Silicon-plasmonics enables the fabrication of active photonic circuits in CMOS technology with unprecedented operation speed and integration density. Regarding applications in chip-level optical interconnects, fast and efficient plasmonic photodetectors with ultrasmall footprints are of special interest. A particularly promising approach to silicon-plasmonic photodetection is based on internal photoemission (IPE), which exploits intrinsic absorption in plasmonic waveguides at the metal–dielectric interface. However, while IPE plasmonic photodetectors have already been demonstrated, their performance is still far below that of conventional high-speed photodiodes. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel class of IPE devices with performance parameters comparable to those of state-of-the-art photodiodes while maintaining footprints below 1 μm 2 . The structures are based on asymmetric metal–semiconductor–metal waveguides with a width of less than 75 nm. We measure record-high sensitivities of up to 0.12 A/W at a wavelength of 1550 nm. The detectors exhibit opto-electronic bandwidths of at least 40 GHz. We demonstrate reception of on–off keying data at rates of 40 Gbit/s.