Sonos must have taken our challenge seriously. Spotify’s announcement this week for their Car Thing smart player sent shockwaves through the streaming industry. We mocked Sonos for being absent in the high-end car audio category which has become a huge segment with McIntosh, Sonus Faber, Naim, Focal, and Burmester signing new deals with some of the largest automakers.
High-end audio playback in your car is not a new thing — but it’s becoming a very competitive field and a great marketing opportunity for brands to show off their technology to a larger customer base. Consumers spend a lot of time driving and listening to music. Creating a better listening experience only increases the value of the car (for the driver) and builds brand loyalty. If you enjoy the sound of the system in your car — why not bring it home with components from the same companies?
Looks like Sonos and Audi have something interesting in the works for the Audi Q4 e-tron SUV.
It’s not surprising to see Sonos partner with a premium brand like Audi or that the brand new in-car audio system will be featured in an electric vehicle — it makes sense for Sonos.
Audi is desperate to convince Tesla buyers that they are a better alternative and that a premium Sonos system is part of the package.
This brand new partnership will also include future systems for forthcoming Audi A1, Q2 and Q3 models; most of these models will be available in Europe and the North American market.
The Sonos set-up in the Audi Q4 e-tron is being billed as a “premium sound system” but it’s unclear if it will be a standard feature in every model. We suspect the top Audi Q4 e-tron trim packages will include the Sonos in-car system as a standard feature.
The Sonos system uses the Sonoamic Panorama algorithm, developed by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, to process audio and distribute it to 10 speakers inside the cabin.
The system has the following configuration: 4 tweeters and a single center channel speaker are driven by a dedicated amplifier built into Audi’s MIB 3 digital architecture, while a separate eight-channel “booster” amp handles the four bass speakers and the subwoofer in the luggage compartment. With both amps combined, total power for the Sonos system weighs in at 580 watts.
It will be interesting to see how much of a drain on the battery the system ends up being; the e-tron SUVs don’t exactly offer class-leading range in the segment and very few consumers spending $65,000+ on an electric SUV will be too pleased if that reduces its range even more.
This announcement raises another question for us. Is this the end for Bang & Olufsen in-car systems across the entire range of Audi vehicles?
I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the premium Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced in-car system in an Audi RS7 and it would be shocking to see Audi ditch that $4,800 system for Sonos.
For more information: Audi MediaCenter