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Behind the Wheel (and Hanging on for Life) in the 1,200-HP 2024 Lucid Air Sapphire

Zero to 60 mph in 1.89 seconds? Yeehaw!

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire front
  • Sapphire is the new ultra high-performance variant of the Lucid Air electric sedan.
  • Output stands at a cheeky 1,234 horsepower, giving this Air a 0-60 mph time of 1.89 seconds, according to Lucid.
  • The Air Sapphire is faster and has more range than a Tesla Model S Plaid, but it's also more than twice the price.

People may be all-in on Tesla, but I’ve been a fan of Lucid since it started selling the Air sedan in 2021. The car looks great, has plenty of luxury features and offers a massive amount of range, but with none of the bombast that comes with a car produced by ol’ Elon.

Now Lucid has stepped up the game, introducing a new performance spec dubbed the Sapphire. Although the moniker is just applied to the company’s one and only model for now, we'll eventually get Sapphire trims of future Lucid models as well.

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2024 Lucid Air Sapphire profile

My test drive is as quick as the car itself — I get just about 30 minutes behind the wheel — but it’s enough to tell me that this Sapphire trim is a force to be reckoned with. It turns the already powerful Air into a grand tourer worthy of being called a hypercar. Although this hypercar (ahem, hypersedan) will also let you take the kids to school and haul your groceries with ease. Heck, it'll even let you carry a 7-foot surfboard to the beach. Try that, Rimac!

Let’s get the specs out of the way. The Sapphire produces 1,234 horsepower and 1,430 lb-ft of torque from three motors — one on the front axle and two at the rear. The top speed is 205 miles per hour and it sports a 118-kWh battery good for an EPA-estimated range of 427 miles. It can reach a peak charging rate of 300 kW at a super high-speed charging station, or pull electrons in at home at 19.2 kW. Those numbers are so extraordinary I can’t believe I just typed them out.

But it’s the acceleration and torque vectoring system that sets the Lucid apart from anything on the road today, including the Tesla Model S Plaid. The Sapphire has Smooth, Swift, Sapphire and Track driving modes, with power being ramped up as I cycle through the modes. This test takes place on public roads, so Track mode is off the table. Fine by me. With this much power on tap, I want some nannies helping me, thanks so much.

I start in Smooth mode and give it the beans when I reach a straight away. Even with the reduced power and torque, my head snaps back and I’m at 60 miles per hour in what seems like an instant. Lucid says the Sapphire can accelerate to that magic number in just 1.89 seconds, and though I wasn’t at full throttle, I don’t doubt the claim.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire seats

Next I switch it up to Sapphire mode for a freeway on-ramp. David Lickfold, director of chassis and vehicle dynamics, is riding with me and he encourages me to go for it. I oblige, hitting the throttle before I’ve even straightened out my front wheels. Lucid says the car can hit 100 miles per hour in 3.84 seconds and, again, I have no reason to question that figure given the force with which the car rockets forward.

Even better, this thing is a corner carver. Yes, at over 5,000 pounds the Sapphire is a porker, but I can’t really feel that from behind the wheel. Lickfold tells me most of the torque vectoring happens at the rear, leaving the front tires to have one job: steer. Depending on what mode I’m in, the system will prioritize stability or turn-in. In Smooth mode the car is happy to turn at a quick clip, but it’s much more nimble in Swift and Sapphire modes. Here the computers use a bit of regenerative braking on the inside rear wheel while pushing a touch more torque to the outside rear wheel. Further, the computers sort out the car faster than I ever could manually, monitoring the situation 1,000 times a second and making corrections to keep the car on my intended path. Oversteer and understeer are just gone. Combined with the quick steering ratio and instant electric torque, I feel like a goddess.

But it’s not just fancy computer systems. Lucid’s next-best hotrod, the Grand Touring Performance, produces 1,050 ponies and 921 lb-ft of torque. You can’t just add 200 more horsepower and over 500 lb-ft of torque and call it a day. Everything needs to be improved and the Sapphire is equipped with a whole new mechanical suspension system. The geometry is a bit different, resulting in a bit more negative camber at all four corners for maximum grip out of the Pilot Sport 4S tires. The rates in the springs and roll bars have been recalibrated and there are new bushings and dampers as well. In other words, the Sapphire has all the components it needs to take advantage of the increased power and torque.

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire dashboard

And after all this, the car is still usable as a daily driver. The frunk has 10 cubic feet of space and the trunk offers a cavernous 22 cubes. Fold the rear seats down and that’s where the surfboard goes. There is plenty of leg- and headroom in the back seat, and the front is graced with numerous small storage cubbies, including one hidden behind the lower infotainment screen.

Oh yes, the screens. The large dashboard is mostly for gauges, audio and navigation functions, with vehicle functions on the lower screen. However, features can be swiped down to the lower screen for the passenger to control. Thankfully, HVAC controls are still hard-press buttons, but you need to use that lower screen to change the steering wheel and side mirror positions as well as open the glovebox. This is the world now, y’all.

It would take a keen eye to spot the subtle changes on the outside of the Sapphire. The chrome is smoked, there are bits of carbon-fiber trim here and there, and the aero is more aggressive. The glass roof is 86-ed, replaced by a fixed aluminum roof. Currently the car is only offered in the Sapphire Blue Metallic, a color so deep and rich I’m not even mad about the lack of choices.

Of course, all this comes at a pretty penny. Lucid hopes to sell a few hundred units each year, to the tune of $250,575 (including destination and documentation charges) each. The good news is that’s the final price — there's no way to option it up — but it still may be a bridge too far when you can get a Model S Plaid that's only marginally slower for $110,130. Granted, the Plaid also doesn’t have as high a top speed nor does it have as much range. Further, the Plaid’s tri motors exist in a bit of isolation without an upgraded handling package to go with it.

Is the Lucid worth the extra coin? Look, I'm not your accountant, but if I were in the market for a five-person luxury grand-touring hypercar, I’d go with the Lucid. Power can not exist in a vacuum. The Lucid has the backbone to support its extraordinary speed.

Edmunds says

The Lucid Air Sapphire adds a prodigious amount of power to the already potent Lucid Air. Its roughly $250,000 price tag is steep, but it's also one of the quickest production vehicles in the world.