As we’ve all learned by now, Maximum Bob Lutz isn’t a fan of the industry-standard phrase “we don’t comment on future products.” To tell you the truth, we’re big fans of that philosophy: Bob lets out as many hints as possible without revealing too many details. If that’s not meant to crate buzz in the enthusiast community, we don’t know what is.
Inside Line’s Ed Hellwig managed to score a few details about the Chevy product line after a meeting with Maximum Bob. Specifically, the next-generation Impala (link) will get bigger and also feature hybrid technology.
The present-day Impala is a big car that uses old technology. Specifically, it’s underpinned by the W-body platform dating back to the early 1980s. Opinion varies significantly on whether the current Impala is competitive or simply “too old” and outdated, but what’s for sure is that the front wheels will continue to drive the car. When the next-gen Impala does come, expect it to be based on a modified version of the Epsilon 2 platform (Super Epsilon), be over 200 inches in length, and pack much more technology to better compete with the recently-redesigned Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima, and accolade-hog Hyundai Genesis.
Besides traditional combustion powerplants, Lutz also told IL that the next-gen Impala will be available with some form of battery-assisted propulsion. Whether or not this means a Voltec-style gas-electric or GM’s next-gen belt-alternator mild hybrid system isn’t yet known.
The gearhead in us, however, wishes for a sport-tuned SS variant to top off the Impala range – even perhaps with all four wheels delivering power to the ground. From what we hear, the next Impala will be shown sometime in 2010 and be available in 2011-2012.