As the anticipation and excitement build for the upcoming official Lexus CT 200h Press Preview in the outskirts of Paris, France at the end of this month (an event that will be attended by CT200hForum.com's Flipside909 as well as by yours truly), Lexus's recent steady stream of Official Press Releases has become a roaring cascade as of Sunday 12 September. Let's go back a few days, however, and review their contents. If you wish to read the full Press Releases, simply click on their titles in bold italics.
On 2 September 2010, Lexus released the first of these, titled <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/lexus-ct-200h-offers-standard-170964.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Offers Standard Drive Mode Select with Four Driving Modes - Acceleration, Steering Feel, Illumination, and Meter Style Change Based on Driver Selection</A>, whose self-explanatory title also hints at the fact that CT 200h's multiple personality flexibility promises to take its big brother HS 250h's capabilities to the next level (and, probably, makes <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/lexus-hs-sybil-automotive-world-391268/">this author's Sybil analogies in describing the HS</A> appear, in retrospect, somewhat overblown). Five days later came <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/lexus-ct-200h-equipped-with-active-171231.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Equipped with Active and Passive Safety Features</A> which, among other things, informs us that the Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control will be available as an option on CT 200h. Notably, this package has disappeared as an option for the 2011 Lexus IS V6 sedans, yet is available in its CT little brother. Three days after that, on 10 September, came <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/lexus-ct-200h-offers-sophisticated-171556.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Offers Sophisticated Ride for Premium Compact Segment</A> which, along with <A HREF="http://www.ct200hforum.com/forum/lexus-ct200h-videos/117382-ct200h-3d-animation-video.html">a video that appeared on our forums</A> courtesy of the ever-helpful Seal and <A HREF="http://www.lexusgb-press.co.uk/protected/releases/2010/61389lex.htm">a similar Press Release from the new Lexus GB (Great Britain) Media Site</A> helped demystify and explain the ingenious Performance Damping System (essentially two horizontally-placed extra-long monotube shock absorbers that help absorb vibrations) that is among Lexus CT's more prominent engineering achievements.
Then, on 12 September, the floodgates opened with no less than seven individual new Press Releases. <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/ct-200h-abridged-171557.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Abridged</A>, as its title suggests, is a succinct summary (which Lexus referes to as Chapter 0), yet it reveals, for the first time, some long-awaited numbers: 0-60 mph acceleration in 9.8 seconds (Lexus Europe cites 0-100km/h numbers of 10.3 seconds); a combined city/highway U.S. EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 42 mpg (over 50 mpg Imperial/UK and 5.6 liters per 100 km for our Continental friends, although Lexus Europe cites a preliminary 3.8 l/100km on the seemingly less restrictive European combined city/highway fuel economy cycle); the ability to drive in EV mode for up to one mile (1.6 kilometer, although Lexus Europe is claiming 2 kilometers, or 1.25 miles) at speeds of up to 28 mph (45 km/h) without firing up the gasoline engine (and, thus, generating zero NOx and particulate emissions); and 14.3 cubic feet (0.405 cubic meters or 405 liters) luggage capacity with the rear seat raised. Lexus Europe, however, cites this cargo volume as 375 litres (13.25 cubic feet) and, with the 60:40 split rear seats folded flat, this increases to a maximum of 985 litres (34.75 cubic feet).
The <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/lexus-ct-200h-introduction-171558.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Introduction</A> (or, Chapter 1) is, precisely, that. Lexus states that, "Specifically designed and developed with the European market in mind, the all-new CT 200h’s size, packaging, full hybrid technology and ultra-low emissions perfectly meet the requirements of a young, highly discerning, environmentally-conscientious customer base. Yet it offers no compromise on the refinement and driving pleasure which hallmark the progressive luxury inherent in every Lexus". We also learn of an on-sale date for the United States during the first quarter of 2011.
<A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/ct-200h-abridged-171557-171560.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Hybrid Drive</A> brings us to what is, nominally, Chapter 2 (Lexus forgot to label it that, though). The expected deep-dive into the technical specifics of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system as applied to the CT 200h brings another of those long-awaited numbers: a 112 mph (180 km/h) top speed. Under its Energy Saving and Environmental Performance subsection, it veers away from strictly powertrain information to discuss Air Conditioning Performance, LED Lighting (including the cool factoid that, when fitted with the available LED headlamp option, up to 46 LEDs are used in front, eight used for the door mirror-mounted turn indicators and 35 in the rear, for a grand total of 89 external LEDs –the largest number yet fitted to a Lexus model), and Audio System information, including the industry-first use of bamboo charcoal-based resin diaphragm speakers. Constructed using a complex compound combining bamboo charcoal, bamboo fiber and resin, the diaphragms are injection-molded to a thickness of only 0.008-0.01 in., and are some 10-15 percent lighter than a conventional speaker diaphragm.
The next chapter is the <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/ct-200h-abridged-171557-171560-171561.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Dynamic Package</A>, a summary of the multiple structural, steering, suspension and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness)-quelling measures that promise to make CT 200h the new standard in the C-Premium car category. Here, a drag coefficient of only 0.29 is revealed. Not Lexus HS or Prius-beating numbers, granted, but a commendably low figure for a stylish "two-box" 5-door hatchback. Chapter 4 is a discussion of <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/ct-200h-abridged-171557-171560-171561-171562.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Design</A>, along with a prominent section discussing the High-Tech Interior Features. Among the new bits that emerge here is the revelation that along with the low hip point for the front seats that result in a sportier driving position and feel, the rear seats' hip point, in turn, is a full inch (2.5 cm) higher, allowing for greater passenger visibility and lack of claustrophobia. A sentence stating that "the driver’s seat has an eight-way power adjustment and incorporates a memory function and power lumbar support adjustment" implies that these will be standard for U.S.-market Lexus CT 200h models. We learned earlier that the U.S. market will offer a choice of Black or Gray leather trim and upholstery, and three NuLuxe (faux leather) seating and finishes –Black, Ecru or Caramel. We now read that these finishes are complemented by a choice of Matte Wood, Silver Metallic or Bamboo dashboard accessory inserts installed by the dealer. The aforementioned High-Tech Features section reminds us that Lexus CT follows its RX, HS and LFA siblings in offering the Remote Touch computer mouse-influenced system in conjunction with the optional factory Navigation System, as well as offering a more detailed discussion of the Lexus Audio Systems. The U.S. market will offer a choice of the standard, entry level Lexus Audio System, which includes 6 speakers and a single-CD player or the 10-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System upgrade that also includes an in-dash 6-disc CD changer. Finally, a Rear View Monitor option is available, using the navigation system screen on models so equipped, and a 3.3" (8.4 cm) display on the left portion of the inside rearview mirror on navi-less models, as on the 3rd-generation Lexus RX.
The fifth chapter is a discussion of <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/lexus-ct-200h-safety-171563.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Safety</A> features. Although such de rigueur alphabet-soup features as Anti-Lock brakes (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) are standard, Lexus CT does not incorporate them into a VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management) suite as on the rear-wheel-drive IS, but, rather, considers them a part of the Electronically Controlled Braking-Regeneration system (ECB-R) which coordinates the control of both conventional hydraulic and hybrid regenerative braking. We also learn that the brakes consist of 10" (255mm) ventilated discs up front and 11" (279mm) solid discs in back, and the interior includes eight airbags, including side-curtain and driver and front passenger knee airbags, as well as Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats with active front headrests. The final chapter is <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/lexus-ct-200h-manufacturing-171564.aspx?ncid=20088">Lexus CT 200h Manufacturing</A>. The CT 200h will join Lexus' previous front-wheel-drive platform hybrids (the RX 450h and HS 250h) at the Kyushu Plant (which is also one of two sources for Lexus IS sedans and is the sole source for the IS C convertible). Located in Fukuoka, Japan, it is also referred to as the Kokura plant in Lexus' Press Release, which is an exhaustive review of the manufacturing processes that will make the CT 200h worthy of the vaunted Lexus badge.
Besides these ten Press Releases, <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/category-home.aspx?ncid=20088">the Lexus USA Newsroom's Lexus CT 200h section</A> also includes a newly updated <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/photo.aspx?ncid=20088">Image Library</A> (which is the source for the photos accompanying this story) and a page of <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus/document/CT200h_Product_Info_FINAL.pdf?ncid=20088">Preliminary Specifications</A>. Among the revelations here is that U.S. market Lexus CT 200h models wil be offered exclusively with 17" x 7" factory wheels. In other words, none of the <A HREF="http://www.ct200hforum.com/forum/lexus-ct200h-news-reviews/117389-lexus-europe-unveils-ct-200h-colours-page.html">15" and 16" wheel options</A> will cross the Pacific (unless Canada sees fit to offer them). Also included are such specifications as a final drive ratio of 3.267, ground clearance, steering ratio and turns lock-to-lock, among others. Finally, the all-important curb weight number is inadvertently lopped off at the bottom, but we're near-certain that the magic number for the U.S. is 3130 lbs (1422 kg).