5 min read

The MQB platform equipped with the mighty Gen 3 EA888, has shocking potential to transform your 2.0T from a quick commuter, to a serious drag racing contender.  With the few key hardware and software upgrades listed below we were able to get our 2015 A3 2.0T running mid-11's @ 118mph in the quarter mile, that is more than 3 seconds quicker and an additional 21mph faster than stock!

    In our original baseline testing article we were able to measure a peak 192awhp and 242awtq from our bone-stock 2015 Audi A3 2.0T with AWD on a Mustang dyno.  Then we installed our full ARM FBO Kit, IS38 turbo, HPFP upgrade, and an OTS E30 tune.

    MK7 FBO Kit

    Here is a detailed list of the upgrades we installed on our A3. 

    Strapping the A3 back onto the dyno after the upgrades listed below, it was able to make a best run of 343awhp and 371awtq!  That's 151awhp  and 121awtq  over the stock tune.  Which equates to 79% more power and 50% more torque than stock. Using a conservative 20% correction factor, this would put the crank numbers at 411hp and 445tq, not bad!  

    Audi A3 2.0T IS38 E30 Dyno Results


    While dyno numbers are good data, what really matters is if it translates to improved performance.  And boy, did it.  The A3 has launch control built into it, which is an excellent feature paired with the quattro AWD system.  The A3 was consistently putting down mid-3 second 0-60mph times, a full 2 seconds faster than stock.  The GTI and other platforms of the Gen 3 EA888 without AWD will have a harder time getting off the line, but should pull a bit stronger at higher speeds.  These are the results we were able to achieve after installing the upgrades mentioned above. 

    0-60mph: 3.43 seconds

    MQB IS38

    1/4 Mile: 11.54 @ 118mph

    MQB IS38 1/4 Mile

    With the A3 being substantially faster than it was in stock form, it is now in a category to compete with some shockingly fast cars.  Here is a list of stock cars that our A3 can easily dispense of at a red light.  Note that most of them have big V8's boasting big power, but the smaller, lighter MQB combined with it's AWD system is a potent package!

    Ford Mustang GT
    Chevrolet Camaro SS 
    Dodge Charger Scat Pack
    Subaru WRX STi
    BMW M2 Competition
    Audi S4
    Ford Focus RS
    Chevrolet Corvette C7 Grand Sport
    Jeep SRT

    The A3 equipped with these modifications put it at about the same performance level, maybe even a tick faster, than a stock RS3!  "But if you tuned the RS3..." Yes, that's true, the RS3 is in another stratosphere when you start tuning it.  But our A3 only cost us about $26k ALL IN to get these results, try getting an RS3 for that price!


    To start off with, we went with the Audi A3 versus the S3 or Golf R, due to the price savings.  This little gem only cost us approximately $20,000 used with 20k miles.  Compared to the S3's and Golf R's with the same mileage we were looking at about $35k-$40k, substantially more. 

    For the higher trim models, you get basically nicer everything.  Seats, steering wheel, body work, suspension, wheels, brakes, the list goes on.  But when it comes to straight line performance, the A3 has all the foundational components of the S3 and Golf R, the Gen 3 EA888 2.0T paired with a DCT, and AWD.  Hence, the cheaper route was right for us.  However, if it's in your budget to go for the S3 or Golf R, definitely do it.  They come with the IS38 right off the lot, as well as a RWD-biased AWD system and some forged internal engine components. 

    The S3/R would achieve almost identical results as we did with the A3 on these upgrades, but if you plan on pushing the upper limits and going to larger turbos than the IS38, the forged internals with allow you do that without an engine rebuild.  Also, the RWD-biased AWD system in the S3/R are preferred to the A3's FWD-biased AWD system.  

    Audi A3 S3 Downpipe

    When you're looking to push your 2.0T beyond a basic Stage 1 tune, an upgraded downpipe is required (catless or high-flow catted) to relieve the extra pressure built up on the turbo with higher boost pressures.  Many tuners will list a downpipe upgrade as required hardware for Stage 2 and more aggressive tunes.  A downpipe will help turbo spool and give your 2.0T a nice bump in acoustics. 

    MK7 FMIC

    An upgraded intercooler is a must if you're looking to get the most out of your 2.0T build.  With the ARM MK7 FMIC you can expect to pick up over 20whp compared to a heat-soaked stock intercooler 2.0T.  The ARM FMIC ensures that the intake air temperature stays cool, delivering higher-density air to your Gen 3 EA888, reliably, run after run.  For much more detailed information about the ARM FMIC, CLICK HERE

    MK7 Charge Pipes

    Paired with our MQB Charge Pipes, the ARM FMIC Kit provides a complete turbo-to-throttle body charge piping upgrade.  It also gives you the option to run methanol injection to keep your IAT's even cooler (although we didn't opt for this in our setup).  Larger diameter piping and smooth bends ensures that the air traveling through the charge system is flowing optimally.

    MK7 Intake

    The ARM MK7 Intake utilizes a very large 4" runner tube which transitions smoothly and gradually to the ARM Turbo Inlet.  This allows the turbo to draw in air as fast as possible, reducing turbo lag and improving throttle response.  

    IS38 Turbo Upgrade

    We went with the IS38 turbo upgrade for several reasons.  The IS38 has been extensively tested and researched, it offers OEM quality, and there are a plethora of OTS maps to support it.  There are other larger turbos available for the Gen 3 EA888, many of them, but they often require custom tuning, and have the potential to blow the engine much more easily than the tried and true IS38.  A maxed out IS38 does not pose a threat to the engine assuming the tuning is in order.  Lastly, we wanted to use a turbo that was easily attainable for almost anyone who wanted to replicate this build.  We went with the standard IHI brand IS38.

    Upgrading the high pressure fuel pump allows the 2.0T to safely run an E30 blend, giving it an increase in power of approximately 10% over the same upgrades on a 93 tune.  In our case, we would have been closer to the 300hp mark on the 93 tune.  If you have E85 in your area and are looking to get the most out of your VW 2.0T we recommend an HPFP upgrade.  If you don't have E85 available to you or simply don't want to hassle with mixing fuels, you can skip the HPFP upgrade. 

    E30 TUNE
    To properly run an upgraded turbo, whether it be an IS38 or otherwise, you will need a tune.  There are a plethora of tunes available on the marketplace, from standard OTS tunes to custom tuned maps.  For tuning our A3, we used an OTS E30 tune, there was no custom mapping or datalogging performed to fine tune the ECU.  It was a basic flash and go tune.  

    If you're looking for an affordable, reliable, and tunable car, the MQB with the Gen 3 EA888 is a package that is tough to beat.  If you would like us to help you with upgrading your VW/Audi 2.0T, let us know at getarmed@armmotorsports.com and our experts will be here to assist you with your build!

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