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Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Bang & Olufsen hits German trifecta

Bang & Olufsen shows off audio systems in Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz models at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

Bang & Olufsen
The Bang & Olufsen brand can be seen in models from all of the major German luxury carmakers. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

A decade ago, Bang & Olufsen started up its automotive division. Now it has hit the trifecta, partnering with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, the three major German automakers.

At the 2010 Paris Motor Show, we saw examples of Bang & Olufsen stereo installations in the Audi A8, the BMW Concept 6-series Coupe, and the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid.

Bang & Olufsen is a high-end Danish manufacturer of audio components, and has shown a flair for the dramatic in its automotive installations. Speakers rise up out of dashboards while grilles are made of brushed aluminum and include ambient lighting around the edges.

The company's audio ethos concentrates on accurate audio reproduction and precise staging. From our previous listening experiences, the audio comes through in extreme detail, good for high quality music sources. But imperfections in low bit rate compressed recordings become painfully obvious.

Bang & Olufsen audio systems can also be heard in Aston Martin models.