The Audi Q4 e-tron is a premium all-electric SUV that starts from £40,750. We found it to be a better alternative to the Mercedes EQA, however, it failed to provide more range than the Skoda Enyaq iV and didn’t manage to keep up with the Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Pro in terms of performance.
When it comes to audio, the Q4 e-tron comes as standard with an eight-speaker configuration that outputs 180 Watts. Should you wish to upgrade, the German automaker offers a 10-speaker Sonos system that outputs 580 Watts; this comes as part of the £1,295 Comfort and Sound pack, which also adds a reversing camera, Parking System Plus (virtual driving path with front and rear sensors), and adaptive cruise control with speed limiter.
On review is Sonos’ first in-car audio system, and no, you can’t use the vehicle as part of your Sonos multi-room setup!
Click here to read the full Audi Q4 e-tron review
Audi Q4 e-tron audio setup
To tinker with the vehicle’s audio settings, one has to navigate to the appropriate menu on the 10.1″ infotainment system. Alongside the touch tones and vehicle settings that can be adjusted, you’ll find a three-band equaliser and a few surround-sound options – here are our optimal settings:
- Treble: +1
- Bass: -1
- Subwoofer: +2
- Focus: All
- Panorama: Off
- Balance & fader: Centre
Much like the B&O system in the Audi e-tron GT and the Burmester one found within the Porsche Taycan, the Sonos audio system does not feature independent mid- and high-frequency adjustments. Instead, any changes to the ‘Treble’ EQ will result in both of the frequency bands being affected. Thankfully, the mid- and sub-bass tones can be adjusted independently, thanks to the ‘Bass’ and ‘Subwoofer’ EQ settings that are availabe.
As for ‘Panorama’, it taints the overall sound reproduction and creates an odd reverb around the cabin. As such, we’d suggest disabling it all together in order to attain the most accurate sound reproduction. Of course, you might prefer to have a less accurate reproduction in favour of a wider soundstage, so it’s up to consumers to adjust the EQ setting where they see fit.
To connect up to the vehicle’s system, you can opt for a wired or wireless connection, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported. Over Bluetooth, the system supports the SBC and AAC codecs – the latter being the better out of the two, as it transmits at a higher quality.
As for media controls, they can be accessed through the display or via a set of physical-turn-touch based buttons located on the steering wheel. There’s also a partially touch-sensitive circular pad found by the centre console. We’re particularly fond of the latter control wheel, as it’s intuitive and well-placed for both the front occupants.
Read next: Mercedes EQA audio review: Do you need to upgrade?
Audi Q4 e-tron audio performance
For a demo of the Audi Q4 e-tron’s audio system head on over to our YouTube channel.
When it comes to its audio configuration, there’s a woofer found within each of the four doors, a tweeter within each of the A-pillars, a centre speaker in the dashboard, tweeters within each of the rear doors and a subwoofer in the boot (underfloor compartment). This equates to ten speakers in total, which combined output a whopping 580 Watts. In the stock ‘Audi Sound System’, the rear tweeters aren’t present but thankfully, the centre speaker and the subwoofer are still present.
Given the addition of a subwoofer, the Sonos system provides some grunt at the low-end, however, surprisingly doesn’t extend past that 30Hz region. Make no mistake, one can hear the driver working in the background, namely with a few additions to the dedicated subwoofer EQ, but in comparison to systems that also feature a subwoofer, such as the ones found in the Volvo XC40, Kia Soul EV, Audi e-tron, or even the Audi e-tron GT, the Sonos subwoofer fails to prologue that sub-bass rumble.
Much of the same can be said about its mid-bass impact, which is a tad disappointing. There’s a lack of control and to a degree, presence across the frequency band. Listening to Omarion’s ‘I’m Up’, for example, we found the system lacked conviction in the lows; even with a few notches added onto the ‘Bass’ EQ. This might, however, be due to our expectations of a near-perfect low-end response; we’ve previously been impressed by Audi’s collaboration with Bang & Olufsen, where the low-end has been almost faultless – the e-tron GT, for example, excels in this department.
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As for the mids, they’re also not on par with other systems out there that produce a more engaging reproduction; for example, the Mercedes EQA’s stock nine-speaker configuration provides a surprisingly forward sound reproduction across the entire mid-range frequency band. It should be noted, however, that other audio systems from Audi haven’t swooped us off our feet either, but one might have expected better from the Q4 e-tron’s Sonos system. The problem, in part, might be down to the lack of a dedicated mid-range EQ. As mentioned above, the ‘Treble’ setting adjusts both the mid and high frequencies; whereby adding too much to the setting will result in a sibilant sound at the top end.
Speaking of which, the highs are done to perfection, both at the front and rear of the cabin thanks to the inclusion of a dedicated tweeter for each of the vehicle’s four main occupants. Indeed, the system extends well at the top end and by not adding much to the EQ setting, you’ll have plenty of energy and zing added to your music.
Moving onto the soundstage, the Sonos system provides an engaging and fulfilling sound reproduction. At the front of the cabin, the five audio drivers provide excellent instrument separation, while the four at the back, fill the cabin full of sound. Arguably the only means of improving the soundstage would have been to add more audio drivers throughout the cabin, namely at the back (such as on, or next to, the parcel shelf).
Finally, onto cabin noise, the Audi has good passive noise isolation, however, when driving you’ll hear a bit of road noise creep into the cabin and might hear some wind noise deflecting off the A-pillars; the tested model had the acoustic glazing option fitted, which aims to reduce environmental noise. At a standstill, we recorded 36 dBA; driving at 20-30mph, 54 dBA; driving at 40mph, 58 dBA; and at 70mph, 71 dBA. As for when the windows are brought down, the level increases by roughly 10-12 dBA.
Read next: Volvo XC40 audio review: A 13-speaker Harman Kardon system
TotallyEV’s verdict on the Audi Q4 e-tron’s audio system
On the whole, Sonos’ first in-car audio system isn’t too shabby. It provides an engaging sound reproduction while excelling in the highs. However, the lack of a mid-range EQ, combined with its somewhat lacklustre low-end reproduction makes the configuration a tad disappointing over what Mercedes and Volvo offer to its consumers.
Then, add in that other vehicles from the Volkswagen Group, such as the Skoda Enyaq iV and VW ID.4, also offer competent audio systems as standard, and it makes you wonder if the Comfort and Sound Pack is worth its asking price for the Sonos system, alone.
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So, would we recommend spending £1,295 for the Sonos system alone? Probably not, but considering the other inclusions the pack comes with, it might be a worthwhile investment if you simply want to bolster the overall driving experience and have a sound system thrown in as an additional extra.
Of course, these are our own subjective opinions on the Sonos audio system, so we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Solid and honest review and I agree on almost everything you write (except for the highs excelling – I find them to be quite dull and imprecise). Which is why I don’t exactly understand the score of 8.2. I’m honestly pretty disappointed in the Sonos system in my new Q4, especially since I have also test-driven the Mercedes eqc with a Burmester system which of course outperforms the Sonos one by miles. I find the missing mid-eq to be the most disappointing thing. Do you reckon a future software update might add a mid band? cheers for the great article
Glad you liked the review and, for the most part, agreed with the assessment.
A software update could always be plausible, but will Audi/Sonos actually implement it – doubtful.
Ironically, the Burmester system within the Taycan Turbo didn’t have a mid-range EQ either nor does the Bentley Bentayga HYbrid with Naim Audio, either; baffling!
Burmester review: https://totallyev.net/porsche-taycan-audio-review-burmester-system/
Awesome write up. May I ask then, for someone who has the standard audio setup in their Q4 e-tron 50 Premium Plus s-line, what third party speaker upgrade would you recommend for me? As an avid audiophile, I really am shocked at the level of distortion, at very moderate volumes. The stock audio system is horrible….to my ears. At home I am all about Roon, tidal, kef ls50’s, Hegel integrated amp etc. What I was not expecting, was that the speaker system in my brand new Q4 would be worse than my 4Runner with circa 2010 technology. I need a real audio setup in my Q4 e-tron. Please help me sir, and community 🙂
Thank you, glad you liked the review!
As for your question, unable to assist, unfortunately – it would be best to go to your local audio specialist to see what they can provide you with a given budget.