On March 9, Audi released a series of interior photos of its 2022 Q4 E-Tron, and observers were quick to take note of the fact that if you looked very closely at the car’s speaker grilles, you can see an unexpected company logo: Sonos.
Sonos wasn’t mentioned in Audi’s lengthy description of the E-Tron‘s many features, but later that day during a call with investors, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence confirmed what was now apparent to all — the company that has made an enormous name for itself in the world of home audio, is expanding its reach into the automotive sector.
“We want to be in all the different categories of audio, and a big chunk of that is in auto,” Spence said during the Q&A of a scheduled investor event, according to The Verge. “Our first partnership of bringing our sound experience to automobiles is with Audi.” He also said that more details of the Audi partnership will be shared “shortly,” with the Verge pointing out that this may not be until the Q4 E-Tron launch event in April.
Digital Trends reached out to Sonos for comment, but a spokesperson simply said via email that, “we’ve been working with Audi on a new premium audio partnership. The partnership will see Sonos-tuned audio featured in the Q4 E-Tron. We’ll have more detail to share in the near future,” and pointed us to Spence’s investor comments.
Sonos certainly isn’t the first audio brand to make its way from the home to the car — most luxury vehicle makers leverage the marketing and audio power of well-known brands like Bose, Harmon/Kardon, JBL, and Bang & Olufsen, just to name a few. But what makes the Sonos/Audi partnership so interesting is that unlike these other audio companies, Sonos now has its own free music streaming service, Sonos Radio, along with the paid premium ad-free tier, Sonos Radio HD.
This will give Sonos users the ability to have their Sonos Radio listening sessions follow them seamlessly from home to car and back again. Spotify and SiriusXM already make this kind of experience possible through a combination of dedicated hardware and partnerships with apps like Waze, but Sonos has a reputation for simplicity that will likely mean its version of this audio-to-go feature will be one of the easiest for people to use.
Adding fuel to this fire is Sonos’ recently announced Sonos Roam, a $169 lightweight and very portable speaker that has “Sound Swap,” a feature that automatically transfers a listening session from the Roam to another Sonos speaker at the press of a button. It would make a lot of sense if the Roam could perform the same Sound Swap when someone hops into the driver’s seat of the Audi E-Tron.
Another aspect of Sonos’ automotive play could be its Trueplay automatic EQ system. Many of the audio brands mentioned earlier talk up the fact that their vehicle speaker systems have been meticulously tuned for the vehicle in question. With Trueplay, Sonos could make the claim that their speakers are constantly adapting to changing interior conditions, like road noise or the number of passengers, both of which can alter a car’s acoustics.