For over a year now, I have been planning a trip up the coast with my parents to San Francisco. What a perfect opportunity to test out the new Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance! Lucid Motors lent me its latest EV, and we were off in search of coastal views, some Chicago Cubs wins, and a genuine test of how the Grand Touring Performance would handle a 450-mile road trip north. Here’s how it went.
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Background of the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance
The Performance version of the Lucid Air Grand Touring is the latest variant to be announced by the American EV automaker. The regular old Grand Touring began deliveries earlier this year, following the initial 520 Dream Edition Air sedans that launched after Lucid Motors’ SOP last fall.
The Air Grand Touring Performance was initially announced by Lucid Motors in April, promising 446 miles of range, 1,050 horsepower, and 0-60 mph acceleration in 2.6 seconds. I had driven the Air Dream Edition Performance in October in Arizona and got to experience the full bore of its 1,111 horsepower in “Sprint” mode.
Ever since that fleeting moment, I’ve craved that feeling of pure, nasty speed and saw an opportunity to satisfy it. I had had a trip up the coast with my parents planned for months, navigating CA-1 from the South Bay of Los Angeles to a city by the different bay, San Francisco – all to see our lovable losers the Cubs face the Giants and to check out Oracle Park.
Knowing Lucid Motors has footprints in Los Angeles and an HQ up north, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask, and they gracefully obliged. I picked up a shiny new Air Grand Touring Performance from Lucid’s showroom in Beverly Hills, and the next day, we were off.
As you can see from the images below, cargo space was a nonissue for four of us in the electric sedan. We all would be flying our own ways home from SF, so we had luggage of varying sizes. Some in the front, some in the lower storage of the trunk, and two larger suitcases on top. Plenty of room to spare. Have a look.
Plenty of cargo space for four people with luggage / Credit: Scooter Doll
Our route was about 7.5 hours of total driving, equating to roughly 460 miles. It consisted of Hermosa Beach to Pismo Beach, an overnight stay in Monterey, then Monterey to San Francisco the following day.
With an estimated range of 446 miles, I knew we would need to charge at least once on our journey, but more on that later. Let’s start with my initial thoughts.
When I first got into the Grand Touring P and took off from Beverly Hills, I felt like I had picked up where I had left off during my time in the Dream Edition in Arizona, but instead of a quick zoom around town with a tech in the passenger seat, I was off on my own with days at my disposal to truly explore this EV, and I did.
This was my first up-close glimpse at the white exterior of the Air, which grew on me during the trip, although I personally would probably never choose that lack of hue for my own vessel. The Air exterior comes off as sturdy to me rather than boxy, and its 116.5″ wheelbase leaves plenty of interior space for both the driver and passengers.
The Performance version of the Air Grand Touring comes standard with 21″ wheels, which slightly inhibit its range capabilities, but they’re wrapped with Pirelli P Zero summer tires built specifically for Lucid Motors. The result is an extremely smooth ride under all road conditions.
Even with the larger wheels, 446 miles of estimated range is more than nearly any other EV can deliver at this point, so there are no complaints from me at all. Here are some pics I snapped out over the Pacific Ocean on our way up toward Big Sur.
Opinions on the interior and UX
Luckily for you readers, I had three passengers in the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance with me, so I gathered their feedback as well to give you the honest truth. Let’s start with the interior feel itself.
The overall feeling inside the Air Grand Touring is one of quality (as it should for what you pay). Similar to the exterior, the textiles and components feel sturdy and securely fastened. Nothing wobbles or shakes, further adding to a quiet driving experience.
You can change UX themes on the center tablet, but I found the feature trivial as it really only affects the look of the driver’s display, and only slightly. The displays themselves were fairly clear to understand and navigate, although I was a little confused using DreamDrive ADAS at first. I figured it out though.
The adaptive cruise on DreamDrive was completely adequate, allowing you to easily adjust your desired speed and trailing distance behind other vehicles. Nothing particularly groundbreaking about it, in my opinion.
Two interior features that were a hit with all of us were the seat massagers in the front and the panoramic glass roof. My parents had never been in a vehicle like this before, so they loved looking up to see paragliders and other winged creatures flying above us as they whale-watched along the coastline. Since I drove the entire way (you’re welcome, Lucid) the seat massagers came in especially handy for me, especially the “stretch” massage. Big fan.
Everyone had plenty of room in the backseat, but there were two complaints from two of my passengers who fall into a certain older demographic. The EV itself was very low, so it was easy to bump your head on the top of the door frame, especially getting into the vehicle.
I was also told the handles are not in the most ideal spot for entering and exiting. Those “wiser” passengers would have preferred them to be placed at the top of the door frame rather than on the sides near the front seats.
My biggest complaint throughout the entire journey in the Lucid Air Grand Touring P was the software itself. To say it was buggy would be an understatement. Admittedly, I was warned that might be the case, and Lucid told me they are already working on it, so it’s not a huge deal, but I do have to point it out.
Switching between display features like music and navigation was slow and, many times, needed to be tapped more than once in order to function. Although the Lucid Air Grand Touring doesn’t allow for Apple Carplay, I had no issues connecting my phone via Bluetooth and streaming my own Spotify account. I also found the built-in navigation worked really well – its maps were up to date and easy to use.
All of that said, I’d love to see an OTA update to the charging maps that can show you where you can stop along your entire trip updated in real time as you drive. Right now, it will only show you what’s nearby and you need to scroll and re-search in an area down the road. I think long-distance trips like I had could be easier to plan for if you have the ability to map out all those charging options out ahead of time and while you drive. Especially if you’re looking for a DC fast charger.
Another strange issue we encountered was constant interruptions from Amazon’s Alexa, which is integrated as a voice command. We never spoke her name once, but the EV would occasionally think someone did, thus pausing the music and eavesdropping for no reason. This happened about seven or eight times throughout the entire trip.
Luckily, these are all issues that can be fixed with an OTA update or two, so I wouldn’t worry about them, but I felt the need to address them from my experience.
In terms of physical toggles, most worked quite well. I loved the vanishing center display that allowed me to securely store my 36 oz. water bottle behind it. You’ve gotta stay hydrated folks, I can’t stress it enough.
My one qualm with the steering was a constant thorn in my side as I drove, and it pertained to the toggles on the right that control song changes. On top of the up and down switch is a button that mutes the audio in the car.
I found it to be too sensitive for my fat thumb because I was constantly muting the tunes while trying to skip to the next track. Not a dealbreaker, but just annoying since it kept happening no matter how conscious I was of it.
Next, let’s discuss the ride itself and how fun it was to curve up and around Cali in the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance.
Driving and charging the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance
I know by now that when Lucid Motors puts the word “Performance” on the end of its model, it means it. I was literally and figuratively blown away by the acceleration of Lucid’s Dream Edition Air, and was salivating for some open road to enter “Sprint” mode in the Grand Touring Air P. I just had to escape the traffic bowels of Los Angeles first.
The day before we left, I had to take the parents out on a little joy ride since they had never ridden in a BEV before (don’t even get me started). Even in the Air’s most tame “Smooth” mode, my first punch of acceleration sent their heads flying back in a flurry of surprise and utter thrill. I had immediately created two new EV junkies, hooked on that ecstasy of weightlessness only 921 ft-lb. of instant torque can provide. They were probably talking to their friends on Facebook in a matter of minutes.
The next day, when we got further north away from all the cars, I was able to skip right over “Swift” mode and go straight to the crème de la crème of speed – “Sprint” mode. With 1,050 horsepower, it feels like grabbing onto a passing bullet train – 0-60 comes and goes before you even realize you’re going 90.
Aside from the pure adrenaline-inducing speed, this Performance version is capable of, the Air Grand Touring’s overall acceleration and handling make it both fun and easy to drive. Switching lanes or overtaking slowpokes or trucks with logs (we all saw that movie) were seamless, and the side cameras offer complete visibility in and around the EV.
I never once felt I was not in control or aware of my surroundings, whether it was on a congested highway or a curvy cliffside with consistent blind turns.
Wicked fast charging speeds
As I said earlier, the planned route was about 460 miles, so I knew at least one charge would be necessary to get us to San Fran with enough juice for the Lucid team to get the Air Grand Touring Performance back to HQ safely.
We stopped for lunch by the water in Pismo Beach where I began to look for a charger since it looked like all the stops on the way to Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey were anemic 6-7 kW chargers.
I was able to find an Electrify America DC fast charger at a shopping center down the road, so we decided to recharge there to quickly obtain enough range to get us to our final destination. We were good to go in about 20 minutes, thanks to the Air Grand Touring 900V platform. Additionally, I found the plug and charge capabilities between the Air and the EA pile to be refreshingly easy.
One thing I hadn’t prepared for, was all the uphill travel from Pismo to Monterey. I found myself accelerating a lot with limited opportunities for regen, as it was mostly uphill on the coast. Still, we arrived safely in Monterey with enough range to get us to SF the next day.
In good company!
The next morning, I decided to hit another Electrify America fast charger for a top off, simply so we didn’t have to worry about any more stops. Plus, I could return the Air Grand Touring Performance to the Lucid team with plenty of range to spare as a solid. (Again, you’re welcome.)
The second charging experience was significantly slower despite also being a 350 kW pile, but it was fine since I didn’t need a full charge anyway. Overall, the biggest issue was finding a powerful charger because not only was the Lucid charger map interface hard to use but mostly because they simply didn’t exist on the California coastline.
Overall, I was impressed with the Lucid Air Grand Touring and feel it lives up the the “Performance” badge in its name. The performance specs themselves truly make this EV a thrill to drive, especially when you have such great scenery to your left as you venture north in California. I highly recommend it.
My biggest issue was the software itself, which is probably the easiest fix for Lucid Motors. I found the interior to be comfortable and luxurious but a little plain. Miles ahead of the sterile and unwelcoming interior of any Tesla, but slightly more vacant than a Mercedes EQS 580.
My family and I genuinely enjoyed our time with this EV, and I can say for certain we turned a lot of heads along the way. Oh, and the Cubbies squeaked out one win over the Giants, so it was worth the trip to witness it.
Looking forward to the next Lucid drive. Until then!