Almost two years on from the production debut of the Lucid Air comes this – the Lucid Air Sapphire, which boasts of a three-motor electric powertrain packing even higher outputs for Lucid to stake its claim for the Sapphire as “not only the most powerful sedan in the world, but also the most powerful sedan in the world.”

“What we see today with the Lucid Air Sapphire is just the beginning for the Sapphire brand,” said Lucid SVP of brand and design Derek Jenkins, and the EV maker indicated in the car’s debut statement that this is the first in a line of Sapphire-branded models to come.

Claimed performance figures are 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in less than two seconds, 0-100 mph (0-160 km/h) in under four seconds and the drag racing standard of the standing quarter mile (400 m) is elapsed in less than nine seconds, according to the California-based EV maker.

Two motors form a twin-rear drive unit on the rear axle of the Lucid Air Sapphire. Click to enlarge

New to the Lucid model line is the brand’s first three-motor powertrain, courtesy of a new twin rear-drive unit with torque vectoring that works with the single front axle motor to yield a combined output of “over 1,200 hp”. The aforementioned acceleration figures are attained with no further modifications or protracted pre-conditioning procedures, says Lucid.

Lucid has not disclosed exact numbers for peak output or battery range, however the company revealed to Motor Trend that the Air Sapphire will still be capable of more than 400 miles (640 km), though it will be less than the 446 miles (714 km) achieved by the Air Grand Touring Performance.

The twin rear-drive motor unit employs new heat exchanger technology along with an increased coolant flow rate to keep temperatures in check, while its main battery system has been upgraded for greater power and more precise thermal logic, says Lucid.

The three-motor powertrain configuration has always been part of the Lucid Air development programme, and thus it retains the shared attributes of the different Air variants already on the market, such as generous legroom as well as front and rear luggage compartment capacities, said Lucid chief engineer and SVP of product Eric Bach.

In comparison to prior versions of the Air, the chassis of the Air Sapphire was configured with the objective of more responsive driving dynamics and increased body control; to that end, the Air Sapphire received stiffer front and rear springs and bushings, unique damper settings, as well as unique tuning for its electronic power steering, ABS, traction control and stability control system, the carmaker said.

The body of the Air Sapphire is wider than that of the Air by 21 mm in front and 24 mm at the rear to accommodate the staggered-setup wheels, which are shod in specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres measuring 265/35R20 in front and 295/30R21 at the rear. These wheels include removable carbon-fibre aero disc wheel covers to aid the car’s aerodynamic efficiency.

Improved agility as well as stability comes courtesy in part of torque vectoring enabled by the twin rear-drive motor unit, which “provides torque to the rear wheels in opposite directions to promote either turn-in or straight-line stability,” says Lucid, which it says is like a brake-based torque vectoring system and rear-wheel steering, albeit claimed to be faster, quieter and more seamless.

This is by applying regenerative braking on the inside wheel while sending drive to the outside wheel, which improves vehicle turn-in, cornering balance across all speeds, corner exit, and high-speed stability, says Lucid.

Inside, the Air Sapphire receives the Sapphire Mojave interior theme that includes a set of new, highly-bolstered 18-way adjustable sports seats designed by Lucid, combined with black leather upholstery joined by black Alcantara and Sapphire Blue contrast stitching. These seats also feature heating, cooling and massage functions.

Lucid has also optimised the Glass Cockpit and Pilot Panel interfaces with performance-focused menus and drive modes in the Air Sapphire, including a new Sapphire Mode to help the driver extract the maximum possible performance from the car.

As mentioned at the beginning, the Lucid Air Sapphire is the first in a soon-to-grow line of Sapphire models; this initial version will be offered as a limited-production model to be delivered to customers in Canada and the United States next year; pricing is CAD325,000 (1,121,027) and US$249,000 (RM1,117,885), respectively.

GALLERY: 2021 Lucid Air