A brand new Volkswagen Golf is just around the corner, a car whose launch also heralds the arrival of a new high-performance GTI.

While we’ve been spying prototypes for the new GTI for more than a year, the only solid details we have on the car is that it, along with the regular Golf, will be based on Volkswagen’s latest MQB platform.

The basic formula for the new GTI, which is expected to hit showrooms next summer as a 2014 model, will remain the same as today’s car.

That is, the car is likely to be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine matched to either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch DSG and with drive sent to the front wheels only.

Previously, it was thought that output would rise only slightly above the current model’s 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. However, Autocar is claiming that the new GTI will produce as much as 260 horsepower.

The key to delivering that much power through the front wheels will be Volkswagen’s VAQ electronically-controlled front differential lock. Designed to offer what the automaker claims is “more agile steering behavior,” the VAQ system has already been shown to cut Nürburgring lap times by up to eight seconds when compared to a similar powered model without it.

The new system is based on a multi-plate coupler that is located between the differential cage and the right drive shaft. The pressure required to actuate the VAQ is produced and regulated by an electrically-powered hydraulic pump. A control unit continually adjusts for the optimal locking power as a function of the driving situation. In dynamic driving, VAQ applies the drive torque to the wheel on the inside of the curve and the outer wheel on the road according to the different vertical wheel forces. The vehicle remains very neutral right up to its performance limits by this torque vectoring effect.

On top of this, the new GTI will also benefit from an electronic power steering system, as well as lightweight construction. Both the floor and the roof of the car is expected to be aluminum. An even more powerful Golf R model is also planned and will shed further weight by adopting carbon fiber, including on its roof.

While the new GTI isn’t expected to be revealed until the end of the year, the new Golf is scheduled to make its world debut this September at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. Stay tuned for more details once it's revealed.