The Electric Lucid Air Sapphire Is Here To Rearrange Your Spleen On The Way To 200 MPH

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It was only a matter of time before Lucid Motors took the fight directly to Tesla’s Model S Plaid, and the California-based marque has decided to take a holistic approach to EV hyper-sedans with its Air Sapphire. Sure, it may sound like a limited-edition shoe, but the Lucid Air Sapphire promises to be far more than just a quarter-mile monster.

Power for the Lucid Air Sapphire comes from three electric motors, one at the front and two at the back. The twin-motor rear axle is a particularly neat trick because it allows for genuine torque vectoring through corners. The motor acting upon the inside wheel can actually go into regenerative braking while the motor acting upon the outside wheel doles out the power. Altogether, Lucid claims that the three motors are capable of putting out more than 1,200 horsepower and launching the Lucid Air Sapphire from a dead stop to 60 mph in under two seconds. Fasten your seatbelts indeed.

Lucid Air Sapphire Rear Motors

However, the party isn’t over once the Lucid Air Sapphire reaches 60 mph. Lucid quotes a zero to 100 mph time of less than four seconds and a quarter mile time of less than nine seconds, some spleen-rearranging claims that I’m excited to see proven by a third party. Keep your foot in it, and Lucid says that this spacious sedan won’t stop pulling until it’s past the 200 mph mark, proper supercar territory.

Serious pace requires serious stopping power, so Lucid’s ditched iron discs and gone with carbon ceramic brakes. Interestingly enough, the Lucid Air Sapphire forgoes ultra-sticky trackday tires for a special version of Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4S measuring 265 mm wide up front and 295 mm wide out back. It’s definitely a move that raises eyebrows, as the limiting factors for brakes are usually heat capacity and tire grip.

Lucid Air Sapphire Wheel

With the wide, staggered tire setup comes widened bodywork, some 21 mm wider up front and 24 mm wider out back. However, instead of going through the costly process of stamping new panels, Lucid has elected to go with a set of overfenders that look less Rodeo Drive and more SEMA. Speaking of things that look aftermarket, the Lucid Air Sapphire comes with a set of detachable carbon fiber aero discs for the wheels that should be friendlier to the wind than open spokes.

Lucid Air Sapphire Interior

On the inside, 18-way front sports seats with grippy alcantara inserts should hold the driver in place while they enjoy the retuned suspension and torque vectoring from the dual rear motors. Perhaps best of all, Lucid says that the sports suspension shouldn’t beat occupants up.

“Our aim with this, our first Sapphire model, is to complement the exceptional powertrain with sharper, more responsive driving dynamics and increased body control,” said David Lickfold, Director of Chassis and Vehicle Dynamics. “At the same time, it was important to retain the exceptional ride quality for which Lucid Air has come to be known.”

The focus on body control is reassuring, as proper body control is what actually gives well-tuned cars good ride quality. By mitigating pitch and roll, and properly matching damping with true spring rates, you can create a car that handles well, offers plenty of driver confidence, and still rides beautifully. It seems like Lucid has gone over the suspension with a fine-tooth comb, not only changing spring rates and dampers, but also bushings and likely the spring rate of the tire sidewall. In addition to those suspension tweaks, Lucid touts recalibrated traction control, stability control, and electric power steering.

Rear Side

In addition to all the performance tweaks, the Lucid Air Sapphire is getting a new shade of paint with an interesting origin. See, back before every top-level race car was plastered in sponsorship stickers selling pile cream and energy drinks, racers used racing colors to distinguish their country of origin. British racing green, Italian rosso corsa, Bleu de France, that sort of stuff. America had two, either white with lengthwise blue stripes, or a deep Imperial blue with white stripes. Think Shelby Daytona Coupe for the latter. Lucid allegedly took inspiration from that and Benitoite, California’s state gem, to create this shade of deep blue. I don’t know why Californian EV startups write their marketing materials like the Red Hot Chili Peppers write lyrics, but it is what it is.

Lucid Air Sapphire Front Three Quarters

If you happen to have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket and want the ultimate four-door performance EV, you might want to act quickly. The Lucid Air Sapphire is a limited-production model, although it won’t be the last Sapphire high-performance model we’ll see from Lucid. Pricing starts at $249,000 excluding an unspecified freight charge, and deliveries are expected to start next year. Curiously, while no freight charge for America is specified, a freight charge for Canada is. A $2,200 freight charge sends Canadian pricing up to $327,200. If you don’t live in Canada or the United States, you’re likely out of luck for the Lucid Air Sapphire. It’s only expected to be sold in those two markets, a rare occasion of Europe not getting the cool stuff.

All photos courtesy of Lucid Motors

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25 Responses

  1. It seems like EV manufacturers are just getting started thinking about how cars should work. The three motors and driver control advances sound like true advances.

    It’s like the VW guys who sketched out an EV on a cocktail napkin; built it, and set records at Pikes Peak, Nurburgring, etc., with the ID-R.

    Not bad for a first pass at a Sapphire, Lucid!

    1. I think Anna is lying to us.
      Above she says $80/hr, and here $13000 per month, part time. But, 13000/80 is 162 hrs per month. She’s working full time.
      Although her “confident mate” making 27k /mo gets paid alot more, and Anna needs to ask for a raise.

  2. As much as I dislike Musk and Tesla, I think their strategy to build luxury performance cars first was a wise move. But I think it’s not so wise to follow in their footprints at this point to try and beat them at their own game. Better to try and go where Tesla isn’t, I think; trucks and fleet vehicles are where I see the most opportunity. Let Porsche and Mercedes battle Tesla for that upper end of the market.

    1. The problem is that it is near impossible for a start-up to ramp up production and reduce costs fast enough to support high volume fleet/truck markets. Even Rivian is starting at the luxury-end of the truck market. It will be interesting to see if they make to profitability or bankruptcy trying to meet their Amazon truck deliveries.

    2. I’m looking forward to seeing what weird niche Mazda cram themselves into in the EV space (beyond emissions compliance cars). Given their strategy is to find gaps in the market everyone else has abandoned and fill them like builder’s foam I’m expecting a two-door sports hatch or a big 4WD wagon to end up being a surprise hit.

    3. The electric truck space is already getting crowded, and commercial vehicles are a whole other kettle of fish entirely. I agree that the luxury performance segment also has several (well, three) existing players, but I don’t think it’s saturated. Especially not if what you have to offer is recognizably different from what the legacy makers are selling, and more luxurious and better made than what Tesla offers. I think Lucid has accomplished that. I can tell you that if I were shopping in that segment, they would be top of my list.

  3. Great article and this Sapphire is neat…but ….I couldn’t care less. The Air is an amazing piece of technology, but it’s just yet another overpriced EV that only the rich can pay for. What we need is companies making more affordable EVs so that the lower-earning sectors can actually AFFORD one because there are not many of those at this point…not yet more luxury EVs only the 1% can afford.

    Show me an EV in the $20k price bracket with OK-enough range and that’s when I’d be truly interested.

        1. The Bolt EV (not EUV) is a bit less, at $25K US, and has a smidge more range than the EUV. (The EUV is a little bit longer, mostly improving back seat room.)

          But if you’re looking for an EV in the $20K Canadian price bracket, it’s going to be a while. The batteries just cost too much still.

    1. Yes, gorgeous and amazing, but that level of performance is stupid overkill, and 99% of drivers can barely handle a car with 1/4 of that power figure. I’m more intrigued by how much car Japanese manufacturers can fit to the Kei specs and physical envelope and sell it for $12k.

      1. Eh, with that weight, 1/4 that power would give you the power to weight ratio of a ’90s V6 Camry. Perhaps those were frequently going hopelessly out of control at the hands of average drivers around you, but not so much here.

        With all the electronic nannies and such, 1200HP electric cars are only a risk if the driver intentionally sets them up to be dangerous. If you’re selecting launch mode at every red light, halving the power won’t fix the problem.

    2. Well a company like Lucid isn’t going to be the ones to give you a cheap, mainstream EV because they can’t do the economies of scale for it. If you’re going to make a profit on an EV in a $20k price bracket you’re going to need to make a lot of them. Lucid just straight up doesn’t have the capacity to build a lot of them. So building a really cool EV and charge a lot for it is the only viable business plan for them.

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