More than $80,000. More than 5000 pounds.
Longer than a new BMW M5.
Wider than a new Camaro. The Lucid Air is a big car, but it’s an even bigger moment in automotive history.
We spent a week and 600 miles in one to answer a simple question: Does Lucid’s Air represent the future of performance cars? Or is it cursed to be an evolutionary dead end? Read below to find our answers.
Building a whole car is hard–really, really hard, as I learned firsthand back when we built the first production Factory Five 818 and ended up with something that was fast but not exactly ready for a dealer’s showroom. Ever since, I’ve always been fascinated by first attempts.
And that’s why I was so excited to try a Lucid Air. These aren’t exactly new–production started in 2022–but they are exceedingly rare in the real world, with far fewer than 10,000 cars delivered to the public so far.
Lucid was kind enough to loan me one for a road trip from New York City to Washington, D.C., and back. Along the way I’d attempt to answer two key questions: Does the age of electrification mean the death of the true driver’s car?
And if not, is it possible to build a car so good that it outshines the current state of America’s charging network? Let’s find out.
I’ll start with the numbers: Rather than explore these questions in the higher-spec Grand Touring or Sapphire trims (with 819 or 1234 horsepower, respectively), I’d be driving Lucid’s entry-level model, the 480-horsepower Air Pure.
With a starting price of $77,400, my test car also carried all-wheel drive (a $5000 upcharge), as well as the company’s $10,000 DreamDrive Pro, which is a driver assist system that promises “Future-Ready Hardware for Semi-Autonomous Driving Functionality.” Add $4000 for a nice stereo, $2000 for fancy wheels, and $1000 for Blue Metallic paint.
Total price? $99,400, which makes this an honest six-figure car with the $1650 destination charge.
That’s more than $10,000 lower than the car’s original window sticker, though: Thanks to dropping demand and Tesla’s price war, Lucid has recently slashed prices to stay somewhat competitive.
But still: This is a very expensive car, and there’s no way around that. Tesla’s Model S, for comparison, starts at $74,990, and that price includes all-wheel-drive standard.
But it’s not my job to critique the Lucid’s price–it’s my job to critique the car, and that started…