Everything you need to Know about the IS38 Turbo

Everything you need to Know about the IS38 Turbo

The IS38 Turbo is found on a variety of VW or Audi vehicles from the factory.  These are higher output or performance 2.0 turbo engines.  While the IS38 turbo comes from the factory on the MK7/MK7.5 Golf R, Areton, Audi S3 and TTS models, it is commonly mounted on many 2.0t and 1.8t models to get more power.  

IS38 turbos while not particulary failure prone have had a variety of revisions.  When replacing your turbo its important to make sure you get the most current version(linked below).  

The 2 most common turbo's which are swapped for the IS38 are the IS12 and IS20 turbos.  The IS12 turbo is mounted from the factory on VW and Audi 1.8t MQB engines, and the IS20 is mounted on 2.0t lower output MQB engines.  When upgrading any of the following turbos you will need to install new software on your engines computer to properly run the vehicle with an IS38 turbo on it.  Install an IS38 without software would not product great results as you will not have the proper fueling, ignition timing or boost for the upgraded turbo added to the vehicle.  

What to expect when upgrading to an IS38 turbo?

When properly tuned the IS38 turbo will give you more power.  Often times people are concerned that a larger turbo will cause more turbo lag.  While this is a legitimate concern, the IS38 is not drastically larger and will only result in a few hundred RPM difference for max boost.  Given the top end benefits its my opinon that the minute loss at the low end is completely offset by the power gained on the top end.  Instead of running out of power the vehicle will continue to pull above 4500-5000 rpm.  

Vehicles with an IS38 Turbo From the Factory

Performance Software for MQB 2.0t (IS38 Vehicles)* availability varies by model

Volkswagen MK7 Golf R 2015-2017 2.0 Turbo
Volkswagen MK7.5 Facelift Golf-R 2018-Present 2.0L Turbo
Volkswagen Arteon 2019-Present 2.0 Turbo
Audi Audi S3 8V 2015-Current 2.0T
Audi Audi TTS MK3 2016-Current 2.0T

Vehicles with an IS20 Turbo From the Factory

IS38 Software for MQB 2.0t (IS20 Vehicles)* availability varies by model

Volkswagen MK7 GTI 2015-2017 2.0L Turbo
Volkswagen MK7.5 Facelift GTI 2018-Present 2.0L Turbo
Volkswagen 2018-Current Tiguan MQB 2.0L Turbo
Volkswagen Atlas 2018 - Current 2.0t
Audi Audi A3 8V 2014-PRESENT 2.0 TFSI
Audi Audi TT MK3 2016-Current 2.0T


Vehicles with an IS12 Turbo From the Factory

IS38 Software for MQB 1.8t (IS12 Vehicles)* availability varies by model

Volkswagen MK7 Golf 2015-Present 1.8T TSI
Volkswagen MK7 Golf Alltrack 2017-Present 1.8 Turbo
Audi Audi A3 8V 2014-PRESENT 1.8 TFSI


Links Talked about in the IS38 DIY Install video

---Parts / Tools----

---Helpful Related Videos Talked About---

How to Install an IS38 Turbo - (Shot on our 1.8t Project Alltrack, but applicable for all MQB 1.8t and 2.0t *w/ minor variation) 



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