As far as we can deduce, there are, as of this writing, three publicly-viewed Lexus CT 200h pre-production prototypes out and about. The first of these is the pearl white (Starfire Pearl in North America and Arctic Pearl or White Pearl in Great Britain and Australia, paint code 077) with black interior (it is unclear whether it's NuLuxe faux leather or real leather) show car that has appeared at the Geneva, New York and Madrid auto shows. The other two, after quietly appearing on the Lexus Europe Facebook page, quickly made the rounds of the Internet and Lexus fan sites. The first to appear there combined a <A HREF="http://www.ct200hforum.com/forum/lexus-ct200h-pictures/117336-lexus-ct-200h-brown-spice-mica.html">Brown Spice Mica</A> (or Fire Agate in Great Britain) exterior with an Ecru interior in NuLuxe faux leather with a light wood (presumably bamboo) trim strip on the dashboard. It was soon joined by another CT 200h with a Smoky Granite Mica (Cadoxton Slate in Great Britain and Graphite in Australia, paint code 1G0) exterior combined with a black "fabric" interior (it is unclear from the pictures whether it's cloth or Alcantara suede) with brushed metal trim on the dashboard. The <A HREF="http://www.ct200hforum.com/forum/lexus-ct200h-pictures/117350-new-ct200h-exterior-shots.html">exteriors</A> and <A HREF="http://www.ct200hforum.com/forum/lexus-ct200h-pictures/117349-first-ct200h-interior-shots.html">interiors</A> of the latter two vehicles have been amply illustrated on CT200hForum.com threads, courtesy of ever-helpful member Seal.
Unlike the white "show turntable queen", the gray and brown CT 200h vehicles are actual, functioning prototypes, notable for their taped-over Lexus badges and lights. Valuable as they are, Lexus Europe is not ready to turn them over to journalists to drive at this point, but they were kind enough to allow a couple of journalists to ride along as passengers and gain some insight into the Lexus CT 200h's feel.
The first of these was <A HREF="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car-manufacturers/lexus/7861355/Sporty-emphasis-for-new-Lexus-hybrid.html">Jesse Crosse of the United Kingdom's Telegraph</A>. In Crosse's words, "Lexus engineers...were keen to demonstrate the low centre of gravity, flat cornering stance, low, sporty, driving position and high levels of refinement." Unfortunately, his all-too-brief article contains but a single notable revelation: that the CT200h is generally very quiet and the hybrid drive has been recalibrated to reduce the wailing noise common to hybrid CVTs (continuously variable transmission), but that said noise, while successfully quelled in "Normal" and "Eco" modes, is more prominent in the punchier "Sport" mode.
Far more informative is the second account, by <A HREF="http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/30/2011-lexus-ct-200h-first-ride-drive-review-road-test/">Noah Joseph of Autoblog</A>. We learn, for instance, that the Lexus CT 200h is currently in its "European Conformity" phase, meaning that it's near completion and is presently undergoing final refinements and certification. The article's ninth paragraph is arguably its most revealing, with its discussion of the much-touted (in <A HREF="http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://lexusenthusiast.com/images/gallery/lexus-ct-200h-brochure/lexus-ct-200h-brochure-2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://lexusenthusiast.com/2010/02/23/lexus-ct-200h-brochure-leak/&usg=__hA2ZgCOQyJokphX-nLsgWkzdr38=&h=452&w=1280&sz=121&hl=en&start=5&itbs=1&tbnid=gQJBzgZOHDHbsM:&tbnh=53&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dlexus%2Bct200h%2Bbrochure%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1">the Geneva Auto Show CT 200h Press Brochure</A>) Performance Dampers that help reduce noise and vibration as well as strengthening chassis rigidity. We learn the heretofore undisclosed fact that, as with a number of legendary Toyota and Lexus performance models (Toyota 2000GT and final Celica GT-S, Lexus LFA), Yamaha had a hand in the development of these dampers. Also revealed for the first time is Lexus CT's expected class-leading drag coefficient of 0.28. As for the claim that "CT 200h also stands as the lightest model Lexus has ever produced", we wonder if that includes the IS 200 that was never sold in North America. At any rate, we'll be expanding that discussion and indulging in informed speculation on CT 200h's expected curb weight, performance and fuel economy in an upcoming CT200hForum.com Front Page story.
As to Noah Joseph's impressions as a passenger, he tells us that, "the CT 200h – even in prototype guise – is suitably Lexus-like in its build quality and refinement, yet surprisingly aggressive in its handling. The ride feels well balanced in its damping between comfort and sportiness, and given the instant torque delivery inherent in the electric boost, it never seemed to lack for punch... from the passenger seat, at least. We'll reserve final judgment until we can get behind the wheel of a completed production model ourselves, but for the moment, one message rings loud and clear: This is not your mother's Prius."