There’s a new variety of hybrid car in town. These aren’t your typical sluggish, slow and smug hybrids, they’re cars built with a sporty edge, but with petrol-electric powertrains designed to reduce harmful emissions and running costs. Following in the footsteps of the Honda CR-Z sports coupe, the Lexus CT 200h hybrid hatchback will arrive in early 2011.
The Lexus CT 200h isn’t blisteringly quick. With a modest total power output of 98 kW – 59 kW from the electric motor and 72 kW from the 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine – the hybrid hatch takes 9.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill. Still, ease up on the accelerator pedal and Lexus claim the CT 200h is capable of 5.6 l/100km.
A new suspension, featuring aluminium and low-friction components, has been design specifically for the Lexus CT 200h. MacPherson struts in front anf double-wishbones in the back have been tuned to provide responsive handling. To save weight, the bonnet is made from aluminium, as is the rear hatch.
Like the CR-Z, the Lexus has three driving modes to choose from, ranging from an economy mode – muted engine response for maximum fuel efficiency and soft suspension for a calming ride – to a sport mode with stiffer suspensions settings and increased engine response for ‘enthusiastic’ driving.
Inside, the cockpit is typical Lexus – plenty of luxury as standard. The difference with this hybrid hatchback though, is the use of renewable materials throughout – even the speakers are moulded from bamboo charcoal.
The Lexus CT 200h is an important step in the evolution of Lexus’ hybrid products, so we expect to hear more detail on the car come the Paris Motor Show on 30 September.