Lexus CT 200h and the sounds of success

Quiet running 02

From production through to everyday use, the management of sound has always been a focus of attention for Lexus. Let’s begin this post by taking two brief examples from the production phase.

Like all Lexus manufacturing facilities, the Kyushu Plant where the CT 200h is built runs numerous ‘Clean and Silent’ initiatives, one of which is the adoption of a friction-driven conveyance system in the assembly room. A key contributing factor to a quiet factory environment that assists concentration levels, the conventional chain-driven conveyor has been replaced by a system employing urethane rollers to move bodyshells along the assembly line.

Quiet running

Secondly, every CT 200h coming off the production line moves into a special Quiet Dome facility similar to the semi-anechoic chamber used above, where it is thoroughly examined for smoothness and quiet running. Only once these areas have been satisfied is the vehicle approved for delivery. No wonder the little Lexus has been the recipient of prestigious Quiet Mark awards.

Quiet running 03

Meanwhile, Lexus has also tuned noise to good effect for everyday use, producing sounds you do actually want to hear.

We’ve already examined how the use of lateral dampers in the bodyshell helps to remove white noise from the audio system, but the actual sound emanating from the standard Lexus Premium system has also been improved with the adoption of bamboo loudspeaker technology.

Bamboo Speaker

In a first for Lexus and the auto industry, the speaker diaphragms are made from a complex compound that combines bamboo charcoal, bamboo fibre and resin. Injection moulded to a thickness of between 0.2 to 0.3mm, the units weigh up to 15 per cent less than a convention speaker diaphragm but are 20 per cent stiffer and have a 10 per cent greater sonic speed. So in terms of aural quality, these bamboo speakers offer a clearer and more natural sound reproduction.

CT 200h audio system 01

Of course if ultimate audio sound quality is required, the new CT 200h Premier model is equipped with a Mark Levinson Premium Surround audio system. Amplified through eight channels and 13 speakers, the upgraded system includes a central coaxial speaker to widen the scope of supported frequencies for vocals and instrumentals, while also matching harmonics between the front left and right channels. Secondary coaxial speakers in the B- and C-pillars also expand the sound range throughout the cabin, while a 200mm subwoofer in a custom boot-mounted enclosure produces deep bass tones that can be felt as well as heard.

CT 200h audio system 02

The CT 200h Premier is also the first model in its class in the world to be offered with a pre-emptive Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system, which can help the driver avoid a collision and mitigate damage should a collision occur. As we have come to expect from safety systems such as parking sensors, sound is a vital element in the success of PCS because the human body can react quickly to hearing a sudden, intense warning. So if the front-mounted millimetre-wave radar determines that a collision is highly probable, among the first lines of defence is a loud buzzer alert.

PCS 01

See also:
Lexus CT 200h – combats noise pollution
Lexus CT 200h – the strong silent type
Lexus CT 200h – quietly motivational
Lexus CT 200h: Reviews round-up


  1. This car is my sixth Lexus and second CT, obviously I like the brand and I have to say this updated CT, registered in May this year makes the previous model seem pretty rough. The car suits my needs admirably but it is by no means perfect, we have just returned from a short weeks break in Northumberland and I have to say road noise on anything other than glass smooth tarmac was particularly intrusive, ride is also on the hard side, on my previous car I ordered the 16in wheels as I found the ride on the standard 17in ones to be appalling for a “quality” car. Luggage space for myself, wife and small dog was a squeeze, I could not recommend this car for a family of four, however for day to day use it is more than adequate.

    The transmission is so much better than on the previous model, but the engine can still be heard to work hard when overtaking on motorways, I am not Lewis Hamilton as I drive for mpg not mph. When I first took the car I played around with the Eco and Sport settings, the Sport I used once as I don’t go in for traffic light grand prixs, the Eco I now don’t bother with as I find the economy in Normal to be OK, anyway driving in Eco is reminiscent of how driving a mattress might feel when you need a sundial to measure acceleration, everything feels so flat!

    I have not warmed to the use of bright work on this model, but as I can’t see it from the inside I don’t bother too much but whoever decided to put strip of bright work on the tail lip needs to think again and as for the spindle grill I could well do without that.

    It might sound that I don’t enjoy this car, however this can not be further from the truth, around town and for short distance commute I would find it hard to better, it’s all the hype that gets me, it’s far from perfect, my wife’s three year old Peugeot convertible is quieter but is not such a satisfying drive all in all the CT is nice car to drive, but it has it’s limitations.

    In a couple of years time I will return to the IS 300h, as my wife retires and we go down to one car, having had two IS250s before I look forward to driving this hybrid version.

    1. Hello Garth
      Thanks for your feedback here.
      We do appreciate your comments on the comparison, particularly as you have owned the previous model CT 200h. Owner feedback is very valuable to us as without it we could not have made the improvements you have mentioned. Such comments are fed back to our product team when they are looking at future model reviews. It was also good to hear about your previous ownership of Lexus models and we are glad you like the IS 300h.

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