• Bowers & Wilkins audio system uses bespoke acoustic technology
  • System derived from speakers used in London's legendary Abbey Road Studios
  • Ground-breaking automotive application of integrated, air-ventilated, subwoofer

The All-New Volvo XC90, revealed later this year, will offer drivers one of the top audio systems available in the automotive world after engineers at Volvo joined forces with their counterparts at the renowned British audio equipment company Bowers & Wilkins.

The Bowers & Wilkins system for the All-New XC90 uses bespoke acoustic technology developed over its five decades of pioneering research into loudspeaker design. The All-New XC90 system is derived directly from acoustic technology developed for reference speakers used in some of the world's most demanding acoustic environments, including London's legendary Abbey Road Studios.

The result of the collaboration uses a combination of high-performance, low-distortion speaker designs, including extended range aluminium tweeters and Kevlar® midrange units, reflecting components found in Bowers & Wilkins award-winning premium loudspeakers. It also features a centre 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," said Stuart Nevill, Head of Engineering, Bowers & Wilkins.

"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."

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 (25mm) with the latest treble technology, 7 midrange speakers (5x100mm and 2x80mm) with the characteristic yellow Bowers & Wilkins Kevlar cone clearly visible behind the cover, 4 cone woofers (200/165mm) and the new, ground-breaking air-ventilated subwoofer (250mm).

The engineers at both Volvo Cars' audio department and Bowers & Wilkins share a commitment to the highest standards of audio quality, and were driven to make the sound system in the All-New XC90 stand shoulder to shoulder with the best currently available in the automotive market. This is also clear from a design integration perspective, with a uniquely sculpted tweeter placed prominently on the dashboard.

"In my book the Premium Sound in the All-New XC90 is one of the top three audio systems in the automotive world," says Michael Adenauer, former music producer and audio expert at Volvo Cars.

Volvo Cars decided that Bowers & Wilkins was its ideal partner. The UK firm was established in 1966 by two friends who shared an obsession to build the perfect loud speaker. This heritage has created a globally-respected, high-end audio company, renowned for its technological innovations, many of which have been incorporated into the All-New XC90.

Air-ventilated subwoofer
The audio innovations in the All-New 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 subwoofer design is integrated into our new Scalable Product Architecture and is possibly a world first in the automotive industry," said Mr Adenauer.

"This increases the subwoofer's capacity to pulse more air, which enables extremely low bass tones all the way down to 20Hz. In principle, it turns the whole interior space in the car into a giant subwoofer."

New software enhances listening experience
The All-New XC90's new audio system also uses the latest and most advanced sound processing software from the specialist Swedish audio company Dirac Research. This software manages the timing of the sound and co-operation between the speakers to optimise the sound for a specific or all-seating position, and can also create individual acoustics from certain music venues or concert halls.

In the All-New XC90, the software has been used to re-create the exact acoustic qualities of Gothenburg Concert Hall, located in Volvo's home town and home to the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Sweden.

A simple tap on the centre touch screen that controls all the car's features and the system will immediately alter its settings to mirror this concert hall, a recording studio or a stage environment.

The top-of-the-line Premium Sound is one of three system levels available for the All-New 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. At base level, there is the Performance system, which features a 52W amplifier and 6 speakers.

"Great music and sound are among the most important factors for a truly enjoyable drive," said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Group.

"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."


Volvo Car Group in 2013
For the 2013 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 1,919 MSEK (66 MSEK in 2012). Revenue over the period amounted to 122,245 MSEK (124,547 MSEK), while net income amounted to 960 MSEK (-542 MSEK). Global retail sales for the year amounted to 427,840 (421,951) cars, an increase of 1.4 percent compared to 2012. The operating profit was the result of cost control and strong sales and was further tangible proof of Volvo Car Group's progress in implementing its transformation plan. For the full year 2014, the company expects to stay in black figures and predicts to record a global sales increase of a good 5 percent.

About Volvo Car Group
Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 427,000 in 2013 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.

As of December 2013, Volvo Cars had over 23,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company's main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and Chengdu (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China).


Oliver Peagam
Marketing and Communications Director, Volvo Car Australia
T: +61 2 9020 1613
M: +61 408 691 017
E: oliver.peagam@volvocars.com