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Lucid is making waves in the electric luxury car segment. Car and Driver says it’s “swift, stylish, and state-of-the-art” and calls the Lucid Air a “formidable electric luxury sedan.” What’s more, the company recently announced some significant changes for 2023. Among those changes are improved performance and a lower base price. In an interview on CNBC, Lucid’s CEO, Peter Rawlinson, announced the Lucid Air Pure will start at $87,400 and include 410 miles of range. All-wheel-drive models will ship by the end of 2022, and a rear-wheel-drive version is expected for 2023.

Lucid Air Pure vs. the Tesla Model S – how they stack up

The all-wheel drive version of the Lucid Air Pure lists at $92,900, or about $12,000 less than a comparable Tesla Model S, which is $104,990. The Air Pure has an EPA-estimated range of 410, which is slightly better than the Tesla’s 405-mile range.  

If performance is important to you, the top-level Lucid Sapphire produces up to 1,200 horsepower, according to Car and Driver. It will also catapult from 0 to 60 mph in under 2.0 seconds. For comparison, the Tesla Model S Plaid has a maximum horsepower rating of 1,020 and a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.4 seconds.   

Dimensionally both cars are very close to one another. The Lucid Air and Tesla Model S have a 116.5-inch wheelbase. The Tesla is slightly longer, at 197.7 inches, compared to the Lucid’s 195.9 inches, but the Lucid Air has more interior volume at 103 cubic feet vs. 100 cubic feet for the Tesla. The Lucid Air also has more cargo volume with 32 cubic feet of trunk space to Tesla’s 28 cubic feet.  

Should you wait for the Lucid Air Pure? 

On paper, the Lucid Air Pure looks like the better car. It offers better performance and more range at a lower price. It’s larger inside, with more interior room and more cargo room. It’s like the founders of Lucid set out to copy the Tesla Model S and then make it better, which is essentially what they did. 

Lucid’s CEO and CTO, Peter Rawlinson, was the principal engineer at Jaguar Cars, and Chief Engineer at Lotus Cars before joining Tesla as VP of Engineering and Chief Engineer of the Model S. Therefore, any similarity is completely intentional. 

But the Lucid Air is much more than a Tesla clone. In addition to what you see on paper, the electric luxury sedan offers two things that the Tesla Model S can’t match. 

The first item is luxury. While the Tesla Model S isn’t lacking in features, technology, or luxury, the Lucid Air is a step above the Tesla in just about every respect. The interior feels richer, more on par with a Mercedes S class or Bentley. The Lucid’s styling looks sleeker and more modern. It has the “it factor” of a new Hollywood star. The Tesla Model S, which was avant-garde in 2012, has aged well but is going on a decade old. 

The other thing the Lucid Air has going for it is a lack of gimmicks. For example, it doesn’t have a yoke in place of a steering wheel, which makes emergency maneuvering all but impossible. Instead, it positions DreamDrive as an “advanced driver assistance system” with Highway Assist. Lucid’s wow factor comes from the seamless integration of all of its technology which provides a near-unparalleled experience.

That’s not to say the Tesla Model S doesn’t have its strong points. It’s still an incredible car that continues to improve and receive constant updates. Tesla’s network of charging stations is second to none, with over 200 dealers and service centers in the U.S. Lucid Motors has about 20. 

The answer comes down to this – Do you want to buy a great car now or a better one later?