2015 Volvo XC90 gets Bowers & Wilkins audio

2015 Volvo XC90 gets Bowers & Wilkins audio image

Text: / Photos: Volvo | posted June 06, 2014 08:16

Features fully integrated air-ventilated subwoofer

Volvo’s all-new XC90, which is set to be launched late 2014, will come with more than just Volvo’s world-renowned performance, looks and safety features. 

After making a deal with Bowers & Wilkins, one of the world’s top audio equipment makers, the all-new XC90 – as an option - will come equipped with acoustic technology that has been developed over the last five decades and is used in reference speakers ‘in some of the world’s most demanding acoustic environments, including London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios.’

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The speakers that will be used in the all-new XC90 will come with high-performance, low-distortion speaker designs, including extended range aluminum tweeters and Kevlar® midrange units, reflecting components found in Bowers & Wilkins award-winning premium loudspeakers. It also features a center speaker with Bowers & Wilkins tweeter-on-top technology for the first time in a car, providing a more open, spacious sound.

“The XC90 uses our tweeter-on-top technology, which has a number of advantages in the automotive environment. Fundamentally it increases the ratio of direct to reflected sound, as more of the signal reaches the listener directly from the tweeter, rather than reflecting off the windscreen first. All of this means that the Bowers & Wilkins audio system in the XC90 sounds incredibly tangible and lifelike,” said Stuart Nevill, Head of Engineering, Bowers & Wilkins.

The system is comprised of a 12-channel HARMAN 1,400 watts Class D amplifier serving a total of 19 Bowers & Wilkins speakers – 7 Nautilus tweeters (25 mm) with the latest treble technology, 7 midrange speakers (5x100 mm and 2x80 mm) with the characteristic yellow Bowers & Wilkins Kevlar cone clearly visible behind the cover, 4 cone woofers (200/165 mm) and the new, ground-breaking air-ventilated subwoofer (250 mm).

The audio innovations in the XC90 include one of the first automotive applications of an air-ventilated subwoofer integrated into the body of the car rather than being a freestanding box that is simply bolted to it.

The desire to produce the best in-cabin audio quality in the automotive world is shared by engineers at Volvo and Bowers & Wilkins and the result is the audio output every customer will hear from their all-new XC90.

“In my book the Premium Sound in the all-new XC90 is one of the top three audio systems in the automotive world.  The subwoofer design is integrated into our new Scalable Product Architecture and is possibly a world first in the automotive industry,” said Adenauer. “This increases the subwoofer’s capacity to pulse more air, which enables extremely low bass tones all the way down to 20 Hz. In principle, it turns the whole interior space in the car into a giant subwoofer,” said Michael Adenauer, former music producer and audio expert at Volvo Cars.

Complementing the Bowers & Wilkins audio system is the most advanced sound processing software from the specialist Swedish audio company Dirac Research.  It manages the timing of the sound and cooperation between the speakers to optimize the sound for a specific, or all seating positions, and can also create individual acoustics from certain music venues or concert halls.

The harmony between the software, the equipment and the vehicle is so superb that the driver can swap between the acoustic qualities of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, a recording studio or a stage environment with a simple change in the touch screen system.

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The top-of-the-line Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound is one of the system levels available for the XC90. The audio range also includes the High Performance system with a 224W amplifier, 12 speakers and the possibility to add the fresh air subwoofer.

“Great music and sound are among the most important factors for a truly enjoyable drive. This makes the choice of audio systems a vital part of our designed-around-you philosophy. We are very happy to be able to offer the music aficionados among the XC90 buyers one of the most desirable audio systems on the market,” said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Group.