VW Australia sent its product managers to work creating a special “entry level” GTI.
Whilst 3 doors have been available in other markets, they haven’t been seen here in a very long time.
Many of the driver aids have been left out, but the 169kw engine, selectable drive modes, and the latest Volkswagen infotainment system have been included.
Redesigned exterior touches have been kept subtle, but LED head and tail lights, Seville alloy wheels, and GTI red highlights make the car look special.
A 3 door body brings back the sporty look to what has been a hot “family” hatch.
Design and style is a deeply personal thing, and what one person finds attractive, another will find dull. In many ways the body is unadorned, but price will out. To me, it looks stunning because of the simplicity and the aggressive angles.
All materials feel top quality. Dash, doors and other surfaces have a soft-touch finish. Buttons and knobs have a reassuring resistance to them and leave a sensation of longevity about them.
Tartan fabric evokes memories of the days of the early GTI models. It isn’t hard to imagine the GTI Original being the great, great, grandson of the GTI MKI.
The cabin doesn’t feel grand, but nor does it feel poverty-stricken.
The rear seats in 2 door cars get less use than those in cars with rear doors, which is half of the charm of it.
Seat adjustments are manual, and the rear windows are fixed.
A well-appointed centre stack has the latest VW 8” touch screen and comes with Apple CarPlay standard. There is no inbuilt SatNav, which isn’t missed once your phone is connected. DAB radio is an omission too far.
- 3 Door body
- Clark tartan upholstery
- Front Assist with City Emergency Brake (City EB) and pedestrian monitoring
- 18″ Sevilla alloy wheels, black with red pinstripe
- Leather sports multi-function steering wheel
- Sports suspension
- ‘Original’ badge on tailgate
- Driving profile selection
- 8 inch infotainment system with App-Connect
- Air Care dual zone climate control air conditioning
- LED headlights for high and low beam
- LED front fog lights
- Rear View Camera (RVC)
- Parking distance sensors with manoeuvre braking, front & rear
- Driver fatigue detection system
- Alarm system with interior monitoring
- 169kw @ 4,700 RPM
- 350nm @ 1,500 RPM
- 6 sp manual or 6 sp DSG
The drive is as any other Golf GTI. The frisky engine, delightfully light manual transmission, and taut chassis reward a driver with an engaging experience. It wills its driver on in a way most hot hatches simply can’t match.
You are comforted by a compliant ride little bothered by poorly kept rod surfaces. Corners are dispatched with the alacrity of a frantic kitten. Light steering with just the right amount of assistance allows car and driver to be as one.
The sporty exhaust note is manufactured, but it matters little.
Directional changes make a commute feel as exciting as a day in the country. Golf is an infinitely practical car even in the 3-door incarnation.
Pedestrian monitoring, and the usual suite of safety features are included even though VW claims the Original is an entry level GTI.
- Engaging drive experience
- Smooth ride and excellent handling
- Peppy engine
- precise manual transmission
Not So Good Bits
- no auto wipers
- no smart entry and start
- 3 doors won’t suit some
Golf GTI Original is as brilliant a drive as any other Golf GTI. It makes you smile. It is at home on all road surfaces and in all driving conditions.
In many ways, GTI Original celebrates the halcyon days of hot-hatching.
A practical hatch and flat folding rear seats are disposed to shopping during the week, and track days on the weekend. They say 4 track tyres will fit comfortably. I’d like to test that please.
Facts and Figures
Engine: 2.0L TSI, turbo petrol, 169kw,350Nm, 6.7L/100k
Transmission: 6 sp manual (5 sp DSG optional)
Safety: 5 star
Warranty: 3 yr/unlimited kms
Price: $38,490 drive away
Our Rating 9/10