Air vs non/air suspension, standard engine vs. Polestar, standard system vs B&W - a direct experience now
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    1. #1
      Member Ivos's Avatar
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      Air vs non/air suspension, standard engine vs. Polestar, standard system vs B&W - a direct experience now

      Some Polish fool scratched my rear bumper a bit, I just gave it for a quick repair now and got XC90 2017 Momentum (non-air suspension) as a replacement car for few days.

      I was really curious to compare it with my XC90 Inscription that I use daily.

      Air vs non-air suspension: the difference seems not that dramatic in the very first moment, but later - yes ... Non-air suspension is harder and more rumbling, air suspension is more flowing ..

      Polestar vs. non-Polestar: here the difference is quite obvious - the initial acceleration (from 0) is similar, but once you reach a certain speed, now I felt that the car is a bit lazy to accelerate more, with the Polestar that I am used to, the engine reacts in more rapid/agile way, is more dynamic

      Standar vs B&W system. I already wrote some detailed review last year. Seems the same. Standard system is OK , but B&W so much better. in the standard system the sound comes more from the sides, while B&W make it sounding in front of you, there is overall more clarity in the whole sound spectrum.

      So I am glad I made these choices.

      What I miss very much is the heated steering wheel. It still very cold here and I cannot make my hand feeling warm as in my car
      Last edited by Ivos; 03-07-2017 at 12:40 PM.
      2019 XC90 D5 Inscription, Maple Brown, Air Suspension, fully packed with all available packs

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    3. #2
      Junior Member badcyclist's Avatar
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      Good to know. I love my B&W system, but have not listened to the standard stereo for more than a couple of early test drives. So I am (or at least was) curious to hear a knowing comparison between the two systems.

      Although I also usually like the music to sound like it is in front of me, I like that the soundstage can be shifted easily in the B&W system to surround sound, which might be preferable depending on your preference, your mood and/or your music. I also like being able to bias the system for the driver if I am the only one in the car, and to be able to play with the balance point in the car with that nifty interior targeting graphic. Not to mention the graphic equalizer, which actually works (!) unlike the equalizers on other cars I have had.

      The real test, of course, is the sound, and the B&W system is fantastic. Not as loud as I expected, given the watts and the number of speakers, but it is still plenty loud and very clean (I usually set the volume between 50-70%). It is the best car stereo system I have ever heard-- by far. I didn't think much of the Bose upgraded system in the Q7 or the upgraded stereo in the F-Pace. I assume that the B&O system in the Q7 is comparable, but it is outrageously expensive.
      2017 T5 Momentum+, Osmium Gray, Amber Leather, B&W, Vision.
      2005 Tacoma S5 4x4, Silver, 130K miles strong.

    4. #3
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      The stock sound system isn't that bad. My only complaint is the LACK OF A CENTER CHANNEL. If it had one, I could live with it. I took a V90CC on a long test drive and spent a lot of time playing with the B&W system. It's worth the money, absolutely, 100%.
      18 XC60 T6 Inscription- everything except lux seating
      12 VW Eos Executive
      Past Volvo’s: 2016 V60 T5 Platinum FWD, 2016 XC90 T6 Inscription

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    6. #4
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      I've had stock sound system on my 16 and now have b&w on my 17. It's literally night and day.

    7. #5
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      Note to self, do not test drive an XC90 with either B&W nor air suspension.

    8. #6
      Junior Member badcyclist's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by norbtx View Post
      Note to self, do not test drive an XC90 with either B&W nor air suspension.
      Ha! I'm with you on the air suspension. And I never drove a T6 precisely because I didn't want to miss having a supercharger.
      2017 T5 Momentum+, Osmium Gray, Amber Leather, B&W, Vision.
      2005 Tacoma S5 4x4, Silver, 130K miles strong.

    9. #7
      Junior Member kyngofpop's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by badcyclist View Post
      Good to know. I love my B&W system, but have not listened to the standard stereo for more than a couple of early test drives. So I am (or at least was) curious to hear a knowing comparison between the two systems.

      Although I also usually like the music to sound like it is in front of me, I like that the soundstage can be shifted easily in the B&W system to surround sound, which might be preferable depending on your preference, your mood and/or your music. I also like being able to bias the system for the driver if I am the only one in the car, and to be able to play with the balance point in the car with that nifty interior targeting graphic. Not to mention the graphic equalizer, which actually works (!) unlike the equalizers on other cars I have had.

      The real test, of course, is the sound, and the B&W system is fantastic. Not as loud as I expected, given the watts and the number of speakers, but it is still plenty loud and very clean (I usually set the volume between 50-70%). It is the best car stereo system I have ever heard-- by far. I didn't think much of the Bose upgraded system in the Q7 or the upgraded stereo in the F-Pace. I assume that the B&O system in the Q7 is comparable, but it is outrageously expensive.
      Is the B&W system true Surround like the DynAudio with the Dolby PL Surround Sound processor?

      Btw it seems that most manufacturers these days draw me to the same conclusion as you about the total wattage and overall loudness of the actual system. The last one I sampled to test this out was a S550 Mercedes with the Logic7 Surround Sound and came away disappointed...ESPECIALLY compared to what I've heard from Volvo. It's lack of sound tailoring, total sound stage, and bass response was third-world compared to any Volvo system since they've BEGAN offering Dolby back in 1998(?)

      Does the B&W offer an adjustment for the Surround Sound effect in its settings as the previous systems?


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    10. #8
      Junior Member badcyclist's Avatar
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      Does the B&W offer an adjustment for the Surround Sound effect in its settings as the previous systems?

      Yes. You can adjust the sound stage from frontal sound to full surround sound or anything in between. There is a graphic for this-- a head with a blue arc around it that you can expand or contract as you wish.

      It has QuantumLogic Surround Sound, but I have no idea what that really means.
      2017 T5 Momentum+, Osmium Gray, Amber Leather, B&W, Vision.
      2005 Tacoma S5 4x4, Silver, 130K miles strong.

    11. #9
      Member reeg2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by badcyclist View Post
      Ha! I'm with you on the air suspension. And I never drove a T6 precisely because I didn't want to miss having a supercharger.
      I'd give up the T6 for the T5 if it meant getting B/W. The T5 v T6 comparison is nothing like stock vs B/W.
      2016 XC90 Inscription Osmium Grey on Charcoal
      B/W CarPlay Convenience Climate Vision 21"

    12. #10
      Junior Member badcyclist's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by reeg2 View Post
      I'd give up the T6 for the T5 if it meant getting B/W. The T5 v T6 comparison is nothing like stock vs B/W.
      That was exactly my situation: I could not afford both the T6 and B&W, and I sorely wanted a great stereo system. Ivos's brief review here just helped to confirm that I made the right choice-- for me.

      It also helped that I did not want or need a third row of seats-- I needed more dog and cargo room, not room for more human passengers.
      2017 T5 Momentum+, Osmium Gray, Amber Leather, B&W, Vision.
      2005 Tacoma S5 4x4, Silver, 130K miles strong.

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