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2024 Lucid Air Sapphire First Drive: The Power Isn't Even the Best Part

Still not convinced that performance EVs are a rockin' good time? Allow the 1,234-hp Lucid Air Sapphire to change your mind

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire driving
  • The Sapphire is the most extreme version of the Lucid Air, packing 1,234 horsepower and a claimed 1.9-second 0-to-60 mph time.
  • But this car isn't just about straight-line speed. The Air Sapphire can cut a rug like the best of 'em.
  • Of course, it isn't cheap: The Air Sapphire costs more than $200,000.

In my pre-Edmunds life, I got to take a Lucid Air Sapphire around the notoriously tricky Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. The experience was eye-opening — and not just because stomping the throttle caused the skin on my face to warp around my skull à la Ren & Stimpy blasting off into outer space.

Oh, sure, the Air Sapphire's 1,234 horsepower, 1,430 lb-ft of torque and claimed 1.9-second 0-to-60-mph time are out-of-this-world impressive on their own. But it's the way this thing whipped around Sonoma's Turn 7 hairpin and then shot through the Turn 8 and 8A esses that really made my heart palpitate. After a few laps, I was sold on the merits of Lucid's sport sedan. Err, make that super-sedan. Super-duper sedan. Super-duper-holy-crapola sedan. Seriously, folks; what a car.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire wheel

California Route 84 between Woodside and La Honda isn't quite as hilarious/treacherous as Sonoma Raceway, but man, it's still one of the best roads the Golden State has to offer. And it's another place where the Sapphire can totally rip your face off, if you let it.

Do you feel every one of the Air Sapphire's 5,336 pounds while diving into series after series of sharp corners? Yep. Do you care? Not at all. Lucid's tri-motor setup fits a pair of e-motors on the rear axle that can vector torque side to side faster than your brain can even comprehend what's happening. This isn't a brake-based system; Lucid instead applies negative torque where necessary to rein in a slipping wheel and virtually shrink the Air's wheelbase. Get on the throttle too early while coming out of a turn and the torque redistributes to keep the rear end from getting too squirrely. Yes, you can disable traction control (mostly) and hang the tail out for controlled slides. But I'll leave those antics for Sonoma. Play nice on public roads, pretty please.

Bilstein adaptive dampers, stronger anti-roll bars, retuned power steering and stiffer springs — +17% up front, +25% out back — are some of the Sapphire's headline changes. Lucid also gave this car increased negative camber for better composure, and the Sapphire's staggered 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels are wrapped in special Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires designed specifically for this car. It's a neat trick: The tires have a hybrid construction where the middle tread is like that of a standard Pilot Sport 4S, but the shoulders are the same as a more hardcore Pilot Sport Cup 2. This best-of-both-worlds construction allows for better track performance without sacrificing on-road comfort. On Route 84, the Sapphire is comfortable and compliant as can be.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire interior

Weighty steering with sharp turn-in is a Lucid Air hallmark, amplified in the Sapphire. Strong regenerative braking is also part of the package, augmented by carbon-ceramic stoppers that bring the hefty Sapphire down from a halt with impeccable quickness and stability. The best thing I can say about the Air Sapphire is that it never feels hyperactive or artificial — sure, there's insane power on tap, but it's always delivered on the driver's terms. You can feel everything happening at road level without worry about the Air getting away from you. And don't worry about throwing it into that rutted part of the decreasing-radius corner — the suspension will neatly dispatch such an uncouth imperfection and let the Sapphire keep on haulin' strong.

The Air Sapphire could have half as much power and it'd still be an absolute riot. The sedan's overall balance and handling are that stinkin' good.

Even better: The Sapphire's performance doesn't tank its range. Sure, drive it like a banshee and your mileage will suffer, but the EPA says an Air Sapphire can go 427 miles when its 118-kWh battery pack is fully charged; we look forward to confirming this on the Edmunds EV Range Test (assuming we can handle averaging 40 mph in a car so spirited). Plus, the Air can DC fast-charge up to 300 kW — assuming you can find a station that's rated as such ... and working, anyway.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire driving

Naturally, the Lucid Air Sapphire isn't even remotely cheap, priced from $250,500 including $1,500 for destination. But at least that gets you Lucid's absolute best interior trimmings, with heavily bolstered seats, Alcantara trim, a premium stereo and one of the best-looking cabins in the business. Talk about a total package.

Edmunds says

Whether or not the Air Sapphire is "worth it" is beside the point; nobody's spending a quarter of a million dollars on a car because it's a good value. Instead, a vehicle like this is bought because of its capabilities, its credentials and how good it makes you feel. On that last point alone, this car might cost $250,000, but after a long drive on a great road, you'll feel like a trillion bucks.