Lucid Air Sapphire vs Bugatti Chiron vs Tesla Plaid — Cammisa’s Ultimate Drag Race Replay

by Hagerty
20 December 2022

When Hagerty’s Jason Cammisa was handed the first Lucid Air Sapphire, the American electric luxury saloon which claims to be the world’s quickest accelerating production car, there was only one thing for it: strapped on the testing equipment, and take a shot at breaking the record.

Sure enough, the Lucid Air Sapphire is the world’s quickest-accelerating production car.

With a staggering standstill to quarter-mile acceleration run of 9.1 seconds, crossing the finish line at 156mph, the 1200+ horsepower three-motor Air saw off the reigning champion, the triple-motor, 1020hp Tesla Model S Plaid, which does the 1/4-mile in 9.3 seconds at 152mph.

Although the cars are “tied” at 2.1 seconds during the 0-60mph acceleration benchmark, here’s some trivia: the Lucid Air Sapphire gets to 60mph 0.03 seconds before the Tesla Model S Plaid.

We weren’t satisfied with just that race, so we also brought along the fastest-accelerating petrol-powered production car, the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport. This is the 1479hp (1500PS) Chiron with shortened gear ratios, grippy Michelin Cup 2R tyres, a fixed rear wing, and weight-reduction measures. 

Even despite these hyper-aggressive Michelins’ distaste for cold tarmac, the Chiron ripped off a 2.3-second, four-wheel-burnout launch from 0-60mph, and then continued on to a 9.3-second, 156mph quarter-mile performance. That is a tenth quicker to 60mph than the “standard” Chiron has managed, and a tenth quicker through the quarter mile mark, too. 

That’s an internal-combustion production-car 1/4-mile record for the Chiron Pur Sport — and we suspect that, in warmer conditions, this Pur Sport would be even quicker.

That’s not the case with the 210hp Ducati Panigale V4 SP2, one of the quickest superbikes in the world. It had no traction issues as MotoAmerica Supersport champion rider Josh Herrin cracked the throttle wide open, dumped the dry clutch, and ripped off a stupefying 9.3-second, 157mph run through the quarter-mile.

This bettered our last outing with the same Panigale, when it comfortably beat the new 2023 Corvette Z06. This time, Ducati softened the suspension and lowered the fork; Josh sacrificed the clutch and kept the wheelie at bay. It’s safe to say this is the limit for the SP2 — except that Ducati offers a factory Akrapovic exhaust and tune that boost horsepower. We’d love to come back and try that again!

But for the moment, it’s clear: among production cars with four wheels, the Lucid Air Sapphire is now the acceleration king, with the Chiron Pur Sport in second place. In one epic video, Tesla went from first to third.

One thing’s for sure, the battle to be fastest will rage on.

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