June 17, 2024
The 2023 Lucid Air: It’s powerful and plush, with an unbeatable 516-mile range

The 2023 Lucid Air: It’s powerful and plush, with an unbeatable 516-mile range

The 2023 Lucid Air luxury electric car is spacious, plush, powerful, and capable of traveling for a remarkable 516 miles on a single charge. Pricing starts at $87,400.

Captain Kirk’s U.S.S. Enterprise was pretty impressive, right? It had phasers, warp engines, and teleportation devices. Then came Jean-Luc Picard’s Enterprise, and suddenly Kirk’s ship looked like a ’57 Chevy by comparison.

Back here on Earth, the Lucid Air has pulled the same trick on the now 11-year-old Tesla TSLA, -1.46% Model S. Imagine if we had to buy a computer or a phone today whose tech was more than 10 years old. Relentless progress applies to electric vehicles as much as anything else. And Lucid LCID, -1.51% has grabbed a place at the forefront.

Ingenious engineering, attention to detail, high build quality, and a finely developed aesthetic sense are just some of the attributes Lucid is waving in the Air.

2023 Lucid Air pricing

The 2023 Lucid Air starts at $87,400. That’s for the Pure model with rear-wheel drive (RWD). A Grand Touring with the Performance upgrade adds up to almost $180K. And we’re looking at $250K for the super-powerful Sapphire.

Air Pure RWD $87,400
Air Pure AWD $92,900
Air Touring $107,400
Air Grand Touring $138,000
Air Grand Touring Performance $179,000
Air Sapphire $249,000

These are the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices and do not include the $1,650 factory-to-dealer delivery fee (destination charge).

Lucid also offers three years of free charging using the Electrify America network.

The most obvious rival is the Tesla Model S, from $90K. Mercedes-Benz has two luxury sedans in the game with the Mercedes-EQ EQE from $75K, plus the larger and more luxurious EQS from $104.4K. The Audi e-tron GT starts at $105K, the Porsche Taycan from $86.7K, and the BMW BMW, +0.87% i7 from $119.3K. It’s too soon to talk resale values, but given the technology and excellent ranges of the Lucid Air, we wouldn’t be surprised if it made a strong showing.

See: The all-new BMW i7: This futuristic, luxury electric sedan is a thrill to drive

What’s new for 2023

The Lucid Air Stealth

Lucid Motors

Following the launch of the Lucid Air last year, which included a couple of special editions, the 2023 lineup consolidates to Pure, Touring, and Grand Touring trims. This set of cars will eventually be bookended by the rear-drive Pure and the higher Sapphire trim, both anticipated later in 2023. Bi-directional charging (with the provision of using the Lucid Air as a power source) is also expected at some point.

Range, charging, and performance

Efficiency and energy density are watchwords in the Lucid camp. By maximizing these qualities, range is improved, costs can be reined in, and electric vehicles can expand their overall appeal.

Currently (pardon the pun), the shortest range of a 2023 Lucid Air is 410 miles. That’s in the all-wheel-drive Pure (this will change when the single-motor/rear-drive Pure comes along). Let’s compare that figure to the competition. The Model S can do 405 miles; Audi e-tron GT: 236 miles; EQE: 305 miles; EQS: 350 miles; Taycan: 242 miles; and the BMW i7 is capable of 318 miles.

You might like: The stylish 2023 Audi e-tron is all inspired Audi-ness

The Lucid Air Touring’s best figure is 425 miles, and the Grand Touring takes the electric cake with 516 miles. The high-adrenaline Grand Touring Performance comes in at 446 miles.

Lucid also claims super-quick charging times when using high-voltage DC fast chargers. The Pure and Touring can take on 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. That time is cut to 12 minutes for the Grand Touring. Impressive figures.

Acceleration is a beautiful thing in powerful electric cars. The Grand Touring Performance model sparks from standstill to 60 mph in an extremely rapid 2.6 seconds. Sure, the Tesla Model S Plaid is supposed to be a touch faster under certain conditions, but what’s a fraction of a second when the scenery is just a multicolored blur?

The Grand Touring makes the sprint in exactly 3 seconds. Add 0.4 of a second for the Touring (actually, it feels a heck of a lot faster than that using the launch mode) and 0.8 of a second to the Pure AWD’s time.

Lucid says the upcoming Air Sapphire will have three motors, more than 1,200 horsepower (making it the most powerful production sedan in the world, electric or otherwise), and will reach 60 mph in under two seconds.

Check out: The 2024 Volvo EX90: This understated, luxury electric SUV offers Volvo’s best in safety and design

Driving the 2023 Lucid Air

The Lucid Air

Lucid Motors

Comfortably fast is the short description of the 2023 Lucid Air. There’s no adaptive suspension, but the conventional shock absorbers are tuned well enough. This is most definitely a luxury car.

Yet it can also do the rapid acceleration thing that’s a specialty of modern electric vehicles. Driving modes are Smooth, Swift, and Sprint. The Air is probably much faster than it ever needs to be. We also noticed that it’s quiet, with just the shushing of the tires when zipping around corners. Not even any thumps or clunks when driving over awful surfaces.

The steering has a decent weight to it, with the car reacting precisely to inputs. And the brakes feel natural, with regeneration reducing how often the driver has to touch the left pedal. This seems like one of those areas where a lot of thought has gone into it, so drivers don’t have to think about it at all.

For phenomenal straight-line speed from standstill (please be responsible), put the Lucid Air in Sprint mode, keep your left foot firmly on the brake and, with the right foot, press the accelerator pedal and wait for a blue light shaped like a bear to appear in the instrument cluster.

Lucid uses a bear symbol to remind people of its California roots. The Air was designed in San Francisco, and the Mojave desert provided the inspiration for one of the interior color schemes.

Now, where were we? Oh yes, blue bear, flick left foot to one side, and try not to scream as the Air catapults forward.

Also see: Gone in a flash: It’s now or never for the fabulous chassis and glorious V-10 engine of the 2023 Audi R8

Agreeable interior

High-quality materials, many of them from sustainable sources, adorn the interior of the 2023 Lucid Air luxury electric sedan. Where a company like Tesla makes an extremely minimal cabin and migrates most functions onto a large touchscreen, Lucid’s approach isn’t quite so cold.

Some switchgear is retained, but it isn’t just that. It’s also the textures and muted colors, the feel of the real wood, and the clever positioning of the interior door release (hidden in the door pocket). Little details all add up to a generally pleasing experience.

The front seats could use more lateral support, especially in light of how fast this car can take corners. The Grand Touring’s seats address this issue.

The Air is remarkably spacious. There’s more than sufficient room for two 6-footers to sit behind another pair of 6-footers.

Although luggage is kind of slotted into the Lucid Air’s trunk rather than lowered from above, there’s still a decent amount of cargo space. And the extra stowage space under the hood beats any other electric vehicle. It has a dual-level arrangement, so anyone wanting to retrieve something small, like a charging cable, won’t have to dive in to fumble around for it.

Read more: This is how sublime luxury gets in the all-electric Lucid Air

High-style, low-drag exterior

For a car called the Air, it does a great job of slicing through it. Aerodynamic qualities are emphasized by a drag coefficient of 0.21, one of the lowest available. This is achieved in part by super-small headlights and special-design wheel covers, as well as sleek lines everywhere.

Matching the clamshell hood up front is a clamshell trunk lid, which is definitely unusual.

The Pure trim comes standard with a conventional metal roof, but the Touring and Grand Touring have a glass canopy, where the windshield and front part of the roof are all one large piece of glass. It makes the interior of the Air airy (sorry) while looking and feeling futuristic.

Our favorite features and tech

34-inch glass cockpit
This one-piece unit is split into three areas. On the far left are touch-sensitive virtual buttons for functions like wipers and lights. Behind the steering wheel is the digital driver information display. And on the other side is an infotainment touchscreen. All the displays in the Lucid Air are extremely high-resolution.

Second touchscreen
Set low in the center console is another touchscreen (measuring 12 inches on the diagonal) that handles functions like phone connectivity, seat settings, cabin temperature, etc. It’s all quite easy to negotiate.

Facial recognition
Cameras in the driver’s-side B-pillar and the instrument cluster can tell who’s about to get in and get going. Then, the car can adjust the settings accordingly.

Surreal-Sound Pro
Available as an option in lower-priced models and standard in the pricier trims, this is a 21-speaker system with Dolby Atmos, which is the new must-have audio tech creating superb clarity. Just like the batteries and motors, this system has been developed in-house.

DreamDrive Pro package
Optional in lower trims, standard in the Grand Touring, this bundle brings partial self-driving, a 360-degree camera system, and Blind Spot Display real-time video shown in the digital instrument cluster. Over-the-air updates could expand this package’s functionality.

Lidar
Light detection and ranging. This is just one of the systems the 2023 Lucid Air uses to perceive its surroundings and enhance its safety features.

Engine and transmission

Lucid has developed a modular battery system where buyers can sacrifice a little range for extra rear legroom or the other way around. Meanwhile, the proprietary electric motors are so small and light that one can fit into a roll-on suitcase, the type that’s often put into an airplane’s overhead locker.

Don’t think the Lucid Air is light on power, though. The Pure with all-wheel-drive (AWD) has 480 horsepower — bearing in mind that 500 horsepower has traditionally been the point where anything beyond is just plain silly. Welcome to the wacky Touring with 620 horsepower and the bonkers Grand Touring Performance generating 1,050 horsepower. The base Pure comes in rear-wheel drive, with AWD optional. AWD is standard on the higher trims.

Torque creates thrust, which is how most of us use our cars since we rarely get to run them at top speed. Each variant of the 2023 Lucid Air has plenty of that going on as well, way more than we typically see from combustion engines.

Air Pure AWD
Dual electric motors
480 combined horsepower
730 lb-ft of combined torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 141/140 MPGe (w/19-inch wheels), 121/120 (20-inch wheels)
EPA-estimated range: 410 miles (19-inch wheels), 384 miles (20-inch wheels)

Air Touring
Dual electric motors
620 combined horsepower
885 lb-ft of combined torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 141/140 MPGe (19-inch wheels), 121/120 MPGe (20/21-inch wheels)
EPA-estimated range: 425 miles (19-inch wheels), 384 miles (20/21-inch wheels)

Air Grand Touring
Dual electric motors
819 combined horsepower
885 lb-ft of combined torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 130/132 MPGe (19-inch wheels), 121/122 MPGe (20/21-inch wheels)
EPA-estimated range: 516 miles (19-inch wheels), 469 miles (20/20-inch wheels)

Grand Touring Performance
Dual electric motors
1,050 combined horsepower
921 lb-ft of combined torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 110/111 MPGe
EPA-estimated range: 446 miles

More Lucid Air fuel economy information is available on the EPA’s website.

4-Year/50,000-mile warranty

Lucid’s new-vehicle warranty is the same as most luxury marques — four years or 50,000 miles, whichever happens first. Powertrains and batteries are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.

KBB’s car review methodology.

This story originally ran on KBB.com. 

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