The all-new Volvo XC90 system will be the first Bowers & Wilkins car audio product to feature tweeter-on-top technology
Due to be unveiled later this year, the XC90 is Volvo Car’s all-new SUV, featuring what is being hailed as its “most luxurious interior ever.” The XC90 audio system – the latest in a line of successful in-car systems designed by Bowers & Wilkins – includes tried and tested technologies such as Kevlar drive units. But it also introduces something entirely new for a Bowers & Wilkins car system, in the form of tweeter-on-top design.
Tweeter-on-top is a special feature found in some of our most advanced Hi-Fi speakers, such as the PM1 and the flagship of the CM Series, the CM10. With these models, the tweeter is separated from the body of the speaker and placed on top of the cabinet in its own enclosure. Isolating the tweeter in this way protects it from cabinet radiance and reflection, resulting in a more nuanced, lifelike sound, with a better sense of the detail and “space” around the performance.
While the Hi-Fi benefits of this design are well known, up until now we had never produced a car system that featured tweeter-on-top technology. The all-new Volvo XC90 system changes that. And the results are quite something, according to our Head of Engineering Stuart Nevill.
“Tweeter-on-top technology has a number of advantages in the automotive environment,” says Stuart. “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 full system is comprised of a 12-channel Harman 1,400 watts Class D amplifier serving a total of 19 Bowers & Wilkins speakers: four Nautilus tweeters in the front and rear doors, four Kevlar midrange speakers, four bass units, two 2-way surround speakers and one 2-way centre speaker (with tweeter on top). The speakers have been integrated into the cabin architecture and carefully tuned for optimum acoustics and the most immersive sound possible.