Are you considering a Lucid Air, but worried that you won’t outrun a Model S Plaid in a drag race? That may not be a problem if you have a large enough bank account. Lucid has introduced a Sapphire badge dedicated to “ultra-high-performance” EVs. The first model in the line, the Lucid Air Sapphire, promises to outperform Tesla’s Plaid cars at least under certain conditions — and not just in a straight line.
The Air Sapphire revolves around a three-engine system (one front, two rear) that produces over 1,200 horsepower, surpassing even the no longer available Dream Edition. Along with better cooling, the new powerplant is said to deliver a sprint from 0-60 MPH in under two seconds, from 0-100 MPH in under four seconds, and a quarter-mile time in under nine seconds. You can expect a top speed of over 200 MPH. While that’s not guaranteed to wreck a custom Model S Plaid, this is also a factory car that doesn’t need a preconditioning period (like Tesla’s Drag Strip mode) to reach its full potential.
And yes, Lucid believes the Air Sapphire can handle twists and turns. You can expect a slightly wider body for new Aero Sapphire wheels with special Michelin tires. The torque vectoring of the engines meanwhile promises both better impact and stability on the straight. You can also expect stiffer suspension, stiffer bushings and custom tuning for everything from the anti-lock braking system to power steering. Range and other details to follow.
Most internal changes revolve around software. While there’s a new visual theme and “highly boosted” seats, the centerpiece is an updated interface with more performance-oriented features, including a special Sapphire mode.
However, none of these optimizations are cheap. Lucid is asking $249,000 for the limited-run Air Sapphire, with pre-orders in the US and Canada starting August 23 at 9 a.m. Eastern. That makes the $179,000 Grand Touring trim a relative bargain, and even Porsche’s $187,400 Taycan Turbo S is more affordable. However, in this category, bragging rights often help justify any premiums.
This can also be an important strategy switch for Lucid. The fledgling EV maker has had to drastically cut its production targets in the face of supply chain issues and now expects to make no more than 7,000 cars by 2022 instead of the originally planned 20,000. Sapphire will arrive late this year to help, but it could offset future financial problems by increasing Lucid’s profits from the cars it ships.
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