We’ve already seen this Chevy Malibu Turbo Performance Concept at SEMA last year. After SEMA came and went, the sweet-looking Malibu wasn’t heard from or seen again… until earlier this week in Chicago.
Perhaps you don’t feel the same, but to us, this dressed-up Malibu looks as legit as the Camaro beating the Mustang… over and over and over again. But more to the point: if GM is looking for a way to boost Malibu sales, then it should look no further than to bring this very “concept” to production — perhaps as a Z-Spec model (can you imagine a Malibu Z-Spec?).
Sure, very few will likely opt for what will undoubtedly turn out to be a $30,000+ sticker… but as far as attracting potential buyers to dealer showrooms, this should do the trick. Because it’s just oh-so-sexy… and the mid-size sedan segment sorely lacks any kind of sport appeal — even if it’s just for the sake of building the public image of Chevrolet and the Malibu?
Building on that idea, why can’t Chevy be known as the undisputed king of performance and dashing looks, not just when it comes to rear wheel-drive performance cars like the Camaro and Corvette, but in other segments, as well? If anything, the image-based benefits would far outweigh any kind of (minor) expenses in tooling, testing, logistics, and engineering — especially in Europe, where Chevy (and its image) needs all the help it can get.
Now, how about giving the 2.0 liter LTG Ecotec found in this Malibu Performance Concept some extra boost (300 horses will do), while putting the added power down to the ground using all-wheel-drive? And before the comments section fills up about how AWD isn’t available in the Malibu (true, it’s not), let’s remember the fact that it is offered in the Malibu’s Opel-badged cousin — the Insignia.
So what we’d have is a car that builds the credibility of Chevrolet and the Malibu nameplate in the mid-size segment, while offering a product that is truly worthy of existing — with more-than-enough usable power, an already-proven chassis, and stunning looks.
I can already imagine little boys all over the world becoming enamored with such a vehicle, and “recommending” their parents buy the Malibu because of it. Of course, that in and of itself might not translate into concrete sales, but at a time when children are the leading influencers of their parents’ buying decisions, it seems like a worthy strategy. And if nothing else, the kids’ pleading for their parents to get the Malibu should elicit consideration of the vehicle (read: a visit to the Chevrolet website, followed by a visit to the dealer showroom).
For reference, here are all the components on the show car:
- Berlin Blue Tricoat paint
- The excellent HiPer Strut front suspension
- Six-piston front brake calipers with two-piece cross-driller rotors
- Cold-air intake system
- Ground effects package, including front splitter, rockers and rear diffuser, accented in Heroic Blue
- Custom lower grille and fog lamp grilles
- Black ice-tinted chrome accents
- Blaze Red-painted fog lamp bezels and inner exhaust bezels
- Black-painted mesh grille inserts, fog lamp grilles, window surround moldings and wheel center caps
- Clear tail lamp lenses
- Unique “Turbo” badges
- New 20×8.5-inch aluminum wheels in Night Rider chrome
- Pirelli PZero 255/35ZR20 tires
- RECARO sport seats trimmed in Jet Black leather and Navy Blue suede, with red accent stitching
- Jet Black leather and Navy Blue suede-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, door panels and instrument panel
- Navy Blue suede-wrapped shift boot
- Dark Argent and black chrome trim plates