Unofficial Picture: 2011 Lexus CT 200h

The hybrid revolution is gathering momentum! These are the first official pictures of the Lexus CT 200h - the firm's first compact five-door car and the first full hybrid to enter a segment that until now has been ruled by the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3.

Previewed by the LF-Ch Concept shown at Frankfurt last year, the production car, which will debut at Geneva next week, has retained many of the show car's design cues, albeit toned down for the showroom. Up front there's Lexus' familiar family face, but the rest of the hatchback design, including a stylish wraparound rear windscreen, represents new territory for the Japanese manufacturer.

The cabin uses a plethora of luxury materials to compete with its premium rivals, and there's a useful 700-litres of boot space with the rear seats folded. Infotainment features are displayed on the eight-inch LCD screen and controlled via the Remote Touch pad which works much like a computer mouse.

Lexus already has ten years experience with hybrids and the CT 200h uses the latest iteration of the technology. A 1.8-litre VVTi petrol engine works alongside a electric motor to produce similar performance to a 2.0-litre engine, but class-leading CO2 emissions. The system is capable of working in petrol and electric modes alone, as well as a combination of both.

To tailor the driving experience, four driving modes can be selected - Eco, Normal and Dynamic - each one progressively sharpens the throttle and steering feel for a more responsive drive. An EV mode allows the car to run on battery power alone for up to two kilometres and up to speeds of 28mph.

Scheduled to enter production at the end of this year, we'll report whether Lexus has done enough to topple its European rivals when we meet the car in the flesh at the Geneva show. For more details click here.

Thaks to: Auto Express

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