Top Tier In-Car Audio: Testing Sound Systems In Four Premium EVs

Auto Written by Updated: May 27, 2024, 9:00 pm
Top Tier In-Car Audio: Testing Sound Systems In Four Premium EVs

Top Tier In-Car Audio: Testing Sound Systems In Four Premium EVs

In-car entertainment has dramatically evolved, particularly with the increasing prevalence of traffic congestion and the rise of electric vehicles (EVs). These quieter EV cabins, characterized by low noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels, provide an ideal environment for testing stock audio systems. A recent evaluation focused on four premium EVs—the Audi Q8 e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV, Jaguar i-Pace, and BMW iX—to determine which offers the best in-car sound quality.

The assessment of sound quality employed a professional SPL meter to measure maximum sound pressure levels without distortion. The evaluation criteria included soundstage, clarity, tonality, bass definition, and structural rigidity. Conducting tests in controlled studio conditions ensured low ambient noise levels, allowing for precise results.

Front speaker placement is crucial for in-car audio, and while all cars featured a front centre speaker, some created a better front-centred vocal illusion than others. The EQE SUV and iX excelled in creating a larger, immersive soundstage. The EQE SUV, with its Dolby Atmos capability via MBUX and Apple Music integration, stood out, while the iX, featuring sounds by Hans Zimmer and a Harman Kardon sample clip, provided an equally impressive audio experience.

Bass quality was a significant focus. The BMW iX and Jaguar i-Pace exhibited some resonance and vibration in their door panels, which could be managed with bass level adjustments. The Audi Q8 e-tron displayed authoritative bass, but the Mercedes EQE SUV”s Front Bass concept, which mounts the subwoofer to the chassis, delivered the best bass experience—well-defined, with the rest of the audio spectrum.

All four cars maintained excellent timing and phase alignment across their numerous speakers, essential for high-resolution audio. The BMW iX and EQE SUV, with higher speaker counts, provided superior sound filling without overpowering. The Jaguar and Audi also performed well, ensuring intelligibility in both music and speech.

In terms of structural integrity, all cars demonstrated exemplary build quality. The BMW iX, Mercedes EQE SUV, and Audi Q8 e-tron scored equally high, with the Jaguar i-Pace close behind, indicating robust construction that minimizes unwanted noise and resonance.

An SPL meter was used to measure each car”s maximum volume. The Mercedes EQE SUV led with 105.4dB, powered by a 710-watt amplifier, slightly edging out the Audi Q8 e-tron”s 105dB with its 705-watt system. The BMW iX followed with 101dB from a 655-watt system, and the Jaguar i-Pace, despite a lower 400-watt power, achieved a respectable 100dB.

All four EVs offered exceptional audio quality, but the Mercedes EQE SUV stood out for its bass performance and loudness, making it the best choice for audiophiles seeking superior in-car sound. With its immersive soundstage, detailed clarity, and robust structural integrity, the EQE SUV’s audio system sets the benchmark in premium EV audio experiences.