Practical test: Lucid Air Touring: A different kind of luxury

Restraint is not the Lucid Air's thing.

Practical test: Lucid Air Touring: A different kind of luxury

Restraint is not the Lucid Air's thing. During the charging stops at the Spessart motorway service station or at a nameless shopping center in Upper Franconia, all hell breaks loose when the Air draws energy from the Hypercharger after parking. Some come over bashfully, pull the cell phone camera out of their trouser pocket, others ask directly: is that the Lucid? It is and he has it all. A slightly different luxury sedan - of course electrically powered and an appearance that casually overshadows the BMW i7 or Mercedes EQS. In the USA, the Lucid Air has been on the market for almost two years; now also in Europe with its first image store in Munich. The expectations of those responsible for Lucid seem manageable, but like other luxury brands, despite all the trends in China, it still seems chic to face the competition in Europe as well.

The Lucid Air Touring is smaller than its design suggests, because with a length of 4.97 meters, Americans actually play against the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class - at least as far as the external dimensions are concerned. Quite different inside, because here the Air is a real show - with plenty of space in front and behind, very comfortable leather seats and one or the other flaw. This applies, for example, to the headroom, because it is not exactly ample due to the battery pack in the underbody and the deliberately low roof line. That's why the electric four-door does not have a sun blind, which would have looked good on it, because the windscreen, which stretches far over the front seats, creates a wow effect for the occupants, but is annoying when the sun is low in the sky, because the sun visors also arrive quickly here their limits.

The driver looks at sober instruments behind a gigantic pane of glass, misses an obligatory head-up display and enjoys the powerful central screen, which slides into the instrument panel at the push of a button and releases a larger shelf. The same applies here as on the outside: the Lucid does some things differently than the established competition and it does it well. Thanks to the 2.96 meter long wheelbase, there is not only plenty of space for the occupants at the front and rear, but also for luggage. With a volume of 627 liters, there is plenty of space in the trunk in the rear, which, however, is not easy to load due to the deep construction. There is also a frunk at the front, which is more than stately at 283 liters and accommodates much more than just the loading gear, which is better packed under the loading floor in the rear anyway. And if these 910 liters are still not enough, the rear seat can be folded forward again and the total loading volume is increased to a gigantic 1,834 liters - not even station wagons and SUVs offer that in this league.

The Lucid Air Touring does not want to be a space miracle, but an automotive design icon that wants to impress with its electric drive. On request, the Air is available with more than 1,100 hp, but the touring version is likely to have the greatest market relevance in Europe. Their electric motors on the front and rear axles together deliver 462 kW / 629 hp and a more than impressive torque of 1,200 Nm. Despite the almost 2.4 tons curb weight, that's enough to always be dynamic to sporty on the road. From a standing start, the all-wheel drive vehicle accelerates to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds; regulates for this power, however, quite early at 225 km / h. The more powerful versions, which can drive up to 270 km/h, can run faster. The 92 kWh battery pack is sufficient in the WLTP cycle for up to 725 kilometers - in brisk real operation 500 to 550 kilometers are more realistic. Since the charging speed is 250 kW, the charging stops on the Hypercharger take less time than on most competitors. Too bad for the photo fans, who mostly move a Tesla in everyday life.

The Lucid Air Touring, which costs at least 129,000 euros, drives like a spaceship from the distant future not only because of its spectacular appearance. The thrust is enormous from every speed range and the two electric motors ensure that the power is brought to the ground impressively casually, while the digital numbers just rush through. Regardless of the selected driving program, the steering offers little feedback from the road. This also applies to the chassis, which is set up very comfortably without being jerky or too soft. This is where the standard 19-inch wheels in the 245 / 45 R 19 format come into their own, because with the optional 20 or 21-inch wheels it becomes noticeably tighter. In fast corners and especially on country roads, one would wish for active roll compensation that minimizes the incline. No question: the Lucid Air is an enrichment for the electric premium league, because it is even more different than brands like Jaguar, Lancia or Volvo used to be, in order to be an alternative to the German premium class. But the quantities of such a luxury sedan with 480 to over 1,100 hp should be limited, since Lucid lacks brand awareness and the segment is not easy. The situation could be different with the SUV brother Lucid Gravity, which may celebrate its premiere at the end of 2024.