17 May 2011
When someone mentions the Volkswagen Rabbit, images of a little square-cornered 2-door pocket rocket comes to mind – especially in GTI flavor! When VW decided to re-introduce the Rabbit name a few years back, some of that attitude changed, especially for Michel Szmigiel and the guys at Unitronic Chipped in Laval, Quebec. These guys are well known in VW, Audi and Porsche circles for offering high performance ECU upgrades that work miracles.
Wanting to build a new project car, they hunted for one of the new lightweight Rabbits, luring a 2007 2.5L model into their lair for some special attention. They chose the Rabbit specifically because it often flies under the radar compared to the Jetta and Golf, yet is an awesome platform with a motor just dying to be worked over.
Unitronic pulled the 2.5L 5-Pot and sent it to DM Motorsport. DM pulled the motor apart and installed a knife-edged crank, Pauter Rods and Supertech pistons - all held it together with ARP hardware. Hanging off the crank is a lightweight DM Motorsport flywheel and a triple-disc clutch. Those feed a 6-speed O2JMtransmission and subsequently, the custom drive shafts, differentials and axles from an upgraded 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. Given the target horsepower and torque goals of 600 each – maximum traction only makes sense.
The engine is fed through a brand new Unitronic intake manifold that inhales into a HTA3582R turbo. The exhaust side of the turbo exhales through a Custom DM exhaust system. A Tial wastegate regulates boost with a Forge blow off valve keeps the air flowing during shifts. Injector Dynamics 900cc fuel injectors control fuel flow fed through a 044 Bosch Motorsport fuel pump. Controlling it all is a stock ECU running a custom Unitronic Big Turbo Software tune. They topped the engine off with a billet valve cover to match the angry intake and custom turbo header that cradle the mad motor.
Out back, you can see the twin exhaust tips from a full-stainless 3” exhaust system that incorporates a Vibrant high-flow cat. The tips sneak out from under a Caractere rear bumper. A matching bumper adorns the front of the car while Votex side skirts provide a smooth, clean look to the sides. More Caractere goodies in the form of a trunk lid and front grill insert combine with R32 tail lights to give the car more of that clean style.
Black BBS CH wheels wrapped in 225/4R19 Continental rubber serve as a decidedly European roller solution. Underneath is a full front brake system from a 3.6L Passat matched with rear R32 brakes. H&R Premium coil-overs and sway bars ensure the euro rubber stays on the ground when things get hairy.
The work inside the car is perhaps less subtle than outside. The star of the show is an 8-point roll cage that has been tied into the A-pillars to ensure the chassis remains rigid when the hammer is down. The cage was painted white to match the exterior. A set of Porsche 997 GT3 carbon fiber seats wear some custom upholstery and white paint to match the theme. The carbon look is picked up again in the hatch area of the vehicle with custom side panel trims. In the center is a large subwoofer and amp rack that is finished in the same black suede that was used on the seats.
In the center of the amp rack is a Kenwood eXcelon X600F four channel amp from their Gouriki series. It drives a pair of Kenwood 12-inch subs, each mounted in their own sealed enclosure. Up front, Kenwood components provide silky-smooth vocals to round out the system. Monster Cable interconnects, power wire and fuse blocks combined with an 8-Farad cap from Soundstream ensure power and signals get spread around properly.
Keeping up with the status of the angry mill under the hood was a necessity, so Defi Boost and EGT gauges were mounted to the top of the steering column trim, while a Innovate wide-band 02 gauge found a home in one of the air vents in the center of the dash.
With attention to detail, creativity and craftsmanship on all levels, there’s no doubt in our minds that this car would be an absolute blast to drive. Those in the know will get a sense of the magnitude of the build from the embroidery on the seats alone – the Rabbit logo with 2.5T 4Motion beside it. Enough said.