Tesla reset the bar for high performance cars when it launched the Model S all the way back in 2012. Almost as soon as customers got their hands on them, videos started appearing on YouTube of the big EV taking high-end exotic ICE cars to school — and that instant-on torque and off-the-line acceleration has become a big part of the identity of electric cars since. So, when Lucid revealed their 1,111 HP Lucid Air Dream Performance a while back, Tesla responded with the even more powerful Model S Plaid.
Now, it’s Lucid’s turn again — and they’ve come out swinging with a 1,200 HP, three-motor version of the Dream they’re calling “Sapphire.”
Tesla Corsa Country
If there was any doubt of Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson’s intentions with Sapphire, they were blasted out of the water by the company’s choice of venue for the official photoshoot: Laguna Seca.
A prototype of the Tesla Model S Plaid famously set some sedan records there in testing, while a modified production car — built by my friends at Unplugged Performance and driven by hot shoe Randy Pobst — set even more records, beating the best time set by a Porsche GT2 RS in the process. The track has, in other words, become hallowed ground to the Tesla faithful, and Lucid’s marketing team just drew a line in the sand. A line they’re backing up with a hot shoe of their own, in the form of “original” Top Gear Stig, Mr. Ben Collins. (!)
You can catch some early video of Ben whipping the Sapphire around Laguna Seca, below. It doesn’t tell us the time set by the car, but it seems pretty close to 1:28 by my counting — how does it seem to you? Watch the video, read the official press release (below that), then let us know what you think of the new Lucid in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Lucid Air Sapphire | Prototype on Track
Introducing Sapphire: The Pinnacle of Electric Performance
Introducing the Sapphire brand from Lucid, with the Lucid Air Sapphire, the world’s first luxury electric super-sports sedan
- Lucid Air Sapphire features three motors, carbon-ceramic brakes, aerodynamic package, new sport seats, and track-tuned suspension for a sublime driver-focused sporting experience
- Sub-two seconds 0-60 mph, sub-four seconds 0-100 mph, sub-nine seconds quarter mile, and top speed exceeding 200 mph
- Production begins in first half of 2023
NEWARK, Calif. — Lucid Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: LCID), setting new standards with the longest-range, fastest-charging electric car on the market with the award-winning Lucid Air, today introduced Sapphire, Lucid’s new ultra-high-performance brand, led by the new Lucid Air Sapphire — the world’s first fully electric luxury super-sports sedan.
“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,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Group. “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.”
“Sapphire is the embodiment of what ultra-high-performance luxury means to Lucid,” said Derek Jenkins, SVP of Brand and Design, Lucid Group. “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.”
Lucid Air Sapphire: The World’s First Luxury Electric Super Sedan
At the heart of Lucid Air Sapphire lies a three-motor powertrain — the first from Lucid — featuring a new twin motor rear-drive unit and a single motor front-drive unit.
“With three state-of-the-art electric motors — all developed and manufactured in-house by Lucid — Lucid Air Sapphire reaches an entirely new level of performance,” said Eric Bach, SVP of Product and Chief Engineer, Lucid Group. “And because a three-motor Lucid Air was always part of the development program, it retains all the strengths of Lucid Air variants already on the market — including limo-like rear legroom, a voluminous trunk and frunk, and impressive efficiency.”
These technically innovative electric motors incorporate Lucid’s microjet stator cooling and wave winding. The twin rear-drive unit also introduces new heat exchanger technology and heightened coolant flow rate. The battery system is also upgraded for higher power and more precise thermal logic.
As expected, Lucid Air Sapphire’s three-motor powertrain delivers even more horsepower than the car’s dual-motor siblings, including the 1,050-hp Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance. With over 1,200 hp, Lucid Air Sapphire is not only the most powerful electric sedan in the world, it is the most powerful sedan in the world.
With this vast power and the enhanced delivery afforded by the twin rear-drive unit, Lucid Air Sapphire will accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in less than two seconds, from zero to 100 mph in less than four seconds, and the standing quarter mile in under 9 seconds. These figures are achievable with no extra-cost equipment upgrades or protracted preconditioning routines. Additionally, massive carbon ceramic disc brakes come as standard, endowing Air Sapphire with a stopping power to match its prodigious performance.
Final horsepower ratings will be announced later, along with instrumented demonstrations of the incredible performance capabilities of the vehicle.
Performance in Perfect Harmony: Track-Capable Handling and Braking as Standard
As with other Lucid Air variants, Lucid’s engineers followed a holistic approach to development of the first Sapphire model. In practice, this meant devoting exacting attention to every facet of performance.
“Our aim with this, our first Sapphire model, is to complement the exceptional powertrain with sharper, more responsive driving dynamics and increased body control,” said David Lickfold, Director of Chassis and Vehicle Dynamics, Lucid Group. “At the same time, it was important to retain the exceptional ride quality for which Lucid Air has come to be known.”
Lucid Air Sapphire features stiffer front and rear springs, unique damper settings, stiffer bushings, and a unique tuning for ABS, traction, stability control, and electronic power steering. Standard carbon ceramic brakes provide exceptional stopping power and contribute to Lucid Air Sapphire’s endurance in high-performance driving. This advanced chassis setup is conceived to maximize the benefits of the torque-vectoring capabilities of the three-motor powertrain, as well as the wider, more aggressive wheels and tires. The car rides on ultra-high performance staggered Aero Sapphire wheels, with specially developed Michelin PS4S tires, sized 265/35R20 at front and 295/30R21 in the rear. These unique wheels also feature removable carbon-fiber aero disk wheel covers, which further optimize the aerodynamic efficiency of the car.
In addition to delivering prodigious power to the rear of the vehicle, the twin rear-drive unit allows for torque vectoring that extends the capabilities of the car beyond that achievable with a passive all-wheel-drive system.
For example, the twin rear-drive unit can effectively pivot the rear of the vehicle, providing torque to the rear wheels in opposite directions to promote either turn-in or straight-line stability — similar to a brake-based setup and a rear-wheel steering system, but faster, quieter, and more seamless. In tight corners, the system is able to apply regenerative braking on the inside wheel while powering the outside, greatly enhancing vehicle turn-in rotation and with much quicker response times than rear-wheel steering systems.
The benefits for drivers are wide-reaching, with improvements to turn-in, cornering balance across all speeds, corner exit, and high-speed stability and disturbance rejection. The driving experience differs across drive modes to give multiple characters in conjunction with steering, suspension, powertrain, and brake settings.
A New Shade of Speed: Sapphire Design, Inside and Out
Lucid Air Sapphire is designed to be as functional as it is beautiful.
Special attention has been given to refining the aerodynamic character of the body for Lucid Air Sapphire. The outcome of this effort is a balance between added downforce, which enhances vehicle stability at higher speeds, and reducing drag, which affects both performance and efficiency.
The launch of the Sapphire brand from Lucid also marks the introduction of a new Sapphire Blue exterior paint, a radiant color that will be exclusive to Sapphire vehicles. Initially, all Lucid Air Sapphires will be finished exclusively in the new Sapphire Blue color to mark the brand introduction.
Lucid Air Sapphire is augmented with the recently announced Stealth Look as standard, bringing a more sinister, sporting character to the exterior of the vehicle.
The cabin of Lucid Air Sapphire extends the purposeful beauty of the exterior with a new interior theme called Sapphire Mojave. This includes new highly bolstered 18-way power sport seats, upholstered in black leather trimmed with black Alcantara and Sapphire Blue contrast stitching. Though designed for spirited driving, the seats still provide decadent comfort, with heating, cooling and massage functionality. The headrest showcases a debossed Lucid bear logomark, one of the icons of the Lucid brand identity reflecting the California origins of the brand. Dash and doors are decorated with Mojave darkwood veneers, while the steering wheel and upper roof structure for the standard Glass Canopy roof are trimmed in black Alcantara.
Lucid Air Sapphire also features a unique Sapphire-themed on-screen display, with specially configured drive modes and performance settings.
The Future is Faster
Lucid Air Sapphire makes its public debut at the Quail Lodge during Monterey Car Week. Lucid Air Sapphire will be offered as a limited-production model, with deliveries planned in the US and Canada next year. The price is $249,000 USD and $325,000 CAD1. Reservations go live Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 9 AM Pacific time.
Information about availability for markets outside of North America will be communicated in the future.
What’s more, Lucid Air Sapphire is just the beginning, representing the launch of an entirely new performance-focused brand within Lucid. Additional Sapphire models will be available for all Lucid models moving forward, continuing to set new standards for what luxury performance can look and feel.
Source | Images: Lucid Motors.
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