Previewed last fall in Frankfurt in LF-CH concept form, the full-production spec 2011 Lexus CT 200h bowed in Geneva to fire the opening salvo in what the automaker foresees as a burgeoning premium compact hybrid segment. Originally conceived for the European market, Lexus today confirmed that the compact CT200h would be traveling from Geneva to the New York Auto Show -- and then appear in Lexus dealers here starting in the fall.

Although output specifics have yet to be confirmed, the CT 200h will be fitted with the Lexus Hybrid Drive System that matches a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor/generator -- a familiar combination that generates a combined 134 horsepower when used in the existing Toyota Prius. The CT 200h's electronically controlled continuously variable automatic transmission (ECVT) offers driver-selectable Eco, Normal and Sport modes in addition to its zero-emission EV setting that permits the Lexus CT 200h to travel up to 1.2 miles at a speed up to 28 mph.

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The fifth hybrid member of its expanding hybrid lineup, the cleanly styled 2011 Lexus CT 200h maintains a strong visual resemblance to the original LF-CH show car. Aerodynamics considerations were critical in determining both its basic shape and the fine detailing that optimizes airflow and minimizes wind turbulence. Although developed and engineered to place solid emphasis on sporty handling and agility, this five-door/front-drive hatch rides on a 102.4-inch wheelbase that also endows it with the scale needed to provide good passenger space in both front and rear quarters as well as offer a usable/flexible cargo bay. In keeping with its Lexus heritage, the cabin trim is rich in soft-touch surfaces and metallic trim elements which will be complemented by what promises to be a fairly extensive roster of upscale standard equipment and optional features. Expect more details in April when the car makes its first U.S. appearance.

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