Valid points, though at least regarding handling, the car isn't a Vette but it's definitely near the top of the midsize sedan class in regards to ride/handling, if not the best. Wheels and tires can affect this, and possibly your '08 LTZ-4's 17's are one issue, as well as the electric steering on 4-cyl models is quite light. That said, it's a very tossable, crisp car, overall with the right tires and such--even if, perhaps, the smooth ride and quietness skew the perception, after a while.
Otherwise, too, the front valance. That's an "every car" thing almost, and specific to spoilers, air dams, and such underneath the main fascia, that's all about aerodynamics and mpg's in relation to them. Smooths underbody airflow, and isn't just there to be a nuisance.
The next gen Malibu is actually, well, quite far along in design. One new vehicle that gives a lot of ideas about what it will offer is the new '10 Buick Lacrosse, of which it will share the Epsilon II platform with. Think Direct Injection 4-cyl's and V6's only, still FWD but with optional AWD, all new electronics in conjunction with a new interior design where it's all more integrated (again, look at the center stacks of the new Equinox, Lacrosse, etc. for an idea), and more. Potentially not a huge styling departure, given the success of the current looks and the V1.0 platform it's already on, but that has yet to be seen. It was actually supposed to be out sooner rather than later, with the current car having a short run despite being so thoroughly re-done, but of course, with the financials and such, there were better ideas and product choices to make in the meantime.
We'll see. Still, any suggestions and comments are very valid to make...we do drive these vehicles daily, so it's the best real world R&D to report back on.