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2013 Malibu Turbo: A Midsize Sedan with Chevrolet Spirit
Question of the Day
Throughout its history, Chevrolet has offered stylish, affordable and dependable family cars with a little something extra.
In the case of the 2013 Malibu, that something extra is an all-new 2.0L turbocharged engine designed to infuse the new Malibu midsize sedan with real Chevrolet spirit.
“The all-new turbocharged engine showcases just how capable the new Malibu is, and the turbocharged Malibu is perfect for customers who want a midsize sedan that is fun to drive under a wide range of real-world conditions,” said Mark Meyers, GM global vehicle performance manager.
The Malibu turbo can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and achieve a top speed of 155 mph. Even with this performance delivered by its 259-horsepower (193 kW) engine, the Malibu turbo has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 21 city and 30 mpg highway.
With its peak torque of 260 lb.-ft. (353 Nm) sustained between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm, the turbocharged engine also gives Malibu excellent response under a broad range of driving conditions. This added performance comes with greater refinement as the enhanced torque reduces downshifts and helps quiet the buzz sometimes found in four-cylinder engines.
Malibu turbo includes a four-wheel-independent suspension system, hydraulic ride bushings, premium electric steering gear and more.
“With its global pedigree and European tuning, the new Malibu has a robust body structure, premium steering and suspension, and substantial four-wheel disc brakes,” said Meyers.
Performance and value
The Malibu turbo goes on sale this fall, available as both a mid-level LT model with a suggested retail price of $27,710 and as a more luxurious LTZ model with a suggested retail price of $30,925. Both prices include a $995 dealer freight charge.
Standard content on turbo LT models includes:
18-inch aluminum wheels
Chevy MyLink, with a seven-inch color touch-screen radio, Bluetooth, and USB port
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar
Tilting and telescoping steering column with steering wheel controls for audio and cruise control
Ice-blue ambient lighting.
Malibu turbo LTZ models add:
LED tail lamps
Heated front seats
Available 19-inch aluminum wheels.
Technically advanced engine
A host of technologically advanced elements contribute to the Malibu turbo’s performance, including dual-overhead camshafts with continuously variable valve timing, direct injection and more:
Twin-scroll turbocharger that virtually eliminates turbo lag and generates maximum boost of 20 psi
Air-to-air intercooler that reduces the pressurized air charge’s temperature for optimal performance
A356T6 aluminum cylinder head cast with Rotocast process - similar to the Corvette ZR1’s heads - for greater strength and improved airflow
Sand-cast aluminum engine block that features cast-in iron liners and structural enhancements to enable higher power with reduced noise and vibration
Aluminum pistons with jet-spray cooling, which enhances performance and longevity
Modular balance shaft system in the oil pan for greater refinement
Two-stage variable-displacement oil pump that enhances the overall operating efficiency of the engine
Specially tuned exhaust for reduced backpressure and improved sound quality.
The advanced, electronically controlled turbocharger’s twin-scroll design optimizes power. Each of two scrolls on the turbine is fed by a separate exhaust passage - one from cylinders one and four, the other from cylinders two and three - to virtually eliminate turbo lag at low engine speeds, giving the engine immediate throttle response.
Because direct injection cools the intake process, compared to conventional port injection, the engine can operate at higher boost and a relatively higher compression ratio of 9.2:1, which increases both output and efficiency. Also, each piston has its own directed jet that sprays oil toward its skirt, coating its underside and the cylinder wall with an additional layer of lubricant. That cools the piston, reduces friction and operational noise and bolsters the engine’s durability.
The 2.0L turbo engine is matched with the Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission, with TAPShift control.
Sold in more than 100 countries, the new Malibu benefits from a global development process that prepared the car for everything from unimproved roads in developing countries to the Autobahns and mountain switchbacks of Europe.
“You feel connected to the road in the Malibu turbo, while also being isolated from wind noise and imperfections in the pavement,” said Meyers. “Behind the wheel, the new Malibu turbo feels responsive. The steering is precise on center, with a confident steering effort build-up as the driver turns into a curve. The chassis feels great in the corners, with excellent body-motion control.
“The Malibu is a fun car to drive, and the power of the turbo engine makes it even better,” said Meyers.
A solid body structure, as stiff as any in the global midsize market, helped engineers dial in a refined degree of control in the front and rear suspensions, while an isolated engine cradle reduces noise transmission to the cabin. Chassis and suspension highlights include:
MacPherson-strut front suspension with dual-path mountings, which separates the transfer of spring damper loads to the body to a smoother-feeling ride and an enhanced feeling of control. New for the turbo model are internal rebound springs for the front struts that give the Malibu improved body motion control and roll damping in handling maneuvers
Side-load-compensated strut modules are designed to reduce the sliding friction caused by the bending load on the strut that is common in most suspension geometries, for more precise suspension tuning
Aluminum steering knuckle/strut carriers and control arms are used to minimize un-sprung weight, optimize weight distribution throughout the front suspension and intended to foster a more nimble driving feel
A direct-acting front stabilizer bar enables a more direct and immediate feeling to steering inputs. It is mounted to the rear portion of the engine cradle, with each end of the bar connected to the front struts
Isolated lower A-arms, with integrated ball joints, are attached via two mounting points on a sub-frame that, in turn, is mounted with four isolators to the body structure. This provides a firmer foundation for the A-arms, which helped engineers tune the suspension more precisely, while also reducing noise and vibration
Hydraulic ride bushings in the front control arms are designed to deliver a higher degree of ride isolation, quieter performance and more controlled transfer of road inputs
Rack-mounted electric power steering gear by ZF Steering Systems. This dual-pinion system - one for steering and the other to move the rack - is designed to deliver excellent response and on-center characteristics, with almost perfect linear response. It also helps save fuel because engine doesn’t have to turn a conventional hydraulic steering pump
A four-link rear suspension intended to contribute to the car’s controlled feel, with a direct-acting performance and precise calibration, thanks to its mounting directly to the stiff body structure. The four links include an upper camber link, two lower links and a trailing link
Eighteen-inch aluminum wheels are standard on Malibu Turbo, while 19-inch wheels are available. They’re used with 235/50R18 or 245/45R19 all-season tires, respectively.
Chassis control systems
Malibu’s electronic chassis controls are designed to enhance overall ride and handling qualities of the car, and also help make for a safer journey. All are part of the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, which also incorporates full-function traction control.
When a situation requires a higher level of electronic intervention - signaled by inputs detected by a yaw sensor mounted in the center of the vehicle - StabiliTrak modulates the brakes at the individual wheels, reduces power or does both to help the driver remain in control. The system incorporates advanced braking features to assist in a variety of conditions, including:
Cornering Brake Control is activated when the car is braking while cornering. Brake pressure is individually varied among all four wheels to keep the car stable.
Brake Assist helps the driver in emergency braking situations, giving the driver a higher deceleration gain than would be possible from the regular brake system booster.
The Malibu turbo’s brake system consists of four-wheel discs, featuring 11.7-inch (296 mm) vented front discs and aluminum calipers in the rear. A four-channel anti-lock system is tied in with StabiliTrak to provide more control in wet and icy conditions.
The 2013 Malibu Turbo also offers 10 standard air bags, as well as an available rearview camera system, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. It is also the first 2013 midsize car to earn double honors for safety, including a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
All models are covered by a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as well as a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty.
By Matt Kibbe
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