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Volvo XC90 scores top-shelf Bowers & Wilkins audio | video

Volvo XC90 Bowers & Wilkins audio

Carmaker teams with concert-spec audio brand to create system for coming XC90 SUV. 

Volvo promised that the new XC90 arriving in Australia early next year will raise the bar on the model's luxury level. And one of the features to get the high-end treatment is audio, with the Swedish carmaker collaborating with famed British soundmeisters Bowers & Wilkins, who've previously outfitted vehicles for Maserati and Jaguar -- and designed speakers for London's legendary Abbey Road studios.

The audio system developed for the XC90 draws on the Abbey Road designs, and uses an array of high-performance, low-distortion speakers in a combination that increases the amount of sound you hear directly -- rather than sound bouncing off the windscreen and other surfaces in the cabin.

"All of this means that the Bowers & Wilkins audio system in the XC90 sounds incredibly tangible and lifelike," Bowers & Wilkins' head of engineering Stuart Nevill says.

The audio components include a 12-channel Harman amplifier, seven tweeters, seven midrange speakers in two sizes, four cone woofers and an innovative air-ventilated subwoofer that is integrated into the XC90's platform -- this is no bolt-on afterthought. 

The system will be controlled via the XC90's massive tablet touchscreen, and will be able to be adjusted to allow for specific seating positions and a range of modes that accurately replicate the accoustic qualities of several famed concert venues. If you fancy your favourite tracks sounding like they're being played in the Gothenburg Concert Hall -- home Sweden's national pride, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra -- it's all there at your fingertips.

However the Bowers & Wilkins system won't be standard spec. Expect it to sit with the top shelf extras for the new XC90, which is being revealed in stages over the next couple of months prior to its world debut at Paris motor show in October.