YW reflects on the luxury of silence that hybrids and electric cars promise

Lexus CT200h and why we like hybrids Hybrids, and particularly the Toyota Prius have had some vocal opponents in the media. Most have singled out it’s lack of dynamic abilities and questionable cradle to grave eco credentials. But have you ever stopped to consider the luxury of silence that a quiet car confers? Here are […]

Hybrids contribute to the luxury of silence

Lexus CT200h and why we like hybrids

Hybrids, and particularly the Toyota Prius have had some vocal opponents in the media. Most have singled out it’s lack of dynamic abilities and questionable cradle to grave eco credentials. But have you ever stopped to consider the luxury of silence that a quiet car confers? Here are a few observations from the launch of Lexus’s latest hybrid, the CT200h, which would equally apply to electric cars.

Hybrids await at Lexus CT200h press launch near Paris

Picture the scene: a sumptuous hotel set in forested hills, pleasantly removed from the city bustle of Paris. A serene calmness accompanies this hilltop location belying it’s proximity to both Charles De Gaulle airport and the main autoroute to Lille. A semicircular arrangement of gleaming cars awaits journalists eager to sample Lexus’s latest mini-limousines. Above the twitter of birds you can hear the pleasant banter of scribes and their hosts exchanging technobabble worthy of a sub-atomic particle convention. But wait; there’s something missing. Where’s the coughing of combustion engines waking from their slumber? Where’s the thrum of jockeys blipping their mount’s throttles ready for the off? Where’s the distant scream of engines being let loose once released from the gaze of the PR’s and speed bumps of the hotel drive? Answer: these CT200h’s are hybrids, with electric motors to manoeuvre and assist departure and with them comes an intoxicating calm.


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Lexus CT200h – We drive this latest hybrid only model

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be […]

Lexus CT200h - We drive this latest hybrid

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model

You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be a sports car too. Warm-hatch would be a more accurate description, but with many positive qualities. Our top tester Timtim left the virtual world to taste the little Lexus for us.



I’m in Chantilly, near Paris; capital of the horse according to the local tourist flyer I’ve stumbled on in my hotel room. Outside the Mont Royal Hotel a cluster of new Lexus’s await testers from around the globe. Without a moment’s hesitation I pick a golden yellow sample. Hey, don’t want to disappoint the YW office, although to be honest it looks most exciting in white! All the engine options are identical so there’s no squabble with my scribbling brethren for the horniest lump in the beast. In fact by the sound of it none of them come with engines at all! As journo’s hit the engine start button and saunter off on an exploratory loop there’s a barrage of, err nothing, discreetly interrupted by tyre on tarmac and a few tweeting birds (the real kind). Rather than contemplating the deafening silence (what a stupid, though familiar expression) I’m watching the instruments. I’ve hit the start button and am only convinced that I’m up and running by the “Lexus Hybrid Drive” welcome screen as the instruments light up. I grab the chrome faced, switch sized gear lever. There’s only R, N, D and the more mysterious B to choose from. D will do, B is for user selected regenerative braking, and release the anachronistic foot brake. Shouldn’t the “P” switch below gear lever just double up as an electric foot/handbrake?


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Paris Motor Show – Jaguar C-X75 gas turbine hybrid electric supercar

Jaguar wow press and public with a daring hybrid supercar concept built to celebrate their 75th year. Running gas turbines in road cars is not a new idea. Think back to the 50’s-60’s when Chrysler ran a fleet of turbine cars, and BRM fielded a Le Mans racer. These were short lived experimental projects that […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Jaguar C-X75


Jaguar wow press and public with a daring hybrid supercar concept built to celebrate their 75th year.

Running gas turbines in road cars is not a new idea. Think back to the 50’s-60’s when Chrysler ran a fleet of turbine cars, and BRM fielded a Le Mans racer. These were short lived experimental projects that followed the motor show dream concepts of the time. Interesting ideas but flawed in many ways and connected mechanically to the drivetrain. Using gas turbines to generate electricity for electric drive motors solves the immediate problem of reducing the phenomenal RPM and throttling of a turbine down to the low rotation needed for your wheels and tyres. It also allows the turbine to run at optimum speed for the efficiency that eluded earlier iterations. If Jaguar have solved the remaining problems of heat and emissions, then we have the recipe for an interesting vehicle. 4 wheel drive, infinitely controllable for traction and yaw, electric drive supplemented by turbine generators, bring it on Jaguar. Lets hope this is not just pie in the sky and points the way to a new and exciting future for supercars.

Enough of the mechanics, this is a concept and concepts need to impress as well as show the way forward. Raiding the past to guarantee the pedigree of the brand is normal and acceptable, copying elements blindly to make life easy is plain tacky. Fortunately this concept walks the tightrope adeptly between cool and kitsch, looking forward whilst recalling past icons. Deliberate evocations of the glorious XJ13 present in the classic-yacht boat tail work well. It’s not all plain sailing though, as the nose needs to incorporate latest Jag styling cues. Forcing an upright squarish mouth onto an otherwise sleek flowing shape seems brutish and doesn’t integrate as well as the beautiful tapering tail.

Rather than verbally perambulate endlessly on design matters we encourage you to peruse the pics and judge for yourselves as this is inevitably a question of personal taste. On balance though we’ll give it an enthusiastic thumbs up!


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