Lexus claims its hybrid CT200h will be the cleanest car in its premium lower-medium hatchback class with CO2 emissions of just 96g/km.
The Lexus' preliminary CO2 figures mean it emits less than the two cars the brand expects to be the CT200h's key rivals – the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3. The cleanest models of each emit 118g/km and 99g/km respectively.
The CT200h misses out on being able to call itself the most fuel efficient model in its class though, managing just 68.9mpg, versus the Audi's 74.3mpg official figure. The Lexus's emissions rating means it still qualifies for a free road tax disc and fits into the lowest company car tax band of 10 percent. Its petrol hybrid engine means it also doesn't suffer the penalties attached to diesels.
The final version of the CT200h will appear at the Paris motor show at the end of this month, where more will be revealed in terms of performance figures. The engine is a tuned version of the one that powers both the Auris hybrid and the Prius, but the Lexus misses out on the 89g/km CO2 figure that these cars offer due to the extra weight, slightly less aerodynamic nose and bigger wheels that it carries.
Lexus says the CT200h will be a sporty car, despite its hybrid powertrain, saying it has been "designed and engineered for rewarding handling, stability and comfort". This has been done by giving it the lowest possible centre of gravity, a rigid bodyshell and a sport driving mode that adjusts several of the car's settings.
Although the car will not be heading to its first customers until February next year and final pricing will not be announced until later this year, Lexus is taking orders now. Final pricing will not be announced until later this year. It is expected to cost from around £21,000.