Bang & Olufsen: Audi Raises the Bar, Yet Again in Car Audio

Audi A8 Sedan

In the automotive luxury spectrum, it’s on! Not only are Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi battling for supremacy, they’re also in a pitched battle to see who can provide the best audiophile sound experience once you close the doors of your luxury sedan.

So you know Automotive Rhythms had to bring you the latest in this “war.” After all, fine music reproduction is woven into everything we do, from our coverage of the hottest music events coast to coast, to the custom beats we lay down under our ARtv videos, we live music.

So when Audi invited us to experience the stellar new A8 Sedan, we knew we were in for a treat. Veteran readers of this site will remember our long-term 2008 A8L, replete with the then state-of-the-art Bang and Olufsen (B&O) audio system. The system was boss, and provided a concert like soundstage within the serene environment the A8 provides.

For 2011, Audi has raised the audio bar again. Consider the specs of the new Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System. It has:

  • Nineteen speakers (five more than the previous A8 system), each driven by its own discrete channel of digital signal processing and amplification.
  • Amplifier power that totals 1,460 watts.
  • And signature tweeters that rise from the dash to let everyone know your system is for real.

The nineteen speakers are typical B&O world-class quality. They feature B&O’s patented Acoustic Lens Technology. The unique shape and finely tuned acoustic optimization of the new speakers results in improved acoustic performance over the previous system.

The loudspeaker grills for the midranges and woofers in both front and rear doors are organically shaped and each formed from a single piece of aluminium integrating perfectly with the A8’s interior curves. These grills are gorgeous!

The new generation Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System offers improved sound both for passengers in the front and rear seats. For the front passengers, improved staging and imaging is enabled by the addition of a two-channel center speaker package and the enhanced acoustic lenses. The rear seat sound performance is improved through the introduction of a three-way speaker system in each of the rear doors and a two way system on the parcel shelf.

The four additional rear loudspeakers improve the listening experience during playback of discrete multi-channel audio formats. This means that an even more “movie theatre like” experience is gained, particularly in conjunction with the Audi Rear Seat Entertainment package, which includes twin rear 10.2 inch DVD screens. This feature is complemented by the option of selecting the special sound mode “Movie,” giving a sound experience close to what you would have at a movie theater. The “Movie” sound mode in the A8 can be adjusted via the DSP Bang & Olufsen menu in the Audi Multi-Media Interface telematics system.

Audi A8 Sedan MMI ScreenThe “Volume Leveling” feature is a highly advanced vehicle noise compensation algorithm that is specifically optimised for the new Audi A8. The main input to the Volume Levelling system is a discrete, integrated microphone in the ceiling that continuously detects background noise, including sound generated by the air conditioning, engine and road noise.

This system ensures that the optimum sound experience is constantly enjoyed for each occupant of the vehicle whatever the conditions.

The ICEpower digital amplifiers incorporate the latest technology to keep distortion to almost imperceptible levels, even when pumping hip-hop tracks, which are notorious exposers of weak-kneed audio systems.

As one might expect, you get full iPod integration with this and all Audi audio systems. Depending on the model, you also get 20 GB hard drive capability where you can “rip” your favorite tracks into storage, all accessible through the MMI rotary controller.

We love the new B&O system in the stunning new Audi A8. At $6,300, it’s not a cheap addition to the options list. Once you consider the stunning aural sound quality, you’ll quickly realize that this is money well spent, not only for your time of ownership, but to also enhance resale value of your prized luxury chariot.

For more on the all-new Audi A8, visit


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