General Motors is finishing up the development of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu (to be marketed as Epica in other markets), and this almost-done prototype gives us a very good glimpse as to what's in store for the all-new 'Bu.
The Malibu will ride on the shortened version of GM's Epsilon II platform – the architecture that underpins both the Buick Regal and LaCrosse – though our spies note that the new car seems to be a bit longer and wider than the model currently on sale. Chevy's signature Bowtie grille is nicely incorporated into a decidedly LaCrosse-inspired front end, but we aren't quite sure how we feel about the Camaro-like taillamps and longer rear deck. Still, we'll wait until the camouflage is stripped away before making final judgments.
Following Korea's lead with the Hyundai Sonata, GM is expected to only offer four-cylinder powertrains in the 2012 Malibu, so look for both a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter and turbocharged 2.0-liter engine to be on tap. Additionally, a hybrid configuration is reportedly in the works, as is all-wheel drive.
Production is scheduled to kick off at the end of this year, so we're betting that the Malibu will officially debut at the New York Auto Show next month. Click through our high-res image gallery below to see the latest set of spy shots for yourself.