Chief engineer Chika Kako, Lexus International’s first female chief engineer

Chief engineer Chika Kako, Lexus International’s first female chief engineer

Lexus says that cutting the noise made by the CVT is among the improvements made as part of the mid-life facelift for the CT 200h.

Chief engineer Chika Kako, Lexus International's first female chief engineer, emphasises the large number of improvements made to the car.

"In all we made 94 separate changes to the car, which for a mid-life programme represents a huge effort," said Kako.

"When it came to the engineering priorities for the new CT 200h, we wanted to have the best balance between ride comfort and dynamic performance," she said.

"It was also important - especially for the European market - to reduce CO2 emissions."

Lexus says the revised model benefits from increased body rigidity, achieved by "significantly increasing the number of weld points around the tailgate, adjusting the springs and dampers and retuning the steering for smoother feel and greater responsiveness". Adjustments to the aerodynamics, Lexus says, have helped the full hybrid powertrain deliver greater efficiency, with CO2 levels cut across the board, ranging from just 82 to 88g/km across the range.

Kako also said that Lexus listened to customer feedback when planning the new model programme, including concerns about the relationship between sound generated by the transmission and the engine speed.

"Some customers commented about the noise made by the CVT. To solve this we defined the best balance between powertrain noise and vehicle speed to create a more linear feel when moving through the rev range," she said.

"Eliminating noise from the transmission and striking the right balance in making the car fun to drive and comfortable have delivered a better driving experience than before. I think we have succeeded in making the handling sportier, yet with a more comfortable ride."

Kako also highlights measures that have raised quality in the cabin and introduced new on-board technology.

"We took steps to improve visual refinement, which you can see in details such as the way leather is used around the gearshift and new trim details. Making the cabin quieter adds to the perceived quality, along with a sportier exhaust note," she said.

A facelifted CT 200h had its world premiere at the Guangzhou motor show in November 2013.