See this swoopy, all-electric sedan racing down the street and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was some futuristic auto show concept or an extra from Blade Runner 2049 with a grizzled Harrison Ford behind the wheel.
The gorgeous, sweeping arc of its all-glass roof. The towering waistline with more taut, tense muscles than Seabiscuit in his prime. The cool laser light show from its wafer-thin LEDs. This is the Lucid Air, the firstborn of Silicon Valley start-up Lucid Motors, run by the same Brit who engineered the Tesla Model S for Elon.
Currently, Lucid offers four—soon to be five—versions of the Model S–size Air. The range kicks off with the 480-hp Pure at $87,400 and soars to the upcoming Air Sapphire, with an insane 1,200-plus hp and quarter-of-a-million price tag.
The midrange Air Grand Touring (starting at $138,000) boasts two rather astonishing numbers. The first, 819, is the horsepower from its dual electric motors, which can deliver standstill to 60-mph acceleration in 3 seconds flat. Then there’s 516, which is the number of miles the Air can breeze along between charges—currently the longest range of any electric car. Find a 350kW high-speed charger and add 200 more miles in just 12 minutes.
The interior is as Jetsons-esque as the exterior. Because the entire roof is one piece of curved glass, it feels like you’re sitting in a huge bubble. But beware: Despite the tinting and metallic coating meant to reflect the heat, Florida-style sunshine will have you sweating like a polar bear in a sauna.
More wow factors include a dashboard dominated by a 34-inch floating display and a tablet in the center console that disappears at a touch to reveal a storage compartment. And the materials scream Scandinavian cool, with a contemporary mix of leathers, linens, and suede-like Alcantara accented by open-pore matte wood.
When was the last time you saw front seats a different color than those in the back? In the rear, there’s Merc S-Class legroom and a perfectly flat floor to add to the feeling of space. The seats themselves can fold to enlarge the trunk, which is reached via an opening that’s weirdly wide and narrow. Need more bag space? The front trunk (aka the frunk) is as big as a bathtub.
On the road, this Grand Touring Air makes a sensational, high-luxury sporting sedan. Naturally, it’s whisper quiet at anything other than low speeds, when the background whine from the motors intrudes. Squeeze the throttle, however, and it’s all mind-warping thrust.
Despite its 5,200-pound weight, the Air can scythe around curves like it’s running on invisible rails, with massive grip from the 21-inch tires and laser-like precision from the steering. And you can choose between three levels of electrical excitement: Comfort provides a smooth ride, Swift offers more volts and firmer suspension, and Sprint unleashes the Kraken and all 819 horseys.
But what about all those stories of so-so reliability, irritating software glitches, and sketchy customer support? Well, during my week with the car, it locked me out with the key inside, requiring a call to tech support for a remote unlock. Two days later it refused to come out of Park and into Drive, requiring a 55-minute software update that thankfully solved the issue. Remember, Tesla had the same kind of glitches with its Model S circa 2013.
It’s a concern, especially with a car costing almost $140,000. But there’s too much at stake at Lucid—and too much financial backing behind it—for the Air and upcoming Gravity SUV version not to succeed.
Roll the dice, take the gamble, and this remarkable piece of design and engineering will, hopefully, not disappoint.
Price: Grand Touring from $138,000
Engine: Twin electric motors
Power: 819 hp
Torque: 885 lb-ft
Range: 516 miles
0-60: 3.0 seconds
Top Spreed: 168 mph
Length/Width: 196/76 inches
Weight: 5,200 pounds
Why We Love It: Because it redefines the electric luxury sedan class with its breathtaking style and rocket ship performance.