The 2010 Geneva Motor Show is almost upon us and it's shaping up to be a cracker. Lexus's centerpiece will be the Lexus CT 200h - a premium compact hybrid that draws on the LF-Ch concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Lexus’s first five-door compact car, the CT 200h uses a 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine with an electric motor through an electrically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT). And it's not just a concept - Lexus says the car will enter production later this year and launch for sale worldwide.
Four driving modes
Lexus is yet to release full details on power and performance, but we do know that the CT 200h will feature four selectable drive modes: ECO, NORMAL, SPORT an also an EV (electric-only). In EV mode the car uses no fuel and produces no CO2 or NOx and particulate emissions, but its range in this mode is limited to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 28 mph.
Chassis and suspension
The CT 200h also sports a new suspension set up that uses a dedicated double wishbone and a lightweight trailing arm at the rear. Developed "to combine the ride comfort expected of a Lexus with superior driving involvement and handling agility," Lexus says it's tweaked elements of the MacPherson strut design including the coil springs and shock absorbers, as well as positioning springs and shocks separately to minimise intrusion into the loadspace floor. There's also a new front anti-roll bar designed to deliver improved roll rigidity.
Aiming for "maximum aerodynamic efficiency and minimum wind noise," Lexus has smoothed-off the some of the sharp edges of the LF-Ch concept for the production ready CT 200h. This is most noticeable from the front view, where the distinct headlamps with LED running light remain but the pronounced brake-cooling air intakes of the LF-Ch have been toned down considerably. This tightening of the corners, both front and rear, is designed to improve airflow down the sides of the vehicle.
The overhanging rear roof/integrated spoiler from the LF-Ch remains as does the asymmetrical dashboard design which incorporates an eight-inch LCD multi-display screen. There's also a hybrid indicator in the binnacle that functions as a tachometer in SPORT mode (and just to make sure you're in a sporting mood - the ambient lighting turns from blue to red).
Lexus says the 2600mm wheelbase allows for front and rear passenger accommodation that is among the most spacious in the segment. Luggage capacity is 345 litres, increasing to 700 litres with the rear seats lowered.
- Number of cylinders: 4, in-line
- Displacement (cc) 1,800
- Motor type: Permanent magnet synchronous motor
- Battery type: Nickel-metal hydride (NiMh)
- Transmission Type: Front-wheel drive
- Gearbox type: Electrically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT)
- Suspension: Front - MacPherson strut with anti-roll bar, coil springs and shock absorbers, Rear- Double wishbone with coil springs and shock absorbers
- Steering Electric power-assisted rack and pinion
- Dimensions: Overall length (mm) 4,320, Overall width (mm) 1,765, Overall height (mm) 1,430, Wheelbase (mm) 2,600, Front track (mm) 1,525, Rear track (mm) 1,525, Front overhang (mm) 915, Rear overhang (mm) 805
- Wheels: Alloy, 17in