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Tesla Model S Plaid Vs. Lucid Air Vs. E39 BMW M5: How Much Faster Have Sedans Gotten In 20 Years?

Twenty years ago, BMW‘s E39 M5 was the fastest sedan on the planet. Fast forward to today, and electric cars are king. More specifically, the Tesla Model S Plaid and Lucid Air Dream Edition are arguably of the main contenders for the king of sedan speed. But just how far have we come in two decades? That’s what Hagerty and Jason Cammisa attempt to find out in their latest video as they pit the three against each other with a special twist.

Starting off with the specs of each vehicle, the Model S Plaid‘s three electric motors make 1,020 hp (1,034 PS / 761 kW) and 1,050 lb-ft (1,424 Nm) of torque, and the car weighs 4,766 lbs (2,162 kg). The Air Dream Edition’s two electric motors make 1,111 hp (1,124 PS / 828 kW) and 1,025 lb-ft (1,390 Nm) of torque, and it weighs 5,236 lbs (2,375 kg). The M5 pales in comparison to both, making only 394 hp (399 PS / 294 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque from its 4.9-liter V8, but it also only weighs 3,957 lbs (1,795 kg).

You might be thinking that this is an unfair drag race, seeing as the two EVs have nearly triple the power of the M5, and you’d be right. To help even the playing field, they gave it an advantage: it was allowed to start from a 70 mph (113 km/h) roll while the other two had to start from a standstill.

Onto the actual drag race, the BMW makes its flyby, at which point the Tesla and the Lucid make their launches. At first, the BMW is comfortably ahead, but thanks to that instant electric torque, the other two begin to gain on it. In the end, it’s actually the Tesla that takes the win with the BMW right on its rear bumper, followed by the Lucid about two car lengths behind. That’s an incredibly impressive performance from both EVs, even the Lucid because of how close it came to the M5. However, Cammisa has one more test in mind.

We all know EVs are the king of acceleration when it comes to racing other cars, but how about facing off against gravity itself? For this test, they had a skydiver jump out of a plane at the same time the Lucid and Tesla launched to see which could cover a quarter mile faster. And as it turns out, both electric sedans are faster than gravity.

To watch the outcome of Hagerty’s challenges for yourself, you can check it out in the video below.


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