When Volkswagen lampooned the slow and show crowd during the marketing of their new GTI, they took a much-needed swing at the purveyors and consumers of the automotive detritus that makes up most of SEMA. When VW showed up with two of their own tweaked vehicles in Vegas, we couldn't help but imagine the manufacturers of the super-battle-tsunami-ninja-aero body kit scowling at the VW booth right before hocking a loogie onto the hood of the "Thunder Bunny."

Volkswagen's decision to participate in SEMA served a dual purpose -- they could not only gauge interest in offering factory-backed performance accessories, but they're also looking into producing specialized versions of their most popular models.

The aforementioned "Thunder Bunny" is one of the more intriguing production considerations, not only because of the performance, but because it would directly compete with the GTI. Neuspeed developed a turbocharger system for the 'Bunny that produces 225 HP, from the 2.5-liter inline-five and when equipped with the Bilstein coilovers and Brembo brakes is an instant competitor in the sport compact arena.

V-dub's philosophy with tuning seems to be right on par with most potential buyers of the MazdaSpeed3 or Civic Si, namely offering class-leading performance, with a minimum of fanfare. As an example, one VW exec said 17-inch wheels would be chosen over 19- or 20-inch rollers, as the latter compromises handling and drivability. Those kinds of thoughts finding a voice are exactly what we like to hear and we look forward to results.

[Source: Automotive News –Sub. Req.]