The VL Destino and the Quest for the World’s Fastest Sedan

VL destino

Have you heard the one about the buggy electric vehicle that got the Corvette engine and took off on the track? It’s no joke. Bob Lutz, the former Big Three executive who was once Vice Chairman at GM, did just that with the frame of the Fisker Karma and the supercharged V8 from the ZR1 of the previous ‘Vette generation. The result is the stunning VL Destino that Lutz says has the guts to challenge the field for fastest sedan on earth as well as hottest car on the block. Between the Destino and other powerhouse sedans coming to market, there has never been a better time for four-door speed demons.

You will know the Destino by the trail of dead…

Lutz and Gilbert Villareal, his partner and Michigan-based “industrialist,” decided the Fisker Karma deserved a better fate than the bug-prone powertrain that propelled the hybrid supercar in its original (failed) conception. According to Lutz in an article for Fortune, Villareal fantasized about taking his favorite car in the looks department and stuffing it with his favorite performance car’s engine and transmission. Against the odds (and skepticism from Lutz), Villareal pulled it off in a matchup Lutz describes as “easy.”

Then came the testing and regulatory hangups that had plagued Fisker since its bankruptcy proceedings in November 2013. Once the maker of a gorgeous hybrid sports car that competed with Tesla (in courtrooms and in the court of public opinion) in the early days, Fisker went off the deep end when it failed to meet deadlines, lost its credit line from Uncle Sam, and laid off 75% of its workforce in April 2013. Through these dark days, consumers kept buying the car because of its drop-dead appearance at the curb.

VL Destino grand central

The problem, as Consumer Reports detailed painfully in 2012, is the Karma was “plagued with flaws.” Battery problems, poor visibility, and countless electrical glitches were the bane of CR testers, and at one point they had to call for a tow truck when their Karma broke down. None of it boded well for Fisker and its chief creditor, the U.S. Treasury, which was dinged in the press for its failed advanced vehicle technology experiment.

Destino: World’s fastest sedan?

All that was prologue for Lutz and Villareal. Now that the prototype of the VL Destino is burning up tracks around Motor City with its 638 horsepower and 604 pounds-feet of torque, Lutz believes he might have the world’s fastest sedan on his hands. What about that incendiary Tesla Model S P85D, you might wonder? Not even close: P85D has a top speed of 155 miles per hour. VL Destino can go “near or over 200″ miles per hour, according to Lutz. The Model S P85D will beat the Destino on the sprint to 60 miles per hour, however, at 3.2 seconds to 3.9 seconds in Lutz’s supercar.

Dodge’s Charger Hellcat is a different animal. Packing its own 6.2-liter supercharged V8, the Charger Hellcat produces 707 horsepower and is capable of hitting 204 miles per hour on its best runs. Running to 60 miles per hour from a standstill takes just 2.9 seconds in Dodge’s explosive new sedan. Throw in the quarter-mile at 10.7 seconds and it appears a winner must be declared.

Let’s face it: North of 200 miles per hour, it’s just splitting hairs. A Charger is a musclebound beast compared to the elegant Karma frame that houses the Destino and its Corvette engine. For the projected starting price of $200,000, Destino’s high fashion carries an appropriate price tag.