Volkswagen AG, to now the most energetic proponent of the new generation of diesel engines that is taking Europe by storm, has issued its latest trump card: a 150-hp version of its trendsetting 1.9L TDI direct-injection turbodiesel 4-cyl.

You read it right, gasoline sniffers. One-hundred-and-fifty horsepower from 1.9L of diesel engine. What's more, VW's little dynamite factory churns out a stupefying 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque. To find that kind of twist-power in the gasoline-engine ranks, you've got to go 6-cyl. engines with 50% more displacement.

Moreover, this diminutive diesel thrusts the 4-door Golf GTi TDI 150 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 8.6 seconds and on to a gotta-love-it top speed of 135 mph (217 km/h). Folks, not long ago, those were “sports car” numbers. To underscore that this diesel-powered Golf is a sports sedan for a new age, there's even a 6-speed manual transmission. For a diesel? Pinch us, we're dreaming.

Now for the kicker: running through the European mixed-driving fuel economy cycle, the GTi TDI 150 returns an astonishing 53 mpg (4.4L/100 km). That ought to give California's diesel-bashers something to think about.

Apart from a variable-nozzle turbocharger that lesser TDI engines don't employ, VW credits the amazing performance to its new pump/injector units that combine the fuel injector and a small pump to bring the diesel fuel to its extremely high injection pressure. The pump is ingeniously “powered” by a dedicated camshaft lobe for each pump/injector unit. The pump/injector is a significant development: The same TDI engine sans the pump/injectors (and the variable-nozzle turbo) develops a more believable 90 hp.

We maintain our journalistic pride by never begging.

But just this once: VW, let North America have this engine.