma Automotive devoted significant resources in reworking every part of this grand touring sedan, with enormous success.

The 2020 Karma Revero GT is a major remake that delivers a new model substantially more refined than the original Karma Revero, which evolved from an existing series hybrid sedan. Externally, all of the Revero GT’s body panels have been restyled, including the doors. Most noticeable are the new grille and front fascia that present quite a departure from the Revero’s original and rather massive grillework.

Besides a more modern look, weight has been reduced by more than 500 pounds, an important move since this is one heavy grand touring car weighing in at some 5,050 pounds total. Optional carbon fiber wheels shave off an additional 55 pounds. Inside, there are new seats, center console, and an all-new infotainment system.

There are also big changes in the drivetrain. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, sourced from the BMW i8, replaces the previous GM-sourced 2.0 liter engine originally used in the Revero series hybrid. Two electric motors drive the rear wheels through a single speed transmission. Combined power output has noticeably increased from 403 to 535 horsepower, with a beefy dose of 550 lb-ft torque at the ready. All this brings an impressive 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.5 seconds. In a departure from the norm, the exhaust for the Karma GT’s three-cylinder engine is located behind the front wheels.

A lighter 28-kWh battery pack is configured to run down the spine of the car. This nickel-manganese-cobalt lithium-ion pack provides a battery electric range of up to 80 miles, an impressive gain over that offered by the 2019 Revero. With the 280 mile range afforded by electricity from the car’s gasoline engine-generator, overall driving range comes in at 360 miles. EPA rates the 2020 Karma Revero GT at 26 combined mpg and 70 MPGe when driving exclusively on battery power.

Drivers can choose between Stealth, Sustain, and Sport modes to tailor the driving experience. Stealth is for all-electric driving. Sustain mode uses the BMW range-extender engine to supply electricity to the rear motors, preserving power from the battery pack for later use. Sport mode maximizes performance by combining the power from both the engine-generator and battery pack. Three levels of regenerative braking can be selected using steering wheel paddles.

A Karma Revero GTS is planned for introduction later in 2020. Here, torque will be increased to a massive 635 lb-ft for even greater performance. The GTS variant will also feature electronic torque vectoring and Launch Control to handle all that torque. In addition, a planned battery upgrade is expected to provide up to 80 miles of all-electric driving.