Proving itself with the LFA, Lexus is ready to show that it is more than just a luxury brand. Although a hybrid, with the 2012 CT 200h Lexus is setting out to prove its gas-electric hatchback can be a viable player in the tuner scene.
For the vast majority of its existence, Lexus has positioned itself strictly as a premier automaker, and in doing so has led the United States in sales for the luxury segment for some time. However, a few years ago Lexus broadened its horizons with the introduction of the IS F performance sedan followed by its first supercar, the LFA.
Come March Lexus’ new CT 200h will enter the market as the most fuel efficient luxury vehicle in America with a combined fuel economy of 42 mpg. Starting at $29,995, the new Lexus will undercut every model in the luxury automaker’s lineup in price. While the model will certainly attract bargain luxury shoppers and fuel misers, Lexus is also hoping to draw in those looking for something more performance-oriented.
Lexus will show off some performance possibilities of the CT 200h at the Chicago later this month, with a bespoke example created by custom car builder Five Axis. Continuing with its Dark Side of Green theme, the car is sprayed in a hue the dubbed Dark Passage. Five Axis grafted custom sheet metal to the fenders making way for new seven-spoke 19-inch forged wheels. Tein springs at the corners lower the hatchback, while a Stoptech Big Brake kit up front will work to bring the 3130-pound hybrid to a stop. Inside, a custom center console and Ultrasuede seating surfaces will show what else is possible for the sport-luxury hybrid.
Unfortunately no engine modifications were made to the car, but with class-topping fuel economy figures, slick looks, and a starting price south of $30,000, Lexus dealers should have no trouble moving the hatchback off their lots. From the factory, the CT 200h may have mediocre performance figures, but with endless customization possibilities do you think the CT 200h will gain traction in the tuner scene?