1200 + -HP Lucid Air Sapphire EV will have amazing acceleration

  • Electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid unveiled a high-performance version of its Air Sapphire luxury sedan today during Monterey Car Week in California.
  • This newer version with three engines will produce more than 1,200 hp, compared to 1,111 hp for aero performance.
  • Sapphire will start at around $250,000. Orders will be taken from August, and production will begin in mid-2023.

    Lucid hasn’t given an exact number yet, but the Air Sapphire, the new performance version of the Air, is the most powerful sedan in the world.

    Even without a final horsepower number to promote, the company is confident in the claim, because Lucid toppled its own car off a pedestal.

    With more than 1,200 horsepower, the Air Sapphire outperforms the Air Performance with 1,111 horsepower. The powertrain difference between the two is Sapphire’s new dual rear end. Lucid doubled down on its own compact engine, and the twin-engine setup was installed into the existing rear subframe without any modification to the vehicle. Having two motors driving the rear wheels allows torque to be channeled, which Lucid claims helps make the car look smaller and lighter than it is. Up front, the 670-horsepower engine from Air Performance adds to the acceleration.

    To 60 mph in less than two seconds

    Lucid makes some shocking acceleration claims. According to the company, 60 mph will be gone in less than two seconds, 100 falls before the stopwatch hits four seconds, and we’re told to expect the quarter mile in under 9.0 seconds. Keep at it and the Sapphire will reach a top speed of over 200 mph.

    For comparison, the fastest Tesla Model S Plaid we tested hit 60 mph in 2.1 seconds, 100 mph in 4.3, and overhauled the quarter in 9.4 seconds.

    Lucid tells us that accelerations can be done repeatedly without the need for long cool-downs. Maximum acceleration will come via a mode that sets the battery pack up for straight-line speed. If the Sapphire is as fast as the company says, it will overtake the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport.

    To keep speed and power in check, the Sapphire comes with a retuned suspension that has new springs, anti-skew bars and damper tuning. New suspension joints increase the front track width by 12mm, and the rear track adds 24mm. Tire widths are high enough to require small fender flares. Michelin crafted the sapphire Pilot Sport 4S tire that has a low-roll-resistance compound inside the tire and a Cup 2-like material on the outside for improved grip. Front tires range from 245 to 265, and rear tires range from 265 to 295.

    These tires are wrapped with wider forged wheels designed to increase airflow to the massive carbon-ceramic brakes, which measure 16.5 inches at the front and 11.8 inches at the rear. A 10-piston caliper pushes forward, with a four-piston caliper clamping the rear rotors. For drivers who will primarily use the Sapphire on the street, Lucid will offer a disc-like wheel cover to increase driving range and aerodynamic efficiency.

    Range has yet to be determined, but Lucid clearly wants to beat its closest competitor, the 396-mile Model S Plaid. The battery is 118.0 kWh straight from other Air models. Aside from the fender flares that bulge a bit, the only other external changes are the large duckbill spoiler that Lucid says creates net downforce. The diffuser and smooth underbody are a transition from other aero models.

    Lucid Motors

    To give it a mean look, the sapphire gets the newly available Stealth Look standard. It’s not a killer opaque look but a mix of black and dark gray exterior trim pieces. Inside, there are new sports seats with larger side bolsters and an integrated headrest. An Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel faces the driver, and the digital instrument panel is now blue.

    The initial production Sapphire will have a blue exterior with a gray/black Tahoe interior.

    The price is set at $249,000, a figure that does not include the destination. Orders begin August 23, and customers will be required to put in $24,900 for a place on the list. Sapphire will begin rolling off the assembly line sometime before the middle of next year, the first of which is expected to be a performance brand within Lucid. So, even if it’s as quiet as other Lucid models, the Sapphire is set to make a lot of noise.

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