The trickle-down technology is tremendous
The big standout feature here is the overabundance of new tech, which is finally trickling its way down from the top of Audi's lineup and into cars with price tags that don't require trigger warnings. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is very welcome, as is an upgraded version of the otherworldly intelligent MMI touch infotainment system.
Also new to the S3 is Audi's killer customizable digital instrument cluster (shown) that marketing types like to call the "Virtual Cockpit." If you haven't heard of it (you missed our take on the all-new Audi allroad, huh?), it’s basically a reconfigurable screen that can rotate between trip details, navigation, and your music. Given the complexity of its capabilities, it's remarkably easy to use.
As an unexpected bonus, Virtual Cockpit negates the need for the center-mounted display screen -- which accomplishes most of the same tasks, but in lower resolution and more slowly. You can keep using it to mirror CarPlay, or lower it down into the dash entirely with the push of a button. You won't miss it -- the VC display quality is sharp, its processor speed is high, and its functionality is second to none.