The Malibu Maxx SS is powered by a sophisticated 3.9L V-6 that uses variable valve timing and variable intake technology to help produce 240 horsepower (179 kW). Unique interior and exterior appointments, along with sport-tuned suspensions and segment-largest 18-inch flangeless wheels, complete the SS packages.
Malibu Maxx SS build on the strengths of the solid Malibu Maxx sedan platforms, and include the following enhancements:
- 3.9L V-6 with variable valve timing rated at 240 horsepower (179 kW)* and 240 lb.-ft. (325 Nm) of torque
- Hydra-Matic 4T65 four-speed transmission with manual shift mode and adaptive shift control
- SS-specific front and rear fascias, with blacked-out crosshatch grille pattern, platinum-look grille surrounds, projector beam fog lamps, rear spoiler and dual chrome-tipped 3.5-inch exhaust outlets
- Monochromatic exterior moldings and trim
- Segment-largest 18-inch flangeless wheels
- Sport-tuned suspension
- SS-specific ebony interior with gunmetal trim accents
New sport seats with larger bolsters, new three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and leather-covered shifter knob
The SS models’ 3.9L V-6 is the first production variant of GM Powertrain’s sophisticated 60-degree V-6 OHV engine family, which is designed to deliver smoothness and quality while balancing strong performance and economy. The large displacement of the 3.9L V-6 – achieved with 99-mm offset bores and an 84-mm stroke – combines with torque-enhancing technologies such as a variable air intake to produce a broad, flat torque curve that translates into exceptional all-around performance and terrific off-the-line launch feel. With variable air intake, air entering the engine is continuously tuned through a valve in the intake manifold to deliver optimized low-, mid-range and high-rpm torque. In fact, 90 percent of peak torque is available from 1800 to 5800 rpm.
Variable valve timing is used to bolster performance, enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions. An electronically controlled cam phaser provides for infinitely variable adjustment of camshaft timing in relation to the crankshaft. By electronically controlling the camshaft, the optimum location can be selected for various engine operating conditions, maximizing torque and horsepower outputs. The 3.9L V-6 is the first production cam-in-block engine to incorporate cam phasing.
Power from the 3.9L V-6 is channeled to the front wheels through the Hydra-Matic 4T65 electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. It is designed for high torque loads and consistent performance and durability. It also features a manual shift mode and an aggressive 3.69 final drive ratio that enhances the performance driving characteristics of the Malibu Maxx SS. Adaptive shift control is used to optimize shift quality during varying driving conditions.
Firmer, more responsive suspension systems elevate the driver’s feeling of control and feedback. New springs in the front and rear are stiffer and work with specially valved struts and shocks to increase damping and response. The diameter of the front and rear stabilizer bars has been increased, as well, to help reduce body lean while cornering. Also, a variable-ratio, hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion steering system provides precise steering feel to create an “on rails” driving experience.
Transferring all the suspension enhancements to the tarmac is a set of 18-inch flangeless aluminum wheels and two available tire choices: an all-season 225/50R18 tire and a “summer only” performance 225/50R18 tire. A larger four-wheel disc brake system with standard ABS is included, featuring 11.65-inch (296 mm) vented front discs and solid 10.63-inch (270 mm) rear discs. A performance-calibrated traction control system also is standard.
As with every vehicle wearing the SS badge, the Malibu Maxx SS wears sporty interior and exterior cues that include specific front and rear fascias, monochromatic body side moldings and exterior trim, rear spoilers – unique between the Malibu and Malibu Maxx – and 18-inch flangeless wheels and dual chrome exhaust outlets.
The new front fascias incorporate the large and low grille opening, with a black crosshatch grille pattern with gold center Chevy bowtie emblem, projector beam fog lamps, and a prominent “chin” spoiler. The grille surround comes in a platinum finish rather than the chrome surround of other Malibu models. The rear fascias provide a tauter overall look to the vehicles, accenting their performance stance, as well as incorporating cut-outs for the dual chrome-tipped 3.5-inch exhaust outlets.
Four exterior colors are offered: White, Black, Laser Blue Metallic and Silverstone Metallic.
Inside, the vehicles feature SS-specific treatment that emphasizes the performance and upscale touches that are woven into all SS models – a heritage of sportiness and comfort that dates back to the first production SS model, the 1961 Impala Super Sport. The Malibu Maxx SS features include:
- All-Ebony interior design theme, including the rear shelf of the Malibu and cargo area of the Malibu Maxx
- New sport front seats with enhanced, leather-covered bolsters, contrasting stitching and sport cloth inserts
- Three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with prominent SS badge
- Leather-covered shift knob with contrasting stitching
The Malibu Maxx SS receive a unique instrument cluster with sport graphics, chrome-ringed gauges and red pointers, and the SS logo. The instrument panel also has a redesigned “PRNDM” display, with the “M” designating the vehicles’ manual shift mode.