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by Tim Beissmann

Holden will consider a high-performance turbocharged variant of the new Malibu medium sedan that has more power than a V6 Commodore.

Holden’s parent company General Motors confirmed the details of the Malibu’s new 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine ahead of its US launch in the third quarter of this year.

The Malibu’s direct-injection turbocharged powerplant produces a whopping 193kW of power and 353Nm of torque (between 1700-5500rpm) – 3kW and 63Nm more than the Commodore’s 3.0-litre V6.

The 2.0-litre turbo motivates the medium sedan from 0-60mph (0-96.6km/h) in just 6.3 seconds, leaving it just a few tenths shy of the V8-powered Holden Commodore SS.

The localised Holden Malibu is scheduled to go on sale late in 2012. Holden’s Shayna Welsh says it is still too early to comment on what powertrains will be offered in the Australian line-up, but says engines like the high-performance turbo are “always of interest” to the local manufacturer.

One engine that looks likely to be included in Holden’s range is the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol engine. The new Ecotec unit produces 147kW of power and 259Nm of torque.

Holden is also considering a ‘mild hybrid’ model called the Malibu Eco. Powered by a 134kW 2.4-litre direct-injection petrol engine, the Malibu Eco incorporates a lithium-ion battery, stop-start, an electric motor/generator and regenerative braking as it targets class-leading efficiency. GM says the Malibu Eco has better fuel economy than any other non-hybrid medium sedan currently available in the US.

The Malibu will slot into Holden’s line-up between the locally made Cruze small car and the large Commodore range, finally filling the hole left by the unloved Epica, which itself replaced the Vectra.

Prices are expected to start around $30,000 as Holden targets cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord Euro, Ford Mondeo and the Mazda6.




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