The Lucid Air Dream Edition R is an extremely powerful electric sedan from Silicon Valley. Does that sound familiar? It’s as if new electrical start-ups only stand a chance if they originated here. The USP of the Lucid Air is that it does not target the Tesla Model S; the brand claims that this is first and foremost an electric rival to the Mercedes S-class. In other words, a counterpart to the EQS, plus everything that BMW and Audi can put against it.
He does not blow high about his sprint time, but about his range: up to no less than 837 kilometers. Similar to what you used to get out of a tank of diesel. For this you have to have the right version of the five: the range of the Air goes from the Pure (486 hp, 653 kilometer range) to the Dream Edition R that you see here (945 hp and 837 kilometers).
The Lucid Air Dream Edition R has to go far
The R stands for ‘range‘, so range, but there is also a Dream Edition P that sacrifices some range for performance (1,126 hp, 758 kilometers and from 0 to 96 km/h in 2.5 seconds). The price of the top version is more than double that of the entry-level: in America it goes from 77,400 dollars (about 70,000 euros) to 169,000 dollars (about 150,000 euros). Except for the Pure, all versions have two engines and therefore four-wheel drive. In the Netherlands, the starting price should be around 100,000 euros. The Lucid Air Dream Edition will cost 220,000 euros here.
The emphasis seems to be on luxury, yet Lucid also brought in the necessary technicians from Europe to make the car run properly, such as chassis specialists from Aston and Jaguar – and one Jean-Charles Monnet, the former aerodynamics expert from Red Bull Racing. . That’s why you’re looking at a car with an EQS-like drag coefficient of 0.20. But then, we dare to say, combined with a nicer appearance. A traditional sedan shape, subtly updated for the EV era.
The smaller wheels are better for the range of the Lucid Air Dream Edition R
Do you want to reach that range? Forget these wheels. Only on 19 inches you get 837 kilometers – on the 21-inchers you get 64 less far. Although that saves you only a visit to the toilet with a fast charger, because Lucid claims that you can top up almost 500 kilometers in 20 minutes.
Perhaps most surprised by the fact that the Lucid Air Dream Edition R on 21-inch wheels is wonderfully comfortable – this is a genuinely smooth and luxurious sedan. He uses his 2.5 tons of weight to his advantage. That should cause problems in terms of control and precision, but Lucid has clearly invested heavily in people with expertise. Although the Air should above all be a thoroughly solid and quiet limo (mission accomplished), noticeably a lot of attention has been paid to pleasant driving characteristics.
The Driving Modes of the Lucid Air
As a driver, you can choose from three driving modes: Smooth, Swift and Sprint. You use the latter once – just to see how insane acceleration with 945 horsepower feels – then stick to Smooth for your daily miles and switch on Swift for your favorite roads. Both of those modes keep power under 600 horsepower, but we’d believe the full whack is still available as hard as the thing squirts forward.
The more intense the mode, the tighter the damping and the sharper the brakes and steering response, although the differences are subtle. The Air won’t suddenly turn out to be a track special, but it behaves surprisingly light-footed in corners. And he has a clever trick. David Lickfold, ex-JLR chassis man, made sure that the Air intelligently responds to your wishes.
It prioritizes range when it knows you’re cruising – it then switches to two-wheel drive and softens the right pedal – and springs to life when it senses you’re in a hurry. So the more the Air’s numerous algorithms recognize that you want to have a little fun on a back road, the more power they’ll unleash on the rear axle. The maximum torque distribution between front and rear is 30:70.
The Lucid Air Dream Edition R remains heavy
This Lucid Air Dream Edition R never sheds size or weight like the best combustion engine sports sedans can, but considering its mass, it’s quite captivating. And whatever mode you’re in, there’s a few inches of ‘are you sure?’ play in the pedal to prevent accidents. So if you have to sneeze in Sprint mode, there’s a chance you won’t immediately fly over an intersection at twice the speed limit.
A side note, by the way, if you’re planning to put a nearly 1,000 horsepower Air on a road in a California canyon at Sprint: It’s a bit like lighting a Roman candle in your downstairs bathroom. Very exciting, but most of all terrifying. If we estimate it that way, the entry-level models will be more than fast enough on these kinds of roads.
The interior of the Air
Let’s take a look inside. The Air is so attractive because of its retracting roofline. Okay, Lucid calls it a glass canopy herself. And indeed, you could also order something like this on the Opel Astra, about fifteen years ago. We’re guessing the trend never quite caught on due to the outrageous cost of the extremely tall/long windshields. However, the airiness it brings to the cabin is more than welcome. Unfortunately, you can’t get the option on the base versions of the Air.
The overall atmosphere is lighter and less formal than the German competition, and slightly more ‘conventional car interior’ than a Tesla. In a very good way. While most of the Air’s settings are controlled on the rather large portrait screen in the middle, there are also – brace yourself, Generation Z – real buttons.
Yes, if you remember what it was like before the smartphone era, you’ll appreciate how Lucid brought the world then and now together. You switch driving mode via the screen, the climate control is operated with the buttons. The instruments are digital, but are where you expect them to be: centered behind the top opening of the handlebars. A steering wheel that is almost completely round. No difficult here squircles or confusing yokes†
The Lucid Air Dream Edition R can also be sustainable
And then the materials. You can have it upholstered in leather, but Lucid also offers an animal-free alternative called PurLuxe, and you can have the doors and dashboard in alpaca wool (like with this Dream Edition R). Not animal-free, no, but more renewable and sustainable than cowhide.
The great attraction of the interior – in addition to its cool door handles and thorough massage functions – for us is the silence. The Air may be unusually good to drive for something of this size, but you really put the S-class to the shins with peace and tranquility. Normally, in the absence of a petrol or diesel engine, you become aware of all the other noises that travel entails. The Air is whisper-quiet everywhere, even on a smooth highway ride.
In the back, the freedom of movement is ample, but although the legroom is somewhere between what the Model S and the S-class offer, taller people may find it difficult to place their feet under the front seats. In terms of luggage space, nothing to complain about: you can take 458 liters in the back (the wide flap opens very elegantly) and in the nose another 280 liters. The latter is almost twice the amount of storage you get with a Porsche Cayman, although the space itself is much flatter and shallower. The big stuff will have to be in the back.
Range isn’t everything
What is special is that Airs with higher equipment get the 21-inch wheels as standard, while the 19- and 20-inchers with which the advertised large range is achieved are on the option list. It seems Lucid prioritizes style and speed; you can decide for yourself whether you want to increase the range figure by 10 percent.
The Grand Touring and Dream Edition are pretty thick in the equipment. On the lower-priced versions, DreamDrive Pro (Lucid’s collection of self-driving and active safety technologies) is an option, but in Europe those things may become standard, as some of them are now quite important to get a good Euro NCAP score.
All in all, the Lucid Air could do quite well here – if it’s not late to the party. It offers sharper handling and a more homely interior than any Tesla in a car with the irresistible qualities to the latest thing to be.
Specifications Lucid Air Dream Edition Range (2022)
Drivetrain: 2 e-motors, AWD
Assets: 945 hp
Acceleration: 0-96 2.7 sec
Couple: 1,390 Nm
Range (statement): 837 km
Top speed: 270 km/h
Weight: 2,290 kg
Battery Size: 113 kWh
Luggage space: 458 l rear / 280 l front