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Audi and Sonos Are Teaming Up on In-Car Audio

Sonos is bringing its technology to the car for the first time.

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Audi

Whether you're a regular visitor to Gear Patrol or simply somebody strolling past our site for the very first time, odds are fairly good that, if you're still reading this, you're familiar with Audi, and you're familiar with Sonos. The former is one of the most notable luxury car brands on Earth, a German brand known for elegant, modern design and all-wheel-drive grip; the latter is an American audio company known for stylish, seamlessly synchronized media players.

And it seems that these two brands are joining forces.

On Tuesday, Audi released a sneak peek at the new Q4 E-Tron — its forthcoming compact electric crossover. Like many an Audi of yore, it's similar to a Volkswagen beneath the skin — in this case, the VW ID.4 that serves as the point of the spear for the company's massive push into electric vehicles — and like past Audis, it differentiates itself from its people's car sibling through

As Protocol revealed that same day, however, some sharp-eyed folks caught notice of something of an Easter egg in the 166 pictures Audi released of the EV SUV. Take a look at this picture of the rear seat:

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Audi

Now, enhance on the speaker grille on the distant rear door, and you'll notice something interesting:

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Audi

Yup — that's a Sonos logo on that teeny speaker.

Any question about the legitimacy of the partnership was washed away that afternoon, when, hot off the launch of the new portable Sonos Roam speaker, CEO Patrick Spence confirmed his company was working with Audi in a call with investors. "We love to be getting started with Audi," Spence said, according to Protocol. "They are very innovative on this front and willing to experiment."

What form that experimentation may take, of course, remains to be seen. Sonos is known for making it stupendously easy to sync up high-end speakers across a large space, such as a home; how that might translate to a smaller space with fixed speakers like a car remains to be seen.

The in-car stereo arms race has crept to new heights in recent years, as more and more high-end audio companies team up with automakers. Cadillac's latest Escalade offers an AKG system that packs 36 speakers; the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer boasts not one but two McIntosh setups; Porsche offers a choice of both Bose and Burmeiser packages as options; Acura's latest models like the TLX pack ELS stereos that humble many cars costing far more. With the car becoming the new default place for audio companies to strut their stuff, it seems only natural that Sonos would dive into the field.

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