Well here’s some news that should pique the interest of performance car enthusiasts: Volkswagen has launched a new iteration of its GTI hot hatch, and it’s virtually the cheapest one on sale in Australia in 15 years. It has three doors and is called the Golf GTI Original. Let’s go for a drive! The Golf GTI Original lands in showrooms this month priced from $37,490 plus on-road costs – the cheapest a new GTI has been since 2004! Conceptually, the ‘Original’ is a pared back version of the Golf GTI performance hatch, however when you look at the nitty gritty, it misses out on very little. There’s a familiar 169kW tune of the GTI’s four-cylinder engine, new safety and tech, and some cool embelishments inside. So in effect you’re missing out on navigation, a sensor key and cornering lamps.Nothing earth shattering if I’m honest. Better than that ,there’s hardly a cost-cutting vibe to the cabin fitout. You’ve got this gorgeous eight inch display, crisp dials and switchgear, and really, many of the same practical traits as the five-door model. Under the bonnet resides a 2.0-litre turbo four that cranks out 169kW and 350Nm, sending drive to the front wheels. And enthusiasts can rejoice in the fact it is offered standard with six-speed manual transmission. The equivalent DSG adds $2500. On the road, the GTI really matches that ethos with pure, back to basics dynamics. Yes you miss out on adaptive suspension, but in isolation, is that a problem? Not at all, the basic setting is a nice balance between comfort and sportiness. In terms of the former, it’s smooth and backroads and isolates you from all but the harshest of bumps.. And the trade-off in the corners… well worth it. A 25kg weight shed over the five-door only enhances the GTI’s cornering finesse. And power-down from a front drive hatch is surprisingly strong. The equivalent automatic is prone to more hesitation upon taking off, and doesn’t always get things right. Elsewhere, the GTI offers the same practical traits as any other GTI model, room for four adults in relative comfort and a refined European vibe on and off the road.In short, the GTI Original is upholds all the important pillars of the GTI family. Fun, practical and affordable – the simple but proven recipe lives on. .