Lucid’s Air Dream is no more, but our test team’s memories of its otherworldly power and scope live on. Its twin-motor drivetrain pumped out a reality-bending 1111 horsepower in Performance guise, while the range-oriented variant dialed it back to a paltry 933 horsepower to be a certified 520-mile blower.
Impressive? Absolutely. But does anyone really require that much, especially when you consider the cost? For 2023, the top-trim 1050-hp Grand Touring Performance tops out at $180,000, while the 516-mile Range Specialist Grand Touring hovers just south of $140K. The bigger gotcha is an unwelcome side effect of the large battery—112 kWh for the Grand Touring, 118 kWh for the Performance variant—needed to unlock all that power and range: it occupies the rear footwells and creates a knees -on seat which is aggravated by extremely little toe room under the front seats. Legroom is undoubtedly plentiful, so it’s still roomy in the back, but the seating position is unusual.
The Touring, which looks identical to the higher-trim variants at 10 paces, differs in one important way that is echoed up and down the spec sheet: Its underfloor battery consists of 18 modules instead of 22. This lowers its capacity up to 92.0 kWh, but the loss of those four modules frees up rear-seat legroom and provides a significantly more luxurious experience for passengers. In fact, Lucid was able to flatten the Touring’s lower cushion angle slightly because the rear seat no longer has to support protruding legs.
Less battery capacity does reduce power and range. While the Dream and the GT have both in abundance, the Touring’s range is still a healthy EPA-rated 425 miles with 19-inch all-season tires or 384 miles with our test car’s complimentary 20-inch summer rubber. The Touring also offers 620 horsepower and 885 pound-feet of grunt. In town, you won’t miss the absent horses, as these are still an eager powerhouse. For example, going from 30 to 50 mph takes just 1.8 seconds. Even if you floor it off the line, as we do in our track tests, the difference between 1111 and 620 horsepower is a scant 0.4 second to 60 mph, with the Touring still clocking in at an impressive 3.0 seconds. While the Touring can’t match the Dream’s 10.1-second, 142-mph quarter-mile, buyers certainly shouldn’t feel bad about 11.0 seconds at 126 mph.
The smaller battery helps shed 270 pounds, and the 5012-pound Touring does indeed feel lighter on its feet in corners. Its lateral grip is a tick better at 0.93 g, while 70 mph panic stops are just four feet longer at 167 feet. Our Touring’s 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport EV summer tires are slightly more supple than the Dream’s 21-inch Pirellis, but otherwise the two cars’ dynamics mirror each other. On the open road, the Touring makes the miles disappear as it’s an extremely calm and capable cruiser. The ride is relaxed and smooth without a hint of float or wave, and the taller sidewalls of its 20-inch performance rubber add an extra measure of rolling comfort.
The dead-on feel you get from the steering is quite pronounced, and it inspires enough confidence that we felt more comfortable using the steer-it-self adaptive cruise setting on the highway instead of the highway Assist Lane Centering feature that is part of the $10,000 DreamDrive Pro option. A driver monitoring system is present, but Lucid doesn’t yet use it to allow Super Cruise-style hands-free driving, so you’ll still get the usual warning to keep your hands on the wheel if they’re absent for 15 seconds.
While the Touring’s rated range is pretty good, we found the actual range to be more speed-dependent than we expected. Despite a stated range of 384 miles, our test car managed just 280 miles in our 75-mph highway test. Later, the car essentially matched its estimated range on a random drive that was highway-heavy but had an average speed closer to 63 mph. All told, our Touring averaged 107 MPGe, which falls far short of its lofty 121 MPGe EPA combined rating, but is still a good showing compared to other large luxury EVs.
Perhaps our Touring test car’s most notable new feature was related to charging, not range. As with a Tesla Supercharger, plug-and-charge is now fully implemented here. Nothing more than logging in was required to get started at Electrify America refill stops, with the initiation of charges and billing happening in the background with a pre-configured account set up via the Lucid Ownership Portal. Those of you who have toyed around with fast charging at non-Tesla sites know that this is a life-changing development.
During our 75 mph range test, we had plenty of time to ponder some quirks of the Lucid Air’s instrumentation and its control interfaces, which are quite pleasing in terms of design and materials. The absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will reportedly be fixed with an over-the-air update “coming soon,” but until then, your phone is sucked to the windshield. The turn signal stalk is quite short, so it’s easy to activate the end-mounted wiper button when trying to activate the turn signals. The sweeping instrument panel and central tablet are beautiful, but a lot of screen real estate is wasted. A large Air logo occupies a prominent place to the right of the speedometer, with a rudimentary trip meter to the left.
For all that, the Air Touring carries a more palatable price of $109,050. That figure includes a conventional aluminum roof, meaning buyers in the Sun Belt won’t need the $4,500 glass sunroof. Our tester stuck for $127,550, which included the glass roof, a $4000 premium sound system, and that $10K DreamDrive Pro driver assistance option we could happily do without. Of all the Air variants, the Touring strikes us as the sweet spot where price, performance, range and passenger comfort overlap.
2023 Lucid Air Touring
Vehicle type: front and rear car, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $109,050/$127,550
Options: Dream Drive Pro (highway assist, surround monitor, hardware for future semi-autonomous driving), $10,000; glass canopy, $4500; Surreal Sound Pro premium audio, $4000
Front motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Rear motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Combined power: 620 hp
Combined torque: 885 lb-ft
Battery pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 92.0 kWh
On-board charger: 19.2 kW
Peak DC fast charging rate: 250 kW
Transmissions, F/H: direct drive
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.0-in ventilated disc/14.8-in ventilated disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport EV
F: 245/40ZR-20 99Y LM1
R: 265/40ZR-20 104Y LM1
Wheelbase: 116.5 inches
Length: 195.9 inches
Height: 55.4 inches
Passenger volume, L/H: 61/46 ft3
Hull volume, F/H: 10/22 ft3
Curb weight: 5012 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.0 sec
100 mph: 6.7 sec
1/4-mile: 11.0 sec @ 126 mph
130 mph: 12.0 sec
Results above show 1 foot deployment of 0.2 sec. away.
Roll start, 5–60 mph: 3.5 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 1.8 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.6 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 140 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 332 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-foot skid road: 0.93 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY AND CHARGE
Observed: 107 MPGe
75 mph highway range: 280 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 121/121/120 MPGe
Range: 384 miles
C/D TEST EXPLAINED