Car of the Year 2006: Fisker Tramonto

  • Photo by Cordero Studios
    Photo by Cordero Studios
  •  Photography by Cordero Studios
    The Tramonto at Spring Mountain Vineyard. Photography by Cordero Studios
  • Photography by Cordero Studios
    “Fisker is for someone who doesn’t buy off the shelf. It’s opulent in every way, and it sounds like a muscle car.” —Tim Morris Photography by Cordero Studios
  • Photography by Andrew MacPherson
    “The body style is too understated for the power of this vehicle.” —Steven Taback Photography by Andrew MacPherson
  • Photo by Cordero Studios
  •  Photography by Cordero Studios
  • Photography by Cordero Studios
  • Photography by Andrew MacPherson
<< Back to Robb Report, February 2006

Those not familiar with former BMW designer Henrik Fisker or his Irvine, Calif., company, Fisker Coachbuild (and many of our Car of the Year judges were not), can think of him as a kind of custom tailor who, using only the most exclusive materials, will nip and tuck your Mercedes SL55 AMG or BMW M6 to create a limited-edition (150 of each) vehicle with unique styling and supercar capabilities. The BMW becomes the Latigo CS, and the Tramonto, which competed in the Car of the Year event, is a Mercedes that Fisker dressed in carbon-fiber bodywork and then lined with soft leather hides trimmed with milled aluminum. Danish tuner Kleemann massaged the 5.5-liter V-8 to achieve 610 hp, which is comparable to the performance of an SL65, and which caused some judges to wonder why they would pass up that car’s V-12 for a high-strung V-8, especially when the Tramonto we tested, with a price of $297,000, costs $100,000 more than the comparable Mercedes.

Other judges praised the Tramonto, in part because of its exclusivity. “Fisker is for someone who doesn’t buy off the shelf,” said Tim Morris. “It’s opulent in every way, and it sounds like a muscle car.”

Herb Harris was less enthusiastic about that exhaust note, calling it “an annoying exhaust that sounds like a pickup truck with a glass pack.” Bruce Meyer agreed that the “exhaust note is too raspy, like a low-rider.” Bill Harlan offered a mixed review. “The car has beautiful interior and exterior styling, but I did not like the wheels or the exhaust-system sound.”

Perhaps if the name of the Tramonto’s maker did not begin with the letter F, the car would have placed higher than 11th in the field of 14. In the alphabetical rotation, the Fisker immediately followed the Ferrari F430, which meant that our judges were driving it just after piloting what proved to be their favorite car, a vehicle that produces the most melodious of engine sounds. As William Weidner noted, “It was not a fair fight after the Ferrari.” In fairness to Fisker, it should be pointed out that after driving the Ferrari, taking a trip to the moon could have been something of a letdown.

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE 5.5-liter V-8
POWER 610 hp at 5,800 rpm
TORQUE 650 ft lbs at 2,200 to 4,700 rpm
ZERO-TO-60 3.6 seconds
TOP SPEED 202 mph
TRANSMISSION 5-speed automatic    with manual gear    selection   
WHEELBASE 100.8 inches
CURB WEIGHT 4,205 pounds
BASE PRICE $234,000

The 1972 Maserati Boomerang and 1950 Bugatti Type 101C Coupé Antem are pieces of automotive mastery…
Concepts from Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and others stole some limelight from Pebble’s historic cars…
Of the 219 cars that competed at Pebble from 16 countries and 29 states, here are our favorites…
The five-seat performance vehicle, scheduled for release in 2016, is Jaguar’s first-ever SUV…
The September 6 event near Paris on will feature an abundance of classic cars and culture…
Crafted from aerospace billet aluminum, the explosive motorcycle boasts 200-plus horsepower…
Guests high-tail it through the desert in a Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche…
A Red 1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale Wins the Quail’s Highest Honor…
With enhanced horsepower and a weight under 2,500 pounds, this racer is ready to rumble…
The latest from Galpin Ford and Henrik Fisker morphs into a four-seat or two-seat convertible…