BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Concept
2011 Lexus CT 200hEnlarge Photo
No, sadly, we're not at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, underway this week in Switzerland. But we've been keeping close tabs on the introductions via our colleagues throughout the High Gear Media network.
Here's our list of the green cars shown at Geneva that are headed for production. Most of them (except where noted) are headed for the U.S. market. We'll follow up with a similar roundup of the greenest concept cars from Geneva.
2011 Audi A8Enlarge Photo
2012 Audi A8 Hybrid
While its various e-tron electric concepts got more attention at Geneva, Audi's first production hybrid vehicle also debuted. The 2012 Audi A8 Hybrid--a full-size aluminum-framed luxury sedan, remember--draws power from a mere 2.0-liter gasoline engine.
That 211-horsepower direct-injected 2.0-liter engine, however, is paired with a 34-kilowatt (45-hp) electric motor to deliver a combined 245 horsepower and 354 foot-pounds of torque. Audi says performance is equivalent to the standard V-6 model of the A8.
Fuel consumption? On the European test cycle, it's quoted as 38 miles per gallon, though the U.S. equivalent would likely be lower. And Audi says the A8 Hybrid can run solely on electric power up to 40 miles per hour, and for more than 1 mile.
Its closest equivalent is the 2010 Lexus LS 600h hybrid, though that full-size luxury car uses a V-8 engine to deliver what it claims is V-12 performance. But the strategy used for Audi A8 Hybrid will offer far better fuel efficiency.
Audi is also likely to get a hybrid version of its massive Q7 crossover SUV, once that vehicle is redesigned as its Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne brethren were. But the system used in the A8 Hybrid will also likely migrate down the Audi range; A6 next, perhaps?
OK, we're cheating a little by calling this a production car. But if you remove the fancy paint and graphics, the BMW Concept 5-Series ActiveHybrid is a lightly disguised version of the 2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 5, the company's third hybrid vehicle.
It uses an evolution of the mild-hybrid system jointly developed with Mercedes-Benz and previously fitted to its 2010 ActiveHybrid 7 full-size sedan. Based on a small lithium-ion battery pack, the earlier version merely supplemented engine power with electric.
The new version to be fitted to the 5-Series hybrid will allow some electric-only running in low-speed urban traffic, taking it out of the mild-hybrid classification. In most situations, however, it simply adds torque to assist the gasoline engine and reduce the fuel it uses.
Unlike the 440-hp twin-turbo V-8 used in the hybrid 7-Series, the ActiveHybrid 5 will use BMW's classic straight-six, in twin-turbo form (though capacity and power are not specified). BMW quotes fuel efficiency more than 10 percent higher than the standard six.
Its electric motor is more powerful than the previous one, rising from 15 kilowatts (20 hp) to 40 kilowatts (54 hp). As before, it is mounted between the engine and BMW's eight-speed automatic transmission. An unspecified battery pack is located near the rear axle.
2011 Lexus CT 200hEnlarge Photo
UPDATE (March 3): Whoops, we were wrong, below. Very much to our surprise, Lexus announced the 2011 Lexus CT 200h will make its U.S. debut at the 2010 New York Auto Show. Sorry 'bout that ...
(original story) This one we won't see in the U.S., since we've already been graced with the luxury make's first dedicated hybrid, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h. The HS is a sedan, which U.S. luxury buyers prefer over the almost non-existent category of luxury hatchbacks in the States.
The CT is a luxury five-door dedicated hybrid compact hatchback, and it's being launched in Europe and Asia only. Its competition includes the Audi A3 and the BMW 1-Series, which is sold largely in three- and five-door hatchback styles in Europe.
Lexus says the 2011 CT 200h is built on a new platform, using MacPherson struts up front and a dedicated double-wishbone and trailing-arm rear suspension design. The drivetrain uses the same 1.8-liter four as in the 2010 Toyota Prius, unlike the more powerful 2.5-liter engine in the HS 250h sedan.
The CT's Hybrid Synergy Drive system will offer the usual ability to run up to 1.2 miles on electric power only, under light acceleration, at speeds up to 28 mph. Lexus has promised "new levels of refinement, sophistication, and attention to detail" for the 2011 CT 200h.