Last week, Lucid Group unveiled the Air Sapphire tri-motor performance sedan at the Monterey Car Week as its new flagship model.
With more than 1,200 horsepower from three electric motors—two of which drive the rear axle—the Air Sapphire promises some ludicrous (pun intended) performance specs that suggest it will beat the Tesla Model S Plaid on the quarter-mile and on a race course.
Lucid claims the Air Sapphire, which it describes as the "world's first luxury electric super-sports sedan," does 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds (there's no mention of a 1ft rollout), 0-100 mph in under 4 seconds, covers the quarter-mile in under 9 seconds and exceeds 200 mph (322 km/h)—all in factory specification without any modifications.
Mind you, at $249,000, it costs roughly $110,000 more than the Model S Plaid, making the Tesla look really good when it comes to bang for the buck. In fairness, the Lucid Air Sapphire brings way more than just added power compared to the Plaid; it also features carbon-ceramic brakes, an aerodynamic body kit, track-tuned suspension and staggered wheels shod with specially developed Michelin PS4S tires sized 265/35R20 at front and 295/30R21 in the rear.
Gallery: 2024 Lucid Air Sapphire
But how does it handle on the racetrack? Ryan from The Kilowatts YouTube channel had the chance to experience that from the passenger seat as Lucid invited him to ride shotgun in an Air Sapphire prototype the next day after the unveiling. The development car was driven on the Laguna Seca track by none other than Ben Collins, a.k.a. The Stig.
Ryan was really impressed with the Air Sapphire, commenting that the high-performance electric sedan felt "incredibly powerful yet balanced." While fighting the G forces that tried to remove him from the seat, Ryan noticed that "the acceleration pulled hard well after highway speeds and the brakes came on swiftly and aggressively."
The car felt competent, compliant and capable with Ben Collins behind the wheel, he added. Interestingly, nothing about the Lucid Air Sapphire felt harsh or out of control, which is saying something because Ben had Traction control turned off for the two laps of Laguna Seca. This is testimony to the clever torque vectoring enabled by the two electric motors on the rear axle.
Ryan also noticed that there was a laptop plugged into the trunk collecting data for the engineering team on-site, which likely indicates that Lucid is fine-tuning the vehicle prior to its launch early next year.
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time for the passenger to experience a hot lap or a 0-60 mph launch, but the experience convinced him the Lucid Air Sapphire is a track-ready machine.