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Lucid Launches New Performance Brand ‘Sapphire' with a 1,200 Horsepower, Tri-Motor Version of the Lucid Air Sedan

Lucid Launches New Performance Brand ‘Sapphire' with a 1,200 Horsepower, Tri-Motor Version of the Lucid Air Sedan

Author: Eric Walz   

Luxury electric automaker Lucid Group has launched a new ultra-high performance brand named Sapphire with the unveiling of a sport-focused, yet luxurious tri-motor version of the Lucid Air sedan dubbed the Sapphire. The Air Sapphire sets the bar high for Lucid's competitors, including Tesla.

The Lucid Air Sapphire made its public debut at the Quail Lodge as part of Monterey Car Week in California. Lucid says the Air Sapphire is the most powerful sedan in the world.

The launch of the Sapphire brand from Lucid also marks the introduction of a new Sapphire Blue exterior paint that will be exclusive to Sapphire brand vehicles. The high-performance sedan is augmented with the company's recently announced "Stealth Look" option for the Air sedan, which comes standard on the Sapphire. Initially, all Lucid Air Sapphires will be finished exclusively in the new Sapphire Blue color to mark the brand's launch.

Lucid says the Air Sapphire is just the beginning. Additional Sapphire models will be available for all Lucid models moving forward, including for the company's upcoming SUV.

"Sapphire is the embodiment of what ultra-high-performance luxury means to Lucid," said Derek Jenkins, SVP of Brand and Design, Lucid Group.

The tri-motor Lucid Air Sapphire features a new twin motor rear-drive unit and a single motor front-drive unit, offering stunning performance that will rival competitors like the Tesla Model S Plaid, Porsche Taycan and other hypercars.

"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."

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The Lucid Air Sapphire's three-motor powertrain delivers 1,200 horsepower, which is 150 more than the current top of the line 1,050-hp Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance. Lucid said final horsepower ratings will be announced at a later date, along with instrumented demonstrations of the performance capabilities of the Air Sapphire.

The Lucid Air Sapphire can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than two seconds, and from zero to 100 mph in less than four seconds. The Air Sapphire can travel a quarter mile in under 9 seconds, beating out the Tesla Model S Plaid's 1/4-mile time of  9.2 seconds, as well as the $3.8 million Bugatti Chiron Super Sport's 9.1 second quarter mile time.

Lucid says that these performance figures are achievable with no extra-cost add-on equipment upgrades or preconditioning routines, which is required for the Model S Plaid to unlock its full power. 

"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 the next level," said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Group. "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."

For a vehicle with such a high level of power and performance, the Air Sapphire was engineered with exacting attention to detail. In order to beef up the Air Sapphire's stopping power, the electric sedan comes standard with massive carbon ceramic disc brakes. These standard carbon ceramic brakes provide exceptional stopping power and contribute to the Air's high-performance driving, says Lucid.

Other upgrades for the Air Sapphire include stiffer front and rear springs, unique damper settings, stiffer suspension bushings, and a unique tuning for ABS, traction, stability control and electronic power steering.

These chassis upgrades improve turn-in, cornering balance across all speeds, corner exit, and high-speed stability. The driving experience can be customized with selectable drive modes that make adjustments to the steering, suspension, powertrain and brake settings. 

This advanced chassis setup for the Air Sapphire was designed to maximize the benefits of the electronic torque-vectoring capabilities of the three-motor powertrain. 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, according to Lucid.

The twin rear-drive unit can effectively pivot the rear of the vehicle, providing torque to the rear wheels in opposite directions to improve straight line stability and in turns. Lucid says this design is similar to a vehicle with a rear-wheel steering system, but its faster and quieter.

In tight corners for example, the system can 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 electric motors incorporate Lucid's microjet stator cooling and wave winding. Lucid also upgraded the twin rear-drive unit with a new heat exchanger technology and increased coolant flow rate. The battery management system was also upgraded to deliver higher power.

"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."

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Lucid added wider and more aggressive wheels and tires to the Air Sapphire. The sedan rides on ultra-high performance staggered Aero Sapphire wheels, with specially developed high-performance Michelin PS4S tires. The front tires are sized at 265/35R20 and 295/30R21 in the rear. The wheels also feature removable carbon-fiber aero disk wheel covers, which helps improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Lucid also made refinements to the aerodynamics of the Lucid Air Sapphire, achieving a balance of added downforce, which enhances vehicle stability at higher speeds, and reduced drag, which affects both performance and efficiency.

The cabin of Lucid Air Sapphire comes with a new interior color theme called "Sapphire Mojave". The cabin includes 18-way power sport seats with heating, cooling and massage functionality. It's upholstered in black leather trimmed with black Alcantara and Sapphire Blue contrast stitching. 

The dashboard 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 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 in the U.S. and $325,000 in Canada. Availability for markets outside of North America will be announced in the future.

Reservations for the Lucid Air Sapphire will open on Aug 23, 2022 at 9 AM Pacific time.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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