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Auto review: 2023 Lucid Air soars past the luxury EV market

Larry Printz, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News


Of the thousands of cars, trucks and pickups I have reviewed in 28 years, there are few that have elicited that short, simple declaration. But it aptly sums up the week I spent with the Lucid Air Grand Touring.

Designed in California and built in Arizona, the Air Grand Touring throws down the gauntlet against the industry’s finest electric vehicles, including the Audi E-Tron GT, BMW i7, Mercedes-Benz EQS and Tesla Model S.

Ah, yes, the Model S; it’s the Air’s main competitor, one that figures prominently in the car's creation. Lucid’s founder, CEO and Chief Technical Officer Peter Rawlinson previously served as the chief engineer on the Model S. Now helming his own company, he has developed a far better luxury sedan.

The Lucid Air lineup starts with the Air Pure at $87,400. Its single electric motor generates 480 horsepower and 410 miles of range to the rear wheels, although dual motors and all-wheel drive are available for an additional $5,500. Then comes the Air Touring, priced from $107,400, with dual motors and all-wheel drive, 620 horsepower and 425 miles of range. Next comes the Touring at $138,000, with 819 horsepower and 516 miles of range. Its brawnier brother, the Grand Touring Performance, ups the ante to 1,050 horsepower and 446 miles of range. At the top of the range is the Air Sapphire, which, as its name suggests, is a gem of an EV, with more than 1,200 horsepower and a price of $249,000. All-wheel drive is standard on all but the base Pure model, which comes with a single electric motor and rear-wheel drive.

Sound good? Wait, it gets better. The Lucid Air boasts some of the fastest recharge times of any EV, with 300 miles in as little as 21 minutes available via a 350-kilowatt public quick charger. Even with slower chargers, it didn’t take long for the Lucid Air Grand Touring to return to a full state of charge. Even a Level 2 charger provides the Air with 75 miles in an hour.


And it’s all for a good cause, as the Lucid Air Grand Touring delivers the sort of incredibly quick acceleration you’d expect from the world’s premiere sports cars. But refreshingly, it’s a low-slung sedan, not an SUV, so drivers can take advantage of its responsive driveline in any of the Air’s three driving modes: Smooth, Swift and Sprint. Of the three, Smooth best suits the Air, as it still delivers quick acceleration but has a character that enhances the utter quiet and vibration-free comfort that battery-electric EVs offer.

Yes, Swift mode is noticeably livelier, and Sprint turns off the advanced driving assistance features while providing maximum performance. Both provide the instant rush of torque that proves so beguiling, with the test car reaching 60 mph in a scant three seconds. Opting for the pricier Grand Touring Performance improves this to 1,050 horsepower, a 168-mph top speed, and a 2.6-second 0-60 mph time.

Being in a hurry is rarely so satisfying.

The solid aluminum body structure provides a superb foundation for fast, fuss-free travel. It’s quiet is amazing, its handling is astounding for a car weighing in at 5,236 pounds, with steering that’s precise and seamless, delivering a true luxury sedan driving experience. Bump absorption is impressively luxurious without excess body motion. Road and tire noise are nonexistent.


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