When General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] launched its redesigned Malibu in 2008, it garnered immediate critical praise, proving that GM hadn't entirely ceded the mid-size market to Honda and Toyota. The seventh-generation car was a major victory for then GM vice chairman Bob Lutz, and would go on to win the coveted North American Car of the Year award.

No longer was the Malibu just a denizen of the airport rental lots.

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But while current models have continued to earn top marks from JD Power, sales have been slow, and the hasty refresh seen last year hasn't made the bottom-line impact the company was hoping for. Spy shots of the model GM is set to debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show next month—based on the “E2XX, " a highly modified version of the current Epsilon II platform—show a significantly sleeker car, which we've favorably compared to Audi's dead-sexy A7. Though the 2016 Malibu will be 300 pounds lighter than the current car, it will be slightly larger, in a bid to address complaints about the lack of legroom which have dogged the Malibu since 2008. As far as we know, there are no significant updates to the powertrain.

Whether it will be enough to stop the sales slide remains to be seen, but GM is committed to ensuring that eighth-generation models continue the dependability of its recent predecessors. Along with standard hot and cold weather driving—in Yuma, Arizona and Northern Canada respectively—and accelerated wear trials, forthcoming models are being battered with tests derived from four decades of data pulled off black boxes placed in cars from locations as far-flung as Saudi Arabia and Russia.

If you've ever seen what passes for roads in the former Soviet Union, you know its cars there face torture tests impossible to replicate in a lab.

We'll have all the details on the new Malibu after its reveal. Until then, check out our dedicated 2015 New York Auto Show hub to see what other news we're expecting to break in the Big Apple.


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