Lexus takes its full hybrid drive technology to a new level in the Lexus CT 200h, the model that marks its debut in the small luxury car market. The latest development of Lexus Hybrid Drive maintains the smoothness, refinement and high efficiency for which it is renowned, but with a choice of driving modes that let drivers tap into the car's full dynamic potential, or opt for optimum eco-performance.
The Lexus CT 200h has two distinct driving 'moods' - Dynamic and Relaxing - which it adopts in line with the driver's choice of selectable drive modes for the full hybrid system, which comprises a 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine, an electric motor and an electrically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT).
EV (electric vehicle), ECO and NORMAL modes place the emphasis on ride comfort, smooth acceleration and low NVH levels in the cabin for a relaxing drive.
Being a full hybrid, the Lexus CT 200h can operate automatically in EV mode, switching off the petrol engine and running on its electric motor alone, at speeds from start-up up to 30mph. Ideal for smooth, silent progress in slow urban traffic, it can reduce tailpipe emissions to zero, with driving range determined by the level of battery charge and local conditions. EV mode can also be selected manually by the driver.
Switch to ECO mode and the car's systems are automatically adjusted to deliver maximum efficiency. Throttle responses are moderated when the driver presses hard on the accelerator and air conditioning performance is altered to reduce its impact on fuel consumption.
SPORT mode lets the driver exploit the full potential of the Lexus CT 200h's dynamic qualities, increasing power delivery from the electric motor and maximising performance and agility. The Power Control Unit (PCU) in the Lexus Hybrid Drive system boosts the power supply voltage to 650v, increasing overall system output, and engine revs are held higher as the driver accelerates. Settings for the throttle and Electric Power Steering (EPS) are also adjusted to give sharper response to driver inputs.
Even the look of the instrument panel changes to reflect the move to more dynamic performance: the instrument backlighting automatically shifts from hybrid blue to red and the hybrid power meter is replaced by a tachometer display.
On sale through Lexus retailers from October 2010, the Paris Motor Show marks the official market launch of the new Lexus CT 200h.Published 3 September 2010