After we saw the Lexus LF-Ch concept at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, a model that would compete head to head with other luxury compacts like the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3 being offered exclusively as a hybrid.
The Lexus LF-Ch concept combined stylish design cues with full hybrid drive train in a practical 5 door compact package that would fulfill the needs of even the most demanding of premium compact customers with its bolder Lexus grill sitting atop a deep, bulging front bumper complete with a trio of intakes giving it a perfect balance of both precision and power. While the sharply sculpted, aerodynamic front fenders flow into the front bumper to create a wide set of arches and a deep set of brake cooling ducts that give the LF-Ch a powerful and purposeful stance.
The CT 200h’s full hybrid system combines a 134 HP 1.8 liter VVT-i petrol engine, a powerful electric motor, a generator, a high performance battery, a power control unit, and a power split device which employs a planetary gear set to combine and re-allocate power from the engine, electric motor and generator according to operational requirements.
The car will make its world debut next week at the Geneva Motor Show and will enter production at the end of 2010.
PRICING UPDATE 12/15/10:Lexus has finally released the US pricing for the 2011 CT 200h. The base price for the CT 200h will be $29,120 and, depending on what optional features you want, could go all the way up to $30,900. Optional packages are also available depending on what options you get. The Premium Audio Package has a price of $1,125; the same package with the addition of a backup camera will cost you $1,475. The leather interior package will cost $1,330, while the satellite navigation package will cost $2,445. Finally, Lexus is also offering a package consisting of a Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Cruise Control for $1,215.
UPDATE 12/18/2010: Lexus continues its Pursuit of Perfection with a new video for the CT 200h. Check it out by clicking on the picture above!
Press release after the jump.
The Lexus CT 200h marks the introduction of the first, and only, full hybrid vehicle to the heart of the premium compact segment. Entering production at the end of 2010 and for sale throughout the world, the CT 200h is a new gateway to Lexus, and will bring a younger group of customers to the brand.
Created for those who wish to lower their emissions but not their standards, the new CT 200h brings Lexus’ unique synthesis of unparalleled quality, sophistication and high technology to the premium C segment for the first time.
It combines the latest realisation of Lexus’ L-finesse design philosophy with revolutionary, full hybrid drive and the comfort, convenience, discreet hospitality and carefully considered driver interaction which lie at the heart of the Lexus ownership experience.
Designed and developed with the European market in mind, the CT 200h is Lexus’ first ever compact, five-door car. Its size, packaging, full hybrid technology and ultra-low emissions perfectly meet the requirements of highly discerning, environmentally-conscientious customers in the key European premium compact market. Yet it offers no compromise on the quality, refinement and driving pleasure which hallmark the progressive luxury inherent in every Lexus.
Retaining strong visual links to the LF-Ch concept unveiled at the Frankfurt 2009 motor show, the CT 200h is a powerful, dynamic evolution of Lexus’ unique L-finesse design philosophy. Styled for optimum aerodynamic efficiency, the new Lexus CT 200h has a highly distinctive, sharp-edged, resolute appearance which immediately sets it apart from premium compact rivals. It marries refined charm and glamour to dynamic sportiness, creating a unique combination of serenity and excitement. The CT 200h’s interior offers unprecedented levels of refinement in this segment. Efficient and elegant, with a powerful simplicity of form, the cabin combines superior ergonomics with the extensive use of metallic finishes and dark, soft touch materials to create an outstanding driving environment of hand-crafted, premium quality.
Combining a 1.8 litre VVT-i petrol engine and a powerful electric motor, the CT 200h’s full hybrid drive system brings a quiet revolution to the largest premium segment in the European market. Its Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain offers customers a choice of two distinct driving moods -Dynamic, or Relaxing- in conjunction with four, selectable drive modes.
ECO and NORMAL drive modes place the emphasis on a Relaxing driving mood, while SPORT mode focuses on a Dynamic driving mood. Not available to drivers of mild hybrid vehicles, an additional, switchable, EV mode allows for ultra-quiet running on electric motor power alone, resulting in zero fuel consumption and CO2, NOx and particulate emissions.
Featuring a new platform, with a unique double wishbone and trailing arm rear suspension architecture to the rear, the Lexus CT 200h has been specifically developed to combine the ride comfort expected of any Lexus with superior driving involvement and handling agility.
FULL HYBRID POWERTRAIN
With many rival manufacturers yet to produce a first generation hybrid, Lexus already has over a decade of experience in full hybrid powertrain technology. Following the 2005 launch of the ground-breaking RX 400h SUV, the 2006 GS 450h and 2007 LS 600h introduced full hybrid drive to the premium and luxury saloon segments. Most recently, this year’s launch of the RX 450h pioneered a comprehensively enhanced, second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system. Marking the introduction of Lexus second generation hybrid technology to premium C segment customers for the first time, the new CT 200h not only reinforces the company’s clear leadership in the development of full hybrid drive systems, but also the unrivalled breadth of Lexus full hybrid models available.
The new Lexus CT 200h is a full hybrid capable of operating in petrol and electric modes alone, as well as a combination of both. Its Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain delivers the performance benefits of a parallel hybrid combined with the energy-saving benefits of a series hybrid. Full hybrid technology equips the new CT 200h with remarkably quiet operation, impressive, seamless acceleration and the performance customers expect from a premium, C segment vehicle. Conversely, it delivers superior fuel efficiency and the lowest CO2, NOx and particulate emissions in its segment.
The second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system has been specifically designed to minimise the widest possible range of emissions, including those that are directly harmful to health as well as those which impact on global warming. Particulate emissions can cause respiratory disease, while NOx causes acid rain and generates ozone that can contribute to photochemical smog and global warming.
Offering significant cost of ownership benefits in many European countries, the new Lexus full hybrid not only targets class-leading CO2 emissions, but also generates significantly fewer NOx and particulate emissions than an equivalent diesel engined vehicle.
Lexus Hybrid Drive System Architecture
The CT 200h’s full hybrid system features a 1.8 litre VVT-i petrol engine, a powerful electric motor, a generator, a high performance battery, a power control unit, and a power split device which employs a planetary gear set to combine and re-allocate power from the engine, electric motor and generator according to operational requirements.
The electric motor, generator and power split device are all housed in one highly compact casing the size of a conventional gearbox, with drive to the front wheels provided by the full hybrid system’s seamless, Shift-by-Wire, E-CVT electric continuously variable transmission.
Lexus engineers have focused on enhancing key attributes of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, most notably in the context of noise, acceleration and driveability. As a result, the CT 200h’s full hybrid powertrain offers superior levels of quietness and further reductions in Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH). Engine control and throttle responses have also been tuned to deliver an engaging, dynamic driving experience.
The CT 200h’s full hybrid drive system is powered by a lightweight, highly compact, 4-cylinder, 1.8 litre petrol engine and a high performance, permanent magnet, synchronous electric motor. The electric motor works in tandem with the petrol engine to boost acceleration under normal driving conditions, and alone powers the front wheels when the CT 200h operates in EV mode. During deceleration and under braking, the electric motor acts as a high-output generator to effect regenerative braking. In combination, the VVT-i petrol engine and electric motor equip the CT 200h with the performance to match any conventional premium compact vehicle. Conversely, the Lexus full hybrid returns remarkably low fuel consumption figures and class-leading CO2 emissions.
Moreover, when operating in a switchable EV mode, the new CT 200h generates zero CO2, NOx and particulate emissions, driving for up to two kilometres at speeds of up to 45 km/h.
Lexus Hybrid Drive in Operation Over the course of any journey, the Lexus Hybrid Drive system operates in several different modes to maximise the CT 200h’s overall efficiency.
At rest, the engine stops automatically to conserve fuel. Under operating conditions of low engine efficiency such as start-up and low to mid-range speeds, the vehicle automatically runs in EV mode, on the electric motor alone, thus eradicating CO2, NOx and particulate emissions. Under normal driving conditions, power allocation is constantly adjusted between engine and electric motor to combine optimum performance with maximum fuel efficiency.
Via an Electronically Controlled Braking-Regeneration (ECB-R) system, the electric motor acts as high-output generator during deceleration and under braking to effect regenerative braking, optimising energy management in the Lexus Hybrid Drive system by recovering kinetic energy (normally wasted as heat under braking and deceleration) as electrical energy for storage in the high performance battery. Battery power level is constantly managed via an engine driven generator to obviate any requirement to recharge the system from an external source.
Fully described in the Driving Dynamics chapter, four drive modes increase the capabilities of the CT 200h’s full hybrid powertrain; EV mode allows for ultra-quiet running on electric motor power alone; ECO and NORMAL modes maximise hybrid system efficiency and fuel economy; and a SPORT mode boosts system performance.
The new CT 200h has been specifically developed to combine superior handling agility and a sporting driving experience with the ride comfort expected of any Lexus. It benefits from a new platform incorporating numerous, exclusively developed body, chassis and Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain control system engineering applications designed to offer customers a choice of two distinct driving moods – Dynamic, or Relaxing – in conjunction with the full hybrid’s four, selectable drive modes.
ECO and NORMAL drive modes place the emphasis on a Relaxing driving mood. SPORT mode focuses on a Dynamic driving mood, offering customers an engaging, entertaining driving experience appropriate to the first Lexus in the European premium compact segment. In addition, EV mode allows for ultra-quiet running on electric motor power alone, resulting in zero fuel consumption and CO2, NOx and particulate emissions and making the CT 200h as quiet and clean as any urban electric vehicle.
Focusing on every aspect of the CT 200h’s bodyshell construction, Lexus engineers have enhanced both the Dynamic and Relaxing driving moods through the optimisation of the new Lexus’ body rigidity and the reduction of NVH levels. Offering superior dynamic abilities, numerous measures have been adopted to ensure the CT 200h has the lowest possible centre of gravity and moment of inertia. The bodyshell features a long wheelbase with short overhangs, in which occupants sit as close to the centre as possible to reduce the moment of inertia. Overall vehicle height, ride height and the driver’s hip point have been set as low as possible. The bonnet and rear hatch door have been fabricated in aluminium to minimise bodyshell weight, and the hybrid battery has been located under the loadspace floor yet within the wheelbase, optimising weight distribution and balance.
The CT 200h’s bodyshell has been aerodynamically styled to achieve superior driving dynamics, NVH and fuel efficiency. Particular attention has been paid to structural rigidity through the optimisation of weld points, and the reinforcement of the wheel mounts, steering gearbox mount, steering column assembly and the suspension members. The front engine mounts feature unique lateral stabilisers, and vibration in the exhaust system main muffler has been minimised.
The CT 200h also features a premium compact segment-unique, front and rear lateral stability damping system. This Lexus-first system absorbs and minimises undesirable body vibrations to offer a more linear steering feel and further contribute to ride comfort.
The Lexus CT 200h is equipped with a bespoke suspension design which combines a McPherson strut front system with a unique, double wishbone architecture to the rear, offering superior handling and ride comfort.
Numerous elements of the front McPherson strut suspension system have been exclusively developed for the CT 200h, including the coil spring, shock absorber, bump stop, upper support, upper and lower insulators, and a new anti-roll bar for increased roll rigidity. The unique, double wishbone rear suspension incorporates a lightweight trailing arm, and positions the coil spring and shock absorber separately to minimise system intrusion into the loadspace floor. It also features numerous exclusively developed components, including the coil spring, shock absorber, upper support, bump stop, hub and bearing, and anti-roll bar.
In combination, these front and rear suspension systems combine the handling agility and stability appropriate to a Dynamic driving mood with the ride comfort essential to a Relaxing driving mood.
Four Selectable Drive Modes
Supplementing the new Lexus full hybrid’s seamless, E-CVT intelligent electronic transmission, four drive modes may be selected -EV, ECO, NORMAL or SPORT. These drive modes adapt the CT 200h to either a Relaxing or Dynamic driving mood, while further improving performance and dynamic ability, or driving efficiency, fuel economy and emissions. EV, ECO and NORMAL drive modes place the emphasis on a Relaxing driving mood, with particular attention paid to ride comfort, smooth acceleration and the minimisation of Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) within the body, chassis and powertrain.
In NORMAL mode, from start-up and at speeds of less than 45 km/h, the CT 200h automatically operates in EV mode, driving under electric motor power alone. The driver may also select EV mode manually. This unique driving mode is not available to drivers of mild hybrid vehicles, requiring the full hybrid technology of Lexus Hybrid Drive.
With vehicle range dictated by battery charge, the EV drive mode allows for relaxing urban driving with minimal noise, and zero CO2, NOx and particulate emissions, for up to two kilometres. Because the petrol engine is switched off throughout its operation, the EV drive mode contributes to a significant reduction in the new Lexus’ overall fuel consumption. In ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs is reduced and air-conditioning control optimized for improved fuel economy. Depending on driving conditions, the ECO mode helps customers adopt a relaxed driving style, and can achieve a reduction in fuel consumption.
Specifically tuned to deliver greater electric motor power, SPORT mode focuses on a Dynamic driving mood, maximising the new CT 200h’s performance and agility. It not only modifies the throttle and Electric Power Steering (EPS) settings to give a faster response to driver inputs, but also provides less intrusive operation of the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC) systems, allowing drivers to fully exploit the new Lexus full hybrid’s extended dynamic abilities. Backlit in hybrid blue for the EV, ECO and NORMAL drive modes, the instrument panel illumination automatically alters to red when the SPORT mode is selected. Simultaneously, the hybrid power indicator function
alters to that of tachometer.
Retaining strong visual links to the LF-Ch concept unveiled at the Frankfurt 2009 motor show, the Lexus CT 200h introduces a powerful new evolution of Lexus’ unique L-finesse design philosophy to the heart of the premium compact segment for the first time. Dynamic, yet eco-intelligent, serene, yet exciting, it represents a perfect synthesis of cutting-edge styling and environmentally-friendly design. Mimicking the natural flow of air over a smooth, sweeping form that is the latest expression of L-finesse, the CT 200h has been styled for optimum aerodynamic efficiency. It has a highly distinctive, sharp-edged, resolute appearance, generating a unique aura which immediately sets it apart from
The CT 200h’s progressive interior offers unprecedented levels of refinement in this segment. Efficient and elegant, the cabin combines superior ergonomics, advanced human/Machine Interface technologies and spacious passenger accommodation with hand-crafted, premium quality materials to create an outstanding driving environment. Despite the compact dynamism, power and aerodynamic efficiency of its design, the full hybrid CT 200h does not compromise on interior roominess. Its long, 2600 mm wheelbase offers front and rear seat passengers accommodation that is amongst the most spacious in the segment, and a 345 litre luggage capacity –rising to 700 litres with the rear seats lowered- comparable to any vehicle in its class.
Maintaining the visual clarity of the strongest design elements realised in the LF-Ch concept, the CT 200h’s designers have created a unique combination of serenity and excitement. Marrying refined charm and glamour to dynamic sportiness, the new Lexus entirely repudiates the traditional eco image of hybrid vehicles.
In a new expression of L-finesse design, the CT 200h’s sweeping lines mimic the natural flow of wind over and around the bodywork. Maximising fuel efficiency and minimising wind noise, particular attention has been paid to the aerodynamic efficiency of every aspect of its design. With a new, simplified, visually strengthened and more aggressive, LF-Ch
concept-inspired Lexus grille design over a deep, full-width bumper and air dam, the front of the CT 200h is the new embodiment of L-finesse, expressing the perfect balance of precision and power.
The new grille incorporates the L-finesse signature arrowhead motif within its upper chrome surround and is flanked by headlamp clusters clearly positioned on a higher plane than the grille itself. This is a unique characteristic of Lexus models, focusing the eye at the very apex of the vehicle to give the design a resolute look and strengthen the impression of speed and agility.
To enforce this resolute expression, the headlamps themselves are particularly eye-catching. They focus on piercing low beam lamps, and incorporate newly developed daytime running lamps with segment-first, advanced LED headlight technology, making the CT 200h instantly recognisable at first glance.
The deep front bumper and sharply sculpted front air dam flow into clean, muscular front wings which not only improve the full hybrid’s aerodynamic efficiency, but also reinforce a purposeful, wide-track stance hinting at excellent agility and high speed stability.
In profile, the steeply raked windscreen, long flowing roofline and unique, Lexus slingshot window graphic combine to create an elegant and highly distinctive silhouette. The long roof and sweeping character lines of the door form a tapered body shape which naturally curves in at the rear to follow the movement of air as it flows into the vehicle’s wake. The front and rear corners of the CT 200h have been pulled in tight and the wings styled to improve the flow of air down the sides of the vehicle and minimise wind turbulence within the wheel arches. And even the lower body has been painstakingly detailed to optimise airflow.
To the rear, the finely honed trailing edge of the roof overhangs the wide, wraparound rear window to create a seamlessly integrated rear spoiler housing a high-level stop light. A pronounced step in the tailgate section flows from the muscular rear wheel arch shoulders, and is anchored by a sweeping tail lamp design incorporating a Lexus-unique L-shaped motif first introduced in the LS.
The broad rear bumper design reinforces the new Lexus’ wide, firmly planted stance, while careful aerodynamic detailing of the lower bumper and finned rear undercover smoothes airflow from beneath the car, further improving both vehicle stability and fuel consumption. The CT 200h is equipped with bespoke, 17” alloy wheels and hybrid-specific blue badging. It is available in a choice of ten colours, of which two -Flare Yellow and Fire Agate- are newly developed.
The visual impact of L-finesse is carried into the interior. Once again, a powerful simplicity of form harmonises with the hand-crafted quality of even the smallest details to create a uniquely efficient, elegant and spacious cabin design. The extensive use of metallic finishes and dark, soft touch materials reinforces the premium quality of the environment. The shape and form of each interior component has been carefully designed to express an organic feel, as demonstrated by the balance of carved and polished metallic accents and generously bound leather.
The CT 200h retains the LF-Ch concept’s asymmetrical dashboard design which focuses on the driver, placing the emphasis on a snug, highly focused driving environment combining outstanding ergonomics with advanced Human/Machine Interface technologies.
Based on the Future Lexus Interior concept, the dashboard is divided into two distinct zones: an upper, Display Zone, with a 8”, LCD Multi-display screen located at an ideal distance for at-a-glance viewing, and a lower, Operation Zone, which allows access to the uniquely designed shift lever and system controls such as the IF award winning Remote Touch.
Remote Touch operates on similar principles to a computer mouse, allowing the driver to access, control and customise a wide variety of infotainment and vehicle set-up programmes.
Appropriate to the performance of the CT 200h’s full hybrid powertrain and the agility of the new chassis, the low, highly supportive driving position is dominated by a sporting, wide grip steering wheel and an instrument binnacle housing large, high-visibility, twin dials. In SPORT mode, the hybrid indicator in the binnacle functions as a tachometer and the blue ambient lighting turns red. The two-mode switch ring and a spotlight in the centre cluster also light up in red, changing the whole atmosphere of the cabin to reflect the new Lexus’ enhanced agility and dynamic abilities.
The CT 200h’s long wheelbase offers rear seat passenger roominess comparable to any vehicle in this segment and, with the hybrid battery stored under the floor, the rear seats will fold down to create a large, 700 litre loadspace.