Tesla Model S Plaid has been shaming ICE cars at drag racing events since it was introduced last year. Only some highly modified cars like a 1,400 hp Nissan Skyline GTR have defeated it at the dragstrip till now.
But the actual competition comes in when there is another production car without any aftermarket mods that is able to beat Tesla Model S in a drag racing competition. Up until now, the Rimac Nevera electric hypercar is able to do that but that’s also a limited production car (150 units ever going to be made).
However, now a proper production car Lucid Air Sapphire has arrived to challenge Tesla Model S Plaid in a quarter-mile drag race competition. Lucid Sapphire is a proper apples-to-apples comparison because it is an electric vehicle and belongs to the same segment of being a luxury family sedan.
As Tesla Model S Plaid has been making headlines with its extreme performance since its launch, Lucid Motors felt the need to counter this with their own performance variant of the Lucid Air, hence we got the Lucid Air Sapphire.
Interestingly, somehow, the engineering team at Lucid Motors was able to bring the 0-60 mph time of the Air Sapphire below 2 seconds — the crown held by Tesla Model S Plaid for quite a while.
Lucid has listed the power of its Air Sapphire variant as 1200+ hp which is fairly more than the Tesa Model S Plaid’s 1,020 hp.
But the true test of this performance must be validated in the real world by a 3rd party at a dragstrip. Hagerty took this task upon themselves and brought both the Tesla Model S Plaid and Lucid Air Sapphire to the dragstrip along with a Bugatti Chiron and a Ducatti sports bike.
In the past, Tesla Model S Plaid has been disallowed on drag racing tracks due to extreme acceleration and not having a roll cage and a parachute to allow it to decelerate.
So, these cars needed to compete at an isolated dragstrip that Hagerty was able to arrange in the wild. Both Model S Plaid and Air Sapphire have 3 electric motors to provide instant torque to the wheels.
I must throw a spoiler before you watch the video of the Tesla Model S Plaid vs. Lucid Air Sapphire 1/4-mile drag racing battle below — the Air Sapphire was the winner of the race, launching off-the-line even better than the Plaid. Kudos to the engineers at Lucid for catching up with Tesla in the acceleration department.
But, a Lucid Air Sapphire is around $115,000 more expensive than the Tesla Model S Plaid. The starting price of a Model S Plaid is $135,990 while the Air Sapphire costs a whopping $250,000 USD — a quarter of a million dollars!
- Watch how Tesla Model X Plaid electric SUV defeats a highly modified Porsche 992 Turbo S Coupe on a dragstrip
- Tesla engineer explains how the Drag Strip Mode feature on a Model S/X Plaid works (video)
- Tesla Semi and the Cybertruck engage in a friendly drag race outside Giga Texas (video)
- Tesla Model X Plaid goes drag racing against the fastest ICE SUVs — Urus Performante, Cayenne Turbo GT, BMW X5M, AMG GLE 63 S
- Unplugged Tesla Model S Plaid faces Ferrari Enzo in a drag racing challenge
- Tesla Model S Plaid faces its fiercest drag racing opponent, the Lucid Air Sapphire
- An odd but interesting drag race: Tesla Model 3 Performance vs. Rivian R1T electric pickup truck
- Tesla Model S Plaid goes drag racing against a 26 times more expensive Bugatti Chiron