Late last month, Elon Musk announced that YouTube and Netflix was coming soon to Tesla vehicles. In the tweet, he explained that owners are in for an amazingly immersive, cinematic feel, due to the comfy seats & surround sound audio.
During Car Advice’s first Aussie review of the Model 3 Performance, Paul Maric also commented about how amazing the vehicle’s audio was, even going as far as saying it’s the best of any car he’s been in (he’s been in a lot).
When considering the purchase of a Model 3, I, like I imagine many, didn’t attribute much of the price tag to the sound system. Audio in a car is one of those things that is expected, its fantastic if it happens to sound great, but it’s often not a deal breaker if its average.
The Standard Range Plus model includes Partial Premium Interior which is listed as ‘Upgraded audio – immersive sound’. Given it’s the entry level Model 3, I’m not quite sure what it’s upgraded from, but ok.
When you step up to the Long Range or Performance Models, you get the Premium Interior which includes, Premium audio, made up of 14 speakers, 1 subwoofer, 2 amps, and immersive sound.
At the recent Australian media launch, I made a point of testing the audio system in the Tesla Model 3 and the results were very interesting.
I first paired my phone via Bluetooth to the car, a process that was quick and easy (as was removing it after the test). Once connected, I fired up Spotify to play some of my favourite music, some Deadmau5 tracks (Ghosts n Stuff, The Veldt, Stroke and I Remember) that I’ve listened to on dozens of headphones, Sonos speakers in the living room and of course a number of other review vehicles.
The music sounded great, not breathtaking, but pretty bloody good. It offered a solid spectrum of sounds from the highs, the mid and of course the low-end, with the soundscape detailed and accurate. Often the sign of a good audio system is hearing each individual instrument, without them all blurring together, this was absolutely the case in the Model 3. With the volume turned up, the bass was substantial, not break the windows strong, but certainly enough to rattle your internal organs.
The real test was to simulate what it’ll be like to have Netflix or YouTube apps in the car. For that, I fired up YouTube and searched for movie trailers. One of the first that popped up was Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, that seemed like a logical choice.
After only a couple of seconds, it became immediately apparent, the audio on the Model 3 is phenomenal. I cant express this better than remembering I said out loud to myself, Wholy Sh*t! that sounds good. I agree with Paul, this is easily the best audio I have heard from a vehicle.
Tesla have built a reputation for being a computer on wheels, but with adding the YouTube and Netflix app will transform the cars into cinemas on wheels.
Given the Model 3 has been in development for years, the decision to offer amazing audio makes you wonder just how long Tesla have been planning to offer video streaming in the car. The Model 3 is positioned as a luxury mid-sized sedan and buying at that price means expectations are high. Maybe Tesla decided to include the audio to match the competition, or maybe they had the cinema on wheels planned all along.
Whatever the reason, the decision to include premium audio when the project objective was to build a car at half the price of the Model S, was an interesting one, one I’m glad they made.
Musk followed up his tweet by explaining that the end game is to enable both apps to stream video content to passengers when the car is driving. This can only happen once they achieve full self driving and regulators agree humans are no longer needed to control the vehicle.
When humans are freed of the task of operating the vehicle, it raises the question of how we’re going to spend that time. Being able to watch YouTube and Netflix content on your daily commute is certainly one way to spend those hours.
Where this ends I’m not quite sure, personally I’d want to have TED Talks, Lynda.com and other educational content available in the car and video podcasts also become a serious option to not just be entertained, but actually spend the time learning.
The big takeaway for me is that a decent part of the budget for a Tesla Model 3 could be attributed to the audio experience available in the car.
While I didn’t bother trying to record the audio from the car, I would suggest you give it a try if you’re considering buying a Tesla, it may just get you over the line.