- EV maker Lucid revealed an even higher-performance version of its Air luxury sedan, the Air Sapphire, today during Monterey Car Week in California.
- This latest, three-motor version will make more than 1200 horsepower, compared with 1111 hp for the Air Performance.
- The Sapphire will be priced starting around $250,000. Orders will be taken starting in August, with production starting in mid-2023.
Lucid hasn’t nailed down 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 tout, the company is confident of the claim, because Lucid knocked its own car off the pedestal.
At over 1200 horsepower, the Air Sapphire pulls ahead of the 1111-hp Air Performance. The difference in the powertrain between the two is the Sapphire’s new dual-motor rear end. Lucid doubled up on its own compact motor, and the two-motor setup bolts up into the existing rear subframe without any modification to the car. Having two motors driving the rear wheels allows for torque vectoring, which Lucid claims helps make the car seem smaller and lighter than it is. Up front, the 670-hp motor from the Air Performance adds to the acceleration.
To 60 MPH in Less Than Two Seconds
Lucid is making 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 a sub-9.0-second quarter-mile time. Keep on it and the Sapphire will reach a top speed well over 200 mph.
For comparison, the quickest Tesla Model S Plaid we tested hit 60 mph in 2.1 seconds, 100 mph in 4.3, and passed the quarter in 9.4 seconds.
Lucid tells us that acceleration runs can be done repeatedly without requiring a long cool-down. Max acceleration will come via a mode that will prepare the battery pack for straight-line speed. If the Sapphire is as quick as the company says it is, it’ll outaccelerate a Bugatti Chiron Super Sport.
To keep the speed and power in check, the Sapphire comes with a retuned suspension that has new springs, anti-roll bars, and damper tuning. New suspension knuckles increase front track width by 12 mm, and the rear track adds 24 mm. Tire width goes up enough to require small fender flares. Michelin formulated a Pilot Sport 4S tire for the Sapphire that has a low-rolling-resistance compound on the inside of the tire and a Cup 2–like material on the outside to improve grip. Front tires go from 245 to 265, and the rears widen from 265 to 295.
Those tires wrap wider forged wheels that have been designed to maximize airflow to the massive carbon-ceramic brakes, which measure 16.5 inches up front and 11.8 inches in back. A 10-piston caliper does the squeezing up front, with a four-piston caliper clamping the rear rotors. For drivers who will primarily use their Sapphire on the street, Lucid will offer a disc-like wheel cover to increase driving range and aerodynamic efficiency.
Range hasn’t been set yet, but Lucid clearly wants to beat its closest competitor, the 396-mile Model S Plaid. The 118.0-kWh battery is straight from the other Air models. Aside from the fender flares that bulge out slightly, the only other exterior changes are the large duckbill-like spoiler that Lucid says creates a net downforce. The diffuser and smooth underbody carry over from the other Air models.
To give it a mean appearance, the Sapphire gets the newly available Stealth Look standard. It’s not a murdered-out, blacked-out look but rather a blend of black and dark gray exterior trim pieces. Inside, there are new sport seats that have larger side bolsters and an integrated headrest. An Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel faces the driver, and the digital gauge cluster now has a blue hue.
Initial production of the Sapphire will all have a blue exterior with the gray/black Tahoe interior.
Pricing is set at $249,000, a number that does not include destination. Orders begin August 23, and customers will be required to put down $24,900 for a spot on the list. The Sapphire will begin rolling off the assembly line at some time before the middle of next year and is the first of what is expected to be a performance brand within Lucid. So, even if it’s as quiet as the other Lucid models, the Sapphire is set to make a lot of noise.
3-Motor Lucid Air Sapphire Super-Sports EV Debuts With Over 1,200 HP
A three-motor Lucid Air variant aimed squarely at Tesla’s Model S Plaid is no big surprise, but Sapphire’s performance claims are staggering.
California-based electric automaker Lucid announced a new three-motor variant of its flagship Lucid Air luxury sedan today. The Lucid Air Sapphire is the first model in Lucid’s new Sapphire performance sub-brand and is said to boast over 1,200 horsepower, which makes it the most powerful production sedan in the world.
Lucid has been teasing big news this week with social media posts themed around the number 3, so the three-motor spec aimed squarely at Tesla’s Model S Plaid is no big surprise. (In fact, the automaker previewed thein 2020..) However, the level of claimed performance is staggering and Sapphire’s position as a performance brand — not just a model — implies that perhaps high-power variants of and the Gravity SUV are also in the works.
The Air Sapphire’s rear axle now features a pair of 500-kilowatt electric motors, each with its own power unit and custom transaxle reduction gear set. The front wheels share the same single drive unit as the Air Dream and Grand Touring Performance models, making 670-horsepower.
All in, Lucid states the Sapphire will make over 1,200 horsepower — enough power to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds, to 100 in under 4 seconds and finish the quarter-mile in under 9 seconds. Top speed is stated at over 200 mph. Range estimates for the high-power model haven’t yet been updated, but we expect to learn more closer to next year’s launch.
Two motors on the rear axle allowed Lucid’s engineers to take the Air’s torque vectoring to the next level with fully independent positive and negative torque application per wheel. That means that the Sapphire can apply power to the outside wheel while slowing the inside wheel with regenerative braking mid-turn, adding yaw to help rotate the sedan more dynamically.
Lucid Air Sapphire Debuts With 1,200 HP Three-Motor Powertrain
Speaking of brakes, the Air Sapphire’s friction brakes see a substantial upgrade to help the luxury sedan cope with the demands of its over 5,200 pounds of mass at breakneck speeds. Up front, 16.5-inch carbon ceramic discs are gripped by 10-piston (yes, 10!) calipers while the rear axle features 11.8-inch carbon discs and four-pot calipers.
The stoppers can be peeped between the spokes of high-performance wheels with staggered sizing, 20 inches up front and larger, wider 21s at the rear. The wheels are designed to optimize brake cooling and come with a bit of an efficiency hit, but Lucid will ship the Air Sapphire with special carbon-fiber aero discs that can be fitted to the wheels with a simple center locking nut to optimize aerodynamic slipperiness on the road.
In the same vein, rides on specially designed multicompound Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that combine low rolling resistance rubber for the center treads to preserve straight line range and sticky Cup rubber on the shoulders to promote maximum cornering adhesion as the Air rolls into a turn.
The Air Sapphire’s wider stance is accommodated by 0.5-inch wider front over-fenders and 0.9-inch wider rears. The static coil suspension sits lower, while the adaptive dampers and power steering system have been retuned for the higher handling limits and race track duty. Visually, the Sapphire further distinguishes itself with carbon fiber wing mirror caps, front chin spoiler and a rear ducktail spoiler — the latter two bits being aerodynamically functional. Unique Sapphire Blue paint, California Bear and Sapphire brand iconography and Lucid’s recently announcedare all also standard.
Inside, the Sapphire debuts Lucid’s new sport seats with deeper hip and midsection bolstering and grippy Alcantara upholstery. Sapphire Blue is echoed in the seat and steering wheel stitching, the ambient lighting around the cabin and in a unique theme for Lucid’s infotainment suite. Users will also find a new Sapphire drive mode, in addition to Smooth and Swift, that unlocks the maximum performance with sub-settings optimized for straight-line speed, road or track use. The system also features new lap timer and data logging functions.
Well-heeled EV enthusiasts looking for the highest-performing electric sedan that money can expect to drop $249,000 on the Lucid Air Sapphire when it goes into production in the first half of 2023. Orders open for the new line-topping model beginning at 9 a.m. PT on Aug. 23.
Lucid Air Sapphire Three-Motor Debuts With Over 1,200 HP For $249K
It can allegedly hit 60 mph in less than 2 seconds and cover the quarter-mile in less than 9 seconds.
The Lucid Air Sapphire debuts as the brand’s new performance pinnacle at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, during Monterey Car Week. With three electric motors making over 1,200 horsepower (895 kilowatts), the model has the Tesla Model S Plaid directly in its sights.
The Air Sapphire has an electric motor powering each rear wheel, in addition to a third motor turning the front axle. For now, the company only says the output is over 1,200 hp. The final number comes later along along with instrumented demonstrations of the car’s performance abilities.
Lucid projects that the Air Sapphire can hit 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in less than 2.0 seconds. The sprint to 100 mph (161 kph) should take less than 4.0 seconds. The company estimates the quarter-mile sprint to require less than 9.0 seconds. The automaker notes that no “protracted preconditioning routines” are necessary to achieve this performance.
The two motors at the rear offer advantages beyond just straight-line acceleration. They can send torque in different directions to each wheel, which allows for sharper turn-in when cornering. If a turn is especially tight, then the drivetrain controller brakes the inside wheel while directing power to the outside.
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To keep this tech running, the rear motors use new heat exchangers and a higher coolant flow rate. Lucid says the battery system has higher power and more precise thermal logic, but the company’s announcement doesn’t offer any specifics about the tweaks.
The Sapphire has stiffer springs and suspension bushings, in addition to revised damper settings, in comparison to other variants of the Air. The settings for the anti-lock brakes, traction, stability control, and electronic power steering are also different. The vehicle comes standard with carbon-ceramic brake discs.
The Sapphire rides on wheels with five pairs of spokes with a U-shaped design. A carbon-fiber aero disc attaches to the outside of them. The Michelin PS4S tires measure 20 inches in front and 21 inches at the back.
At launch, the sedan comes exclusively in the new color Sapphire Blue and has the Stealth Look package as standard. The interior has heavily bolstered sport seats, but they still have 18-way power adjustment, heating, ventilation, and massage functions.
Lucid Air Sapphire begins production in the first half of 2023, and the company begins taking reservations for them on August 23. Prices in the United States start at $249,000 before an undisclosed destination price.
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