Lucid Motors’ (LCID) Air Sapphire could smoke Tesla’s Plaid and hold its own with the Rimac Nevera

0-60 mph in under two seconds, quarter mile in under nine, and a top speed over 200 mph. Lucid Motors continues to bolster its flagship Air EV by unveiling the new tri-motor Sapphire model at Monterey Car Week today.

Available next year, this new version is touting performance specs to solidify it as one of the fastest production EVs on the planet.

In case you’ve been living under a rock the past year, the Lucid Air sedan debuted last fall, beginning with the limited run Dream Edition model packing 1,111 horsepower. It was followed earlier this year with the Grand Touring, which included a welcomed surprise in the form of a Performance edition promising 446 miles of range, 1,050 horsepower, and 0-60 mph acceleration in 2.6 seconds.

Child’s play.

Although the relatively nascent automaker has had to manage production expectations multiple times since the Air’s SOP, it continues to push forward in EV innovation and possibly some new track records.

In addition to the Air Grand Touring Performance, Lucid has recently unveiled a new Stealth exterior, which will come available on the version above, as well as the Touring version of the Air scheduled for production next (eventually). Beautiful exteriors are nice, but blistering speed always take the cake.

After months of murmuring about a tri-motor version of the Air sedan, Lucid Motors ($LCID) has finally delivered. Although it lacks pop culture references to Spaceballs, the new Lucid Air Sapphire is packing some serious heat that cannot be ignored.

Lucid’s Air goes tri-motor with Sapphire

Lucid Motors officially debuted the new tri-motor Air at the Quail Lodge during Monterey Car Week this morning, sharing the details of a new Sapphire brand that Lucid says will be available as a ultra-high performance version of all its EV models going forward. Lucid Group CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson elaborated:

Last year, Lucid rocked the world with the launch of Lucid Air, a fusion of unsurpassed range, efficiency, superior driving dynamics, and interior space, uniquely enabled by our in-house technology. Today, with the introduction of the Sapphire line, we take the next logical step of advancement. Lucid Air Sapphire, being the very first Lucid product to bear the Sapphire name, builds upon our technical prowess to take electric high-performance on to next level. Sapphire represents the pinnacle of electric performance; finally achieving the performance that I’ve so long searched for. After painstaking development work, I am able to confirm Lucid Air Sapphire has achieved a satisfactory performance, and I trust the most discerning drivers will agree.

What sort of specs is Rawlinson talking about? For starters, over 1,200 horsepower – nearly 200 hp more than the Tesla Model S Plaid for comparison, but quite a bit less than the 1,800+ hp in the Rimac Nevara. With these numbers, Lucid is hailing the new tri-motor Air Sapphire “the most powerful sedan in the world.” All that said, Lucid Motors did say final horsepower ratings will be announced at a later date along with performance demonstrations (sign us up for that, thanks). Here’s the full rundown:

  • 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds (from a standstill)
  • 0-100 mph in under 4 seconds
  • Quarter mile in under 9 seconds
  • Top speed over 200 mph

Lucid shared that the figures above are achievable on the Air sedan with no extra-cost equipment upgrades or protracted preconditioning routines. While the third motor is the star of the Sapphire, it’s not the only upgrades the already stacked Air has received.

The new Lucid Air Sapphire features stiffer springs in the front and rear, unique damper settings, stiffer bushings, plus unique tuning for ABS, traction, and stability control. The new tri-motor version also comes standard with carbon ceramic brakes to provide the stopping power necessary for such high-performance driving.

The Sapphire’s advanced chassis setup will deliver torque-vectoring capabilities as well as the wider, more aggressive wheels and Michelin PS4S tires, all atop staggered Aero Sapphire wheels that feature removable carbon-fiber aero disk wheel covers (see below).

Also notice the new Sapphire Blue exterior paint, which has been introduced on the tri-motor air and should continue as the identifier for the new ultra-performance brand. Lucid Group SVP of brand and design Derek Jenkins spoke about it:

Sapphire is the embodiment of what ultra-high-performance luxury means to Lucid. Sapphire is among the most valued gemstones, prized for their brilliance, color, and hardness. Imperial Blue has long been the de facto national color for American motorsports teams engaged in international competitions. As Lucid’s dedicated ultra-high- performance brand, Sapphire references this history while setting new standards for innovation and technology

These unique design improvements extend beyond… or within the tri-motor Lucid Air Sapphire as well.

Lucid introduces new Sapphire Mojave interior theme

Moving into the cabin of Lucid’s latest iteration of the Air sedan offer a number of design upgrades to help justify its price tag (more on that later). This includes new 18-way power sport seats that are upholstered in black leather and trimmed with black Alcantara, accented with Sapphire Blue stitching. 

The headrests give a nod to the American automaker’s California roots, debossed with a bear logo. The dash and doors feature Mojave darkwood veneers, while the steering wheel and upper roof structures are also accented with black Alcantara. Have a gander.

Ok, so how much? You thought Plaid was expensive? Well, compared to the other Air models, Sapphire’s pricing soars up about as quickly as the vehicle itself at Laguna Seca.

It’s price is $249,000 ($325,000 CAD) with deliveries planned for both countries next year. Lucid Motors states this tri-motor Sapphire branded version of the Air will be produced as a limited production model, but to what numbers these EVs will be produced is unclear at this time.

Reservations for the new Air Sapphire go live this coming Tuesday, August 23 at 9 AM PDT. 

Electrek’s Take

I’ve been waiting for news of this EV since the Dream Edition event in Arizona last fall, when Peter Rawlinson told me Lucid was working on a tri-motor Air, and the speeds were preposterous. They are.

Early specs are exciting, but we will need to see some more specific numbers to truly give this sedan the speed crown for sedans. “Sub two-seconds” isn’t hearty enough to silence those who would argue the Model S Plaid is faster. On paper, Sapphire wins in horsepower, but Lucid failed to mention torque or range to truly compare the two.

Also Lucid has to figure out how to make vehicles for less money than it is spending to make them. Doubling the sale price is one way to do that.

At $250k, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Plaid, but significantly less than Rimac’s $2 million hypercar.

Either way, the Air Sapphire sounds like a serious contender, and I can’t wait to get a look at that new blue exterior up close… I wouldn’t mind testing that acceleration, either.

Does anyone have $249,000 I can borrow real quick?

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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