October 1, 2023


Just Do Automotive

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire units a excessive bar, attire down Plaid

6 min read

When you haven’t observed, there’s a little bit of a horsepower battle happening with electrical automobiles today. The Porsche Taycan may be specced for 750 ponies. You may get over 800 hp in Rivian’s R1S SUV. Heck, the GMC Hummer EV delivers 1,000 horsepower. 

Nonetheless, one which tops practically every little thing is coming from an automaker that has some deep Method E connections and sees nice efficiency as enabled by effectivity. That apart, the Lucid Air Sapphire is not any hypercar. It’s an enormous sedan weighing properly over 5,000 kilos, but it surely checks in at 1,234 horsepower and 1,430 pound-feet of torque, blasting out of three motors.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

What’s a Lucid Sapphire?

Sapphire would be the moniker for future efficiency fashions, not simply Air. Casting over to some very thirsty gasoline equivalents, consider Cadillac V efficiency automobiles, or the BMW M automobiles, and also you get the thought. In reality, Lucid used the Caddy CT5 V Blackwing and the BMW M5 CS as benchmarks for the Sapphire. Engineers needed to get that type of raucous driving expertise you get with a stonking V-8 and a limited-slip differential, simply electrical.

After a fast spin behind the wheel, I can wholeheartedly say the corporate has succeeded.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

Lucid Air Sapphire goes for delicate

Exterior there are some delicate aesthetic variations in my Sapphire check automobile versus different variations of the Air. The chrome has a smoky end. There’s a greater chin diffuser to match the elevated downforce utilized by the carbon fiber wing within the rear. Carbon accents spotlight the mirrors, and the glass roof has been nixed in favor of 1 constructed from aluminum. I imply, would you desire a glass roof in a automobile that may go 205 miles per hour? Me neither.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

Inside I’ve acquired the so-dark-blue-it’s-almost-black Mojave inside and it’s loaded with Alcantara faux-suede. It’s all over the place—seats, sprint, headline, door playing cards, steering wheel. I find it irresistible. The Sapphire additionally will get Lucid’s new sport seats with efficiency headrests, and upgraded bolsters—acquired to maintain that butt within the seat—as properly and distinction stitching. Rounding out the inside enhancements are a brand new pedal design and an upgraded infotainment system.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

Lucid Air Sapphire good points new modes, goes insanely fast

The Sapphire has Easy, Swift, Sapphire and Observe modes, every rising energy and loosening up nannies. Observe mode additionally pre-conditions the batteries and goes for max cooling. There are three totally different sub-modes in Observe as properly. Drag Strip mode is self-explanatory however there may be additionally a Scorching Lap mode which the corporate tuned for one fast lap at Virginia Worldwide Raceway and an Endurance mode meant for conventional 20-25 minute observe periods.

I’ve acquired David Lickfold, Director of Chassis and Automobile Dynamics, driving right-seat with me, switching up the modes so I can really feel the distinction. Even in Easy mode with “simply” 750 horsepower my head is thrown again towards the headrest as I shriek with pleasure on the acceleration. It’s a mere 1.89 seconds to 60 miles per hour and whereas I’m not even at full throttle, I’ve no motive to doubt that quantity.

Lickfold switches to Sapphire mode for a freeway on ramp and inside seconds I’m over 100 miles per hour. I need to test round me for the fuzz however I don’t dare take my eyes off the highway. As an alternative I hit the huge carbon ceramic brakes to rapidly deliver the Lucid again to one thing resembling a sane velocity. The entrance rotors listed here are 16.5 inches clamped with 10-piston calipers, whereas the rear are 15.4 inches with 4-piston calipers. I nearly count on to do a entrance wheelie with all these big entrance calipers, however the brakes really feel agency and assured.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

Going fast in a straight line is simple. What occurs when the highway turns twisty? I don’t get a ton of time flogging it round turns, but it surely’s sufficient to know that this automobile could make anybody a much better driver than they need to be. 

The Sapphire boasts a very new suspension system with recalibrated charges for the springs and roll bars. There are new dampers and bushings, and engineers have added extra damaging camber on all 4 corners for extra grip whereas cornering. 

I don’t dare strive Observe mode on a public highway, however the automobile’s intentions are clear in Sapphire mode. The steering right here feels remarkably fast and there may be loads of grip from the staggered Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. It’s keen to show in at each nook, pushing extra torque to the rear exterior wheel and utilizing a contact of regenerative braking to the rear inside wheel—dynamics enabled by the three-motor structure and its two motors in again. The hefty steering provides me confidence as I push the automobile a bit quicker every time. Heck, I may even gun it mid-corner and the automobile stays on my meant path. Attempt that in a conventional supercar and also you’ll possible find yourself going through the unsuitable method on the highway, crashed into a middle barrier or each. 

Lickfold tells me that a lot of the difficult torque vectoring occurs on the rear, whereas the entrance is left to only steer the automobile. Among the controls are on an open loop, he says, taking in data and splitting the torque appropriately. Nonetheless, some are on a closed loop, monitoring what the automobile is definitely doing. If the Sapphire is in an surprising state of affairs, say skidding uncontrolled, it’ll trim torque to assist in giving what the driving force is asking for. 

That’s nothing new in fact, however the deal right here is how rapidly it occurs and the way pure it feels. The pc is reacting each millisecond to get the facility to the right wheel for the right response, conserving the Sapphire from oversteering into oblivion.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

Lucid Air Sapphire vs. Tesla Mannequin S Plaid

After all, I’m curious how Lucid thinks this Air Sapphire is healthier than the Tesla Mannequin S Plaid. Each have tri-motor all-wheel drive, can seat 5, and may run just like the dickens. The Lucid is a contact faster to 60 miles per hour—0.1 seconds based on every producer—and it bests the Tesla’s 200-mile-per-hour high velocity by 5 mph. It’s acquired an EPA-estimated 427 miles of vary in comparison with the Plaid’s 396 miles however extra importantly, the Sapphire is a deliberate product. Engineers didn’t simply add one other motor and name it performed. Every little thing has been modified for higher efficiency. That is the entire bundle.

Nonetheless, that complete bundle additionally features a sky-high price ticket. Whereas the Tesla Mannequin S Plaid may be had for round $108,000, the Lucid Air Sapphire is $249,000. 

Don’t count on a day of efficiency driving instruction with that price ticket both, though the corporate might change that coverage in some unspecified time in the future. After spending a little bit of time within the automobile, I might extremely recommend that you just avail your self of some instruction. Certain, the torque vectoring can get you out of loads of hassle, however this automobile responds to your inputs and you might be possible not as infallible behind the wheel as you suppose.

As for charging, I don’t get to strive it out myself, however the 118-kwh battery can obtain a peak quick cost energy of 300 kw—good for some very fast road-trip fast-charging. The onboard charger can settle for 19.2 kw so charging at dwelling ought to be fairly speedy as properly.

Simply final month Lucid inked a cope with Aston Martin to provide the British automaker with its next-generation electrical motors. Will the Sapphire coax extra producers into partnerships with Lucid? Lickfold is a bit cagey once I ask him, saying solely: “We’ll need to see received’t we? Simply watch this area.”

Reservations for the Lucid Air Sapphire will probably be reside on August 23 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.  

—Emme Corridor

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