A new, more comfortable and refined Lexus CT 200h will be launched in the UK and Europe in March next year.
The full hybrid luxury hatchback has undergone a raft of changes that improve its styling and quality inside and out, raise comfort levels and deliver greater refinement. Equipment specifications have been raised and the F Sport model has been given a stronger individual identity within the range.
The new model made its world debut today at the Guangzhou motor show in China.
Lexus’s signature spindle grille provides a strong focus for the CT 200h’s refreshed styling. It has been reworked with the centre horizontal line pushed further forward with its “pinch-point” set lower down. The bottom corners of the spindle shape are also spaced further apart, adding to the overall effect of reinforcing the car’s low front profile and wide track.
New 10-spoke 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels have been introduced together with a shark’s fin roof antenna. At the rear the new-look bumper has stronger horizontal lines and incorporates distinctive L-shaped reflectors and a black lower centre section.
A revised range of paint colours will be available, all benefiting from a scratch-resistant, self-restoring top coat.
Interior design and equipment
Changes to the CT 200h’s interior have been made to deliver greater comfort, higher equipment levels and better all-round quality in the look and feel of the cabin.
The new 370mm diameter steering wheel is the same as that featured in the new Lexus IS. The Optitron instrument binnacle is available with an integral 4.2-inch TFT screen, which can be linked to the car’s multimedia system and controlled using switches on the steering wheel. The multimedia screen has been made thinner, fixed design, and the second generation Remote Touch Interface controller has been revised with a more user-friendly push-action enter-command switch.
The Lexus Media Display and Lexus Premium Navigation system have been made easier to operate with better hands-free and voice recognition functions. The display can be operated using a new controller mounted on the centre console.
Measures to improve the audio system’s sound quality include innovative use of natural materials, including (in a world first) bamboo. Bamboo fibre, plant opal and charcoal are used in an injection moulding process to create the industry’s thinnest loudspeaker diaphragm, giving noticeably better sound reproduction.
Further equipment upgrades include a rear view monitor for the Lexus Media Display, a tyre pressure warning system and an “off” setting for the traction control.
New insert colours and combinations are available for the centre console, and the door panel inserts have been reworked with new upholstery and stitching design. According to market, shimamoku wood will be among the finishes available. With typical Lexus attention to detail, the quality of the metal finish for the centre console controls has also been improved.
To round off the changes to the interior, a revised range of leather and cloth seat upholstery has been created.
Details of specific UK trim and equipment features will be announced in January.
Lexus has achieved significant reductions in emissions from the 2014 CT 200h, taking CO2 output down by 5g/km to just 82g/km for the entry level S grade model fitted with 15-inch wheels. For versions equipped with optional 16-inch wheels the official figure has been reduced by 6g/km to 88g/km.
Improved driving comfort and refinement
The new CT 200h has greater body rigidity, revised suspension settings, enhanced aerodynamics and more extensive NVH suppression measures, all of which combine to deliver a more refined and comfortable driving experience and an even quieter cabin environment.
Body rigidity has been increased thanks to additional spot welds and extensive use of structural adhesive technology.
The greater rigidity has allowed for the suspension to be retuned: coil spring rates have been optimised, a new shock absorber valve has been adopted and the diameter of the rear anti-roll bar has been changed to improve ride comfort without sacrificing handling agility.
Lexus has also remapped with hybrid drive system’s transmission control. This allows for a more linear build-up of engine revs, more closely matching the increase in vehicle speed. The result is a driving experience more akin to a conventional automatic transmission.
Lexus Hybrid Drive is inherently quiet, but no fewer than 94 separate measures have been taken to reduce NVH levels in the new CT 200h. These include, in a first for Lexus, a new inlet duct design that is both quiet and highly efficient.
Distinctive F Sport design
Lexus has redesigned the CT 200h F Sport to give the model more powerful road presence and create a greater differentiation between it and other versions in the range.
The stronger iteration of the spindle grille adopts the same mesh pattern as the new IS F Sport, while at the rear the roof spoiler has cut-outs to gain additional downforce. The F Sport has dedicated 10-spoke 17-inch wheels and will be available in a range of colours that includes an F Sport-exclusive white.
Inside, the F Sport has been upgraded with aluminium pedals, scuff plates and perforated leather steering wheel and shift lever trim.
The F Sport benefits from the same driving performance enhancements as the rest of the CT 200h range, together with bespoke coil spring settings and optimised distribution of front/rear roll rigidity to sharpen its sportier driving dynamics.