/strong>We were hopeful when we saw the inclusion of an optional F-Sport Package in Lexus’ press release for the new 2012 CT 200h. Could the CT finally be a true hybrid hot hatch? Well, perhaps not exactly.
The new-for-2012 F-Sport package will only make the CT look faster, thanks to quicker with a mesh front-grille, 17-inch wheels, aluminum interior trim, and perforated leather, although a sport suspension could help improve things in the handling department. Even so, the package forgoes any modifications to the drivetrain. As a result, the CT 200h will still scoot from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds, enforcing this hybrid’s priority as a fuel-sipper that will get you from point A to point B at a leisurely pace.
Also, the 2012 CT 200h will come standard with Lexus’ new “Vehicle Proximity Notification System” that emits a low noise under certain conditions (presumably when the CT is electric mode) to warn nearby cyclists and pedestrians. Lexus appears to be preparing for a new upcoming U.S. law that requires all electric and hybrid vehicles to have an alert system for low-speed, electric-only conditions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently researching and developing standards for the new alert system. A new exterior color, Nebula Gray Pearl, replaces Smoky Granite Mica to round out the changes for the 2012 CT 200h.
The aforementioned color change also applies to the IS, ES, LS and RX. The ES 350 and RX 350 are now able to run on regular (87 octane) fuel. The IS-F gets a new 19-inch wheel design, while the IS convertibles no longer have a run-flat tire option. The flagship LS460 (rear-wheel drive only) is offered with a special edition LS Sport Authentic package, which, (you guessed it) consists of look-fast options like 19-inch rims, sport-designed grill, paddle shifters, and contrasting stitching. The special package will have a production run of only 250 units. It may not be faster, but it will definitely be exclusive. The ES350 will also get a special package dubbed the Touring Edition, which includes 17-inch wheels, saddle tan leather, Walnut wood trim, and exclusive paint choices. Only 2,000 copies of the limited ES will be made.