The Audi e-tron
Reveal the Full Story"

A Sound as Distinctive as It Looks

The sound of an Audi should be as distinctive as the way it looks. With the emergence of alternative drive systems like electricity, the sound of cars is changing. In fact, transport authorities around the world are considering making it mandatory to for largely silent electric cars to be audible. So when that time comes, how should the Audi e-tron sound?

Under the direction of acoustics expert Rudolf Halbmeir, Audi has developed e-sound technology. From the signature roar of an accelerating engine to the assured rumble while idling, Halbmeir’s team have created an audio profile for the e-tron that is distinctly Audi.

Safety Symphony

As more silent electric cars hit the roads, pedestrians need to be made aware of their presence. AVAS, or Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, comprises of a control element and a front-facing speaker. Designed, built and perfected by Audi experts, this system reduces the risk of all-electric or hybrid vehicles not being noticed by other road users, such as pedestrians.

Hitting the Right Note

Understandably, creating a unique audio profile is an intricate job. It’s a task that starts on the experts’ computers. Here, they mix and layer sounds from an Audi sound library, drawing on their expertise to produce a harmonious composition. Once their trained ears are happy with the result, it is tested on an actual vehicle. The sound, transferred via the control unit, is heard on an outside asphalt surface before it’s taken into the sound lab for further development. It’s this blend of human sensitivity and technological precision that helps create the unmistakable Audi sound.

"AVAS is primarily about warning pedestrians. Every child knows what a car sounds like, so the current legislative proposal intends for the sound to be oriented to what people are accustomed to. The challenge is to also make a premium experience possible for the customer. The sound should have a high-quality feel to it, and to achieve that, the quality of the components has to be right, of course"

- Ralf Halbmeir, Audi Acoustics

Soundcheck

Acceleration, speed and torque all have an effect on audio characteristics. These can be tested in the sound lab, with exterior and interior noise during a simulated journey. A bank of microphones records the results, allowing Audi experts to check whether it follows legal guidelines, and whether it’s producing a distinctive Audi sound.

Additionally, the components that make up the network between the control unit and the speaker are put through their paces. They need to be able to pass extreme temperatures (–40° to +120° Celsius), dust, water and strength tests. Simply, it has to sound as clear in the lab as it would in a real-world environment.

Near-perfect Acoustics

Thanks to its electric motors and impeccable aerodynamics that reduce outside wind noise, the drive inside the Audi e-tron is exceptionally quiet. It’s the perfect backdrop for the cabin-filling 3D sound of the optional Bang & Olufsen Sound System. Specially developed for the e-tron, it sets new standards - so, in the e-tron, the listening experience is just as unforgettable as the driving experience.

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