A post on one of TopGear’s blogs last week had everyone chatting about a new Lexus hybrid designed to take on the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3 in Europe. Now word comes from Lexus enthusiast site My.IS that the rumored Lexus C-Premium concept, which will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show this fall, will arrive as the CT200h at the Geneva Auto Show in early 2010.
Better yet, CT300h and CT400h versions of the car are expected to follow. Lexus filed for trademarks on all three of the names in the U.S. recently, although the company only filed for the CT200h name in Canada.
The name would seem to coincide with the vehicle itself. The “C” standing for the European C-Premium segment of compact luxury cars. The “T” would seem to suggest (as has already been rumored) that the car would be a hatchback or, as the European’s say, “touring” model. The car will be based on the new Prius platform and as such be front-wheel drive.
The folks over at My.IS put on their thinking caps and came up with just what these new names will mean in terms of powerplants. Unlike Toyotas, where the hybrid system works primarily to save fuel, with Lexus models it works to deliver the performance of a larger engine, while getting the fuel economy of a smaller one. For example, the Lexus RX450h uses a 3.5-liter V6, but according to Lexus it has the power of a 4.5-liter V8.
The CT200h, therefore, is likely to use Toyota’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder but make power equivalent to a 2.0-liter engine. The CT300h will use a hybrid setup mated to the company’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder to make the power of a 3.0-liter V6 with 2.4-liter fuel-economy. And finally the CT400h would get a hybridized version of the 3.5-liter V6, making the power of a 4.0-liter V8 – although we’ll believe that when we see it.
Still, it looks like Lexus has quite a lineup of exciting hybrid hatchbacks headed for Europe.