Volkswagen will be taking the covers off its new MkVII Golf at the 2012 Paris Auto Show in September, though first sales of the car in the U.S. aren’t expected to commence until the fall of next year to coincide with the start of the 2014 model year.

Though European buyers will be offered the car from early next year, the delayed launch here means that by the time it arrives the new MkVII GTI hot hatch will be available.

We’ve already heard a lot about the new GTI, which is expected to continue with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine matched to either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch transmission and with drive sent to the front wheels only.

Peak output will be significantly higher than the current model’s 200 horsepower rating, however. We hear it will be somewhere in the vicinity of 260 horsepower, made possible thanks to Volkswagen’s VAQ electronically-controlled front differential lock keeping tabs on ugly torque steer. With rivals like the Mazdaspeed3 and Focus ST producing in excess of 250 horsepower, a power upgrade for the GTI can’t come soon enough.

However, for buyers equally interested in performance and economy, Volkswagen may offer a tastier option. Car and Driver is reporting that a new GTD model, essentially a diesel-powered GTI, is in the works and is under consideration for the U.S.

The current GTD, based on the MkVI Golf and sold overseas, is powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine good for 170 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. In most tests, this model achieved a mileage rating almost 50 percent higher than the GTI.

Is the U.S. ready for a performance diesel from Volkswagen? We certainly hope so.