This year somehow marks my 23rd year attending Arizona auction week, and over the years I have driven a few rentals cars and quite a few press cars. These have included everything from a Nissan Versa SV (the car least deserving of SV in its name) all the way to exotic cars such as the Aston Martin DB11. This year is a bit different in that I am driving a car for the week in Arizona that is nothing like any other car I have had: the 2023 Lucid Air Grand Touring edition.
If you have not yet heard of the Lucid Air, it is an all-electric luxury sedan. The car’s design is unlike any other modern car I have seen, and it is truly a breakthrough design both in its exterior and interior. It is less of a direct competitor with the Tesla S, which quite honestly the Air betters in every way, but more of a competitor of the Mercedes EQS.
I had originally planned to rent a car for the week but last week received a call from my friend Dave Buchko, Product PR Manager at Lucid, asking if I would be interested in driving an Air for the week. I, of course, agreed, as up until now I had only ridden in a prototype Air awhile back and then last year on track with Ben Collins, also known as The Stig.
I met my Air at the offsite parking and was immediately struck with how nice the car looked. I was a bit uncertain if I would be able to figure out how to use the car, but found myself immediately at home with the car and was quickly able to sort out the control location, pair my phone, and set the navigation to head over the Barrett-Jackson to pick up my first set of credentials for the week.
On the road, even in its lowest performance setting, I was easily able to feel the truly amazing acceleration and performance available under my right foot. I did get that at a higher level during The Stig ride-along but being in control of the car myself was completely different. I also quickly realized that the Air could be driven by using only the accelerator, something that reminded me or my time driving NASCAR stock cars on ovals.
I arrived at Barrett-Jackson around 30 min later, quickly realizing that I had traveled there much faster than I should have, and that I needed to carefully watch how fast I was going as the car is very easy to drive over the speed limit.
I pulled into the valet parking lot and after explaining how the car worked, I got my credentials and went into the main auction tent.
I met Dave at the Lucid booth and told him how much I liked the car. I added that it was able to fit all my suitcases, briefcase, and camera gear in the rear trunk. If you know me well you know that I bring about two weeks of clothes for a one-week trip, so this was a truly remarkable feat.
I spent the rest of the day at Barrett-Jackson planning out my auction tour and picking the cars I would discuss.
I left the auction and met Dave for dinner at the Tommy Bahama café to discuss and ask questions about the car. I had many questions and after dinner Dave showed me some of the hidden features of the car including Launch mode to achieve maximum acceleration runs. I have not tested that out yet but might find a way to do so during the week, so stay tuned.
After dinner I drove to my hotel, checked in and went to bed.
Total miles for day one: 72