Lucid Air Grand Touring 2022 performance first unit review: Exactly as advertised

It’s easy to keep an eye on Lucid Air, especially the new top-of-the-line Grand Touring and Grand Touring Performance models. Lucid’s streamlined EV boasts up to 1,050 horsepower, the promise of 516 miles of range, and absolutely killer design. But spend a lot of time with the Air Grand Touring and you’ll learn that it’s also a genuine luxury flagship – albeit with a few quirks.

The Air GT and GTP pick up where the small lot dream edition left out. Lucid’s original Air was limited to just 520 units and produced 1,111 hp. But while the GT and GTP are less powerful, the mechanical bits, chassis tuning and interior refinement are all the same. This is effectively the serial production version of Lucid’s early Air; the company just wanted to reserve that higher potency for its privileged first-round customers.

Great

Lucid Air is impressive. It looks like the future, but clearly takes inspiration from a mid-century modern past. The Grand Touring has the same two-tone treatment as the Dream Edition with a rounded roofline and silver cap, though the body color palette is unfortunately limited to a nice shade of deep red or a handful of monochromatic hues (for now. ).

The Lucid’s proportions are low, long and wide, giving it great brake appeal, although in reality the Air is about the same size as a mid-sized sedan (think Honda Accord). There’s plenty of legroom for front and rear passengers, and the low roofline doesn’t take away as much headroom as you might think. Personally, I’m divided on the clamshell trunk design, especially since the low load height is awkward. But at least the trunk goes deep, with 22.1 cubic feet of storage space, plus an extra 10 cubic feet in the under-hood compartment.

Lucid has various color schemes and interior materials named after different parts of California where the company is based. The one on my test car is called the Tahoe, with a two-tone Nappa leather finish and carbon oak finish. The whole past/future design motif is also apparent here, where the sophisticated cabin finishes meet things like a continuous glass panel that makes up the windshield and roof, as well as a 34-inch curved housing that displays various controls for the cabin. car, the cluster gauge and the Air’s infotainment system.

The Air’s interior is as good as it looks.

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But this is where you’ll find some strange choices on Lucid’s part. The volume toggle on the right side of the steering wheel works fine, but the center button that mutes the audio is very sensitive, so you’ll end up inadvertently cutting through the jams a lot. Additionally, steering column and mirror adjustments are found on the iPad-like center control screen, which feels like a solution to a problem that didn’t exist (didn’t we learn anything from Tesla?). Worse still, the screen is sometimes sluggish, so you’ll overshoot the mirror and wheel positions more often.

Honestly, the entire multimedia interface is slow and buggy, although during a visit to Lucid’s service center in Millbrae, California, the company showed me an update that will be released over the air that addresses some of these issues. Not yet Apple Car Play or Android Autohowever, though Lucid says they are also coming.

Tourism

The fastest route from Lucid’s Bay Area headquarters to Los Angeles is the part of California you won’t see on a postcard. The trip down Highway 5 is monotonous as dishwater: semi-truck trucks crowd the right lane and oblivious drivers on the left, while the faint scent of nearby cow pastures lingers in the air. It’s hard work, but it’s also the perfect place for a flexible luxury car with massage seats and a stereo to snap your fingers and say, “Relax buddy, I’ve got it.” In the Air GT, it’s a breeze.

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Lucid nailed the balance of piloting and handling for the Air Grand Touring. On 21-inch wheels encased in Pirelli P-Zero summer tires, the Air is super flexible at all times without sacrificing its surprisingly sharp reflexes (more on that in a minute). Lucid also did a great job quelling wind and road noise, which is especially important as EVs don’t have the drone of an internal combustion engine to mask some of these annoyances. Add comfy seats with heating, cooling and massage functions, a full suite of driver assistance systems and instant electric torque to get past the Prii in the left lane, and that boring I-5 walk really isn’t too bad.

Additionally, Lucid Air is one of the few EVs that can make the Bay-to-LA journey in one go. The EPA estimates a range of 516 miles for the Air Grand Touring on its base 19-inch wheels, or 469 if you opt for the 21s. The more powerful (and heavier) Grand Touring Performance further cuts the range to 446 miles, though that’s still a longer drive distance than any other new EV on sale today. Your bladder will require a pit stop long before Lucid, and as America’s public charging infrastructure is still incredibly problematicnot having to deal with that crap is a luxury in itself.

The two-tone look is just as cool, as are the Performance’s signature 21-inch wheels.

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When you need to plug in, you can take advantage of the most powerful DC fast chargers on the market, as the Air’s 900 volt architecture allows for charging speeds of up to 300 kW. Strong regenerative braking also lets you regain some energy on the go – a boon for the steep downhill section of I-5 Grapevine heading back to LA.

acting

I’m really glad my little subhed pun forced me to save the Air’s performance specs for last. They’re impressive, sure, but this car’s premium angle is far more important. That the Air is as good as a luxury car is what impresses me the most. That it’s fast as hell and fun to drive is secondary, though worth arguing about.

The standard Grand Touring uses a 112-kilowatt-hour battery, while the Performance has 118 kWh of capacity, and both cars have a dual-engine arrangement that allows for all-wheel drive. Lucid rates the Air GT at a maximum of 819 hp and 885 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to hit 60 mph in 3 seconds. The GTP boosts power to 1,050 hp and 921 lb-ft, allowing it to hit 60 mph in 2.6 seconds via launch control, which is exactly as thrilling as it sounds.

This iPad-like screen is where you manage all of the Air’s settings and controls, and you can place it on the dashboard when you don’t need it, opening up a cubicle for small objects.

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An important disclaimer: these power numbers are conditional. Specific to the GTP, when you’re driving in standard Smooth mode, the electric motors are producing 754 hp and 737 lb-ft. Switching to Swift stiffens the adaptive dampers, adds some steering weight, and unlocks 799 lb-ft. But it’s only in full Sprint mode – which requires additional on-screen confirmation before activation – where you get 1,050 hp and 921 lb-ft.

Smooth, in addition to being a 1999 Grammy-winning hit by Santana with Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas from the multi-platinum album Supernatural, will be perfectly fine for 95% of Lucid Air GT use cases. But if you find yourself on a great road, like Skyline Drive in NorCal or Angeles Crest Highway near LA, head to Swift or Sprint for some fun. Despite having a traditional suspension setup and no performance aids like torque vectoring or rear axle steering, the Air freakin’ scoots. The low center of gravity keeps you crouched with little body roll, and the heavy steering gives you quick responses with no dart tendencies. The Air is much more fun to drive than any Tesla, but the Porsche Taycan is still the reference in the class.

Comparing the GT against a GTP, the only real difference is acceleration, as the fundamental chassis tuning is the same. You need an extra 231 hp, 36 lb-ft and 0.4 second faster acceleration time? Absolutely not. Do EV buyers like to brag? Holy shit, yes.

Electric or not, the Lucid Air is a great luxury car.

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Premium car, premium price

The Lucid Air Grand Touring and Grand Touring Performance are available to order now, and as you’d expect, they don’t come cheap. GT starts at $154,000 and GTP comes in at $179,000, not including federal tax credits or an unknown destination fee. This makes the base GT a little more expensive than the new one. Mercedes-AMG EQS and much more expensive than Tesla Model S Chess. The cheapest Lucid Air models are expected to arrive before the end of the year, including a standard Touring and a Pure under $100,000.

Yes, Lucid has some teething issues with the Air Grand Touring, specifically some technical issues and build quality inconsistencies (don’t look too closely at these panel gaps). Still, Lucid is getting a lot more right than wrong at this early stage, and if Grand Touring Performance is proof of what this company can do right off the bat, I can’t wait to see what comes next.


Editor’s Note: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The judgments and opinions of the CNET team are ours and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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