When we were introduced to the 2011 Lexus CT 200h last year, it offered a very interesting conundrum that led us to think of the untapped potential this car could have if it wasn’t a hybrid. Make no mistake, Lexus has continued to dominate the luxury hybrid market so there really was no reason for them to veer off course with the 2012 model. Heck, they even brought back the F-Sport Package to underline the fact that they’re front and center when it comes to luxury hybrids.
All that’s great and Toyota’s luxury brand should be jumping through hoops with the 2012 model. However, we still feel a little lost while looking at the car for the simple reason that we think it’s really a hot hatch that’s been trapped with a hybrid system. Just imagine the possibilities of a CT 200 with a real noise-maker of an engine.
But getting back on track, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with how the 2012 CT 200h was conceived, especially with the growing trend of hybrids and electric cars these days. After all, Lexus still has to cover their bases in the right market.
Find out more about the 2012 Lexus CT 200h F-Sport Package after the jump.
When designing the look of the 2012 Lexus CT 200h, engineers paid careful attention in combining elements of elegance and excitement into the car. What that entailed was finding a compromise between the two and creating a design that speaks of the embodiment of the spirit of the model.
The front profile of the car was given some changes compared to the previous model, including the grille that has been pushed forward off the headlamps to give a greater visual integration with the bumper mid-section. Headlamp clusters - piercing, single halogen or optional twin LED low beam lamps with arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lamps - flank the grille and are positioned on a higher plane, presenting a distinct Lexus design characteristic.
The car’s overall profile is highlighted by a steeply raked windscreen with a long flowing roofline to create an elegant and highly distinctive silhouette.
At the back, Lexus went for a wrap-around rear window design that’s characterized by a pronounced step in the tailgate section that flows from the muscular rear wheel arch shoulders. This combines well with sweeping tail lamps that come with a Lexus-unique L-shaped motif and a broad rear bumper design that reinforces the new full hybrid’s wide, firmly planted stance.
Meanwhile, the CT 200h’s interior is a picture of classy simplicity, one that harmonizes the hand-crafted quality feel of even the smallest details, creating a spacious yet efficient cabin.
The front seats in the CT 200h feature pronounced side bolsters that have been engineered with internal wire framing to give the seat additional lateral support, especially in circumstances that call for high-G cornering. Lexus also decided to give ample passenger space on the car, accomplishing it by flattening the center of the rear seats and thinning the front seatbacks and the flat floor of the CT 200h’s platform.
As an option, Lexus is presenting a number of interior trims for the CT 200h, including a choice between Black or Gray leather trim and upholstery and three NuLuxe finishes - Black, Ecru or Caramel - that are complimented by a choice of Matte Wood, Silver Metallic, or Bamboo dashboard panel inserts.
The CT 200h is powered by the advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive system that features a unique energy management system paired with a four-cylinder gas engine. Lexus opted to go with an Atkinson-cycle engine design to be able to fully maximize the system’s high efficiency and compatibility with hybrid operation in the CT 200h.
The engine comes with a 3.17-inch bore diameter and 3.48-inch stroke with a high compression ratio of 13.0:1. On its own, the engine is capable of producing an output of 98 horsepower, but when combined with the two-motor hybrid drive motor, the output shoots all the way up to 134 horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of 9.8 seconds.
Suspension and Brakes
For the 2012 model of the CT 200h, Lexus went out and got the best available suspension set-up for the sporty hatchback, underscoring the growing sentiment that this is more than just a premium compact car. A unique suspension design that combines a MacPherson strut front system with a fully independent double-wishbone rear suspension was used to go with a compact double-wishbone rear suspension design with low-mount coil springs. Not only does this improve cargo space, but it also provides a superb combination of ride, handling, and low noise. As in the front suspension, rebound springs are also used to aid both handling and ride feel for the car.
As for the brake system, the CT 200h has one that’s not only comprehensive, but also offers regenerative braking, which helps recharge the hybrid battery pack and improve fuel economy. This system, called the electronic controlled brake system, manages the actuator that acts on the system’s hydraulic brake components while also controlling the interaction between the four-wheel disc friction brakes and the regenerative brake system.
The Lexus CT 200h also gets the benefit of carrying an optional F-Sport Package that comes from the company’s own F Sport Performance accessories. As part of this package, the CT 200h will receive an F Sport-tuned suspension, a set of 17" wheels with high-gloss finish, a new front grille with a mesh pattern, metal front scuff plates, a perforated leather steering wheel, leather shift knob, aluminum sport pedals, metallic trim on the dash panel, and a choice between Black NuLuxe trimmed seats or perforated black leather-trimmed seats.
There’s no official word yet on the pricing of the car, but you can assume as much when you base it on the $29,120 base price tag of the 2011 model. Add the F-Sport Package and you’re looking at anywhere from $35,000 to $38,000.
Fascia improvements makes it a little more attractive
F-Sport Package adds even more flair to the design
Interior is dressed up
Not all that powerful
A bit pricey
Hybrid motor keeping it from becoming a bonafide hot hatch