Top 10 Cars for Stereo Systems
By Jakob Hansen, 6/5/2019
You’re in your driveway. Your favorite song queues up on Spotify. You turn up the volume. Just a bit? No. All the way. Why? Because it is your favorite song and YOU HAVE A BOSS OF A SOUNDSYSTEM. You’re an audiophile. We get it. And you demand nothing but the best when it comes to the quality of sound in your vehicle. We hear you. Loud and clear. And we’ve compiled this list of the Top 10 Cars for Stereo Systems to help you determine the best in sound quality and technology when you’re selecting your next car.
It's hard to beat rocking to a favorite song with the volume blasted all the way up inside your car. Maybe it’s the sense of isolation that a car can provide, the feeling of being truly alone with just you and the music, or maybe it’s just that cars have really good acoustics! (They don’t.) Whatever the case, there is truly something special about a car and music. We surround ourselves in the melodic tones of the music and lose ourselves from the monotony of the daily drive.
The sound system of a car is a feature that is often mistakenly overlooked when looking for a new vehicle. It isn’t a feature that immediately jumps out at you like a bigger engine or upgraded leather interior. However, when your favorite jam comes on, or the podcast that you are listening to gets really interesting, you won’t regret that upgraded sound.
#10. Alfa Romeo Harman Kardon
Feature Price Range: $900
First on our list is a car that is near and dear to my heart. The Alfa Romeo Giulia calls back to the old Afa GTV’s and in my opinion, if you're listening to music in an Alfa, that means you’re not driving it right. That being said, some Euro beats can really get the blood flowing for some spirited driving. Therefore, the Alfa Romeo Harman Kardon premium sound system is an easy requirement. At only $900 extra, it is one of the lowest priced upgrades on this list. The 12-channel amplifier and 14 speakers deliver 900 watts in a full 360º spectrum. When it comes down to it, you have to have the best sounds from both the engine and the speakers when cruising through the mountains of Italy. The Alfa Romeo Harman Kardon Premium Audio System Package is a must-have.
#9. BMW Harman Kardon
Feature Price Range: $875
BWM is now offering two separate sounds systems, the more affordable being the Harman Kardon. Previously the top system for BMW, the Harman Kardon for BMW is no slouch. The Discrete Logic 7 system comes with more than 16 speakers and can engulph the driver and passengers in true surround sound. Starting at only $875, the Harman Kardon BMW system delivers quality sound at an affordable price, securing it a solid place on our list. For a very small cost, a massive improvement in sound can be achieved in any BMW, making this one of the best value sound systems available.
#8. Lexus Mark Levinson
Feature Price Range: $1,510
Lexus is similar to Genesis in that their system is not offered as a standalone package. However, the Lexus Mark Levinson Premium Surround Audio System provides some of the best audio quality on the market. The 15 Mark Levinson Lexus speakers and 855-watt system are more than enough to please an audiophile’s sensitive ears and truly surprise even the pickiest listeners. Wrapped in with the navigation system, Bluetooth, remote touch, and more, the package is actually quite an attractive deal for such a system. It is also a very easy vehicle to use with your iPhone. The audio enough is worth the cost. Count the rest as extras.
#7. Genesis Lexicon
Feature Price Range: $9,950
Genesis Lexicon is unfortunately not an individual package, but rather one that comes as a part of the entire trim level, therefore, the cost is rather difficult to determine on an individual basis. However, the Genesis sound system is truly one of the best in the business and will please any audiophile. The sound is warm and inviting and surrounds the entire cabin, somehow finding its way into every corner and generating the sense of fullness that other systems struggle to produce. The Lexicon Audi For Genesis is a top of the line sound system in a vehicle that is already the king of value.
#6. Mercedes-Benz Burmester
Feature Price Range: $850
Burmester and Mercedes have had a relationship sprouting all the way back to 2009. First seen on the S-Class, the Burmester Sound System has been the highest level of sound engineering in Mercedes vehicles. The quality of the systems is nearly unmatched and the extensive relationship that the two companies have together means they can create intricate sound systems that complement each vehicle down to the actual frame of the car. With systems starting at only $850, the Burmester for Mercedes is one of the best values on the market. Their up-scale materials and speaker covers add to the overall experience of the Mercedes-Benz Burmester experience.
#5. Naim for Bentley
Feature Price Range: $2,000
Naim for Bentley. It's hard to write a top list for audio and not include this truly amazing sound system included. While the overall cost of the vehicle is in an entirely different league than the rest of our list, the sound system on its own is something that deserves recognition. Surrounding the listener in a sound quality that is unmatched by even the most ambitious audiophile sound systems, Naim for Bentley is truly an engineering marvel. 1,950-watts, a 21-channel amplifier, and 18 speakers surround the listener in an experience that is unmatched in any other vehicle.
#4. Audi Bang & Olufsen
Feature Price Range: $3,800
Audi Bang & Olufsen Premium 3D Sound System is one of the best in the market. Audi and Bang and Olufsen have been working hand in hand for an extended amount of time, starting the relationship with the 2003 Audi A8 and have spread to every vehicle in the line-up. The up to 23-speaker system features state of the art technology with tweeters that rise up out of the dash to further spread the sound throughout the entirety of the cabin. With 1920 watts of amplification power, the Audi A4 Bang and Olufsen system are one of the best values. Available as part of a full tech package, the system equips the car with the highest technology available in the segment.
#3. Volvo and Harman Kardon
Feature Price Range: $2,500
Much like many of the other systems in the list, the Volvo Harman Kardon system is available as a larger package that also includes the Navigation and larger 12” driver display. The Volvo sound system is again, massive value for what you get. Upgrading the system provides you with some of the coolest tech (the digital gauge cluster is amazing) and an ultra high-quality sound system at a value price. Not many systems can match the clarity that the Volvo Harman Kardon system offers at the price point.
#2. Tesla Ultra High Fidelity Sound System
Feature Price Range: $1,000
Tesla’s Ultra High Fidelity Sound System, created by S1nn, an audio/technology engineering company based out of Stuttgart, is one of the surprises on the list. Telsa is known for many of their innovations. The Telsa Ultra High Fidelity Sound System is a top of the line system. The sound is nearly unmatched and when combined with the innovative UI experience of the infotainment system developed by the same company, S1nn, the Tesla Ultra High Fidelity Sound System is nearly unbeatable. With the combination of other Tesla innovations, the sound system makes Tesla’s the perfect road trip vehicles, as long as you plan for the charging stations. Audiophiles have grown to love the Telsa 3’s audio quality and the cops have apparently had enough of how good the system is. Apparently, the artist, Skrillex, was arrested for disturbing the peace while listening to his own songs in his Tesla 3. If the system is good enough to alert the police, it's probably good enough for me.
#1. Volvo and Bowers & Wilkins
Feature Price Range: $3,500
Bowers & Wilkins are one of the companies that have been known for their high-quality sound far before they were introduced into vehicles. Back in 1966, John Bowers began designing sound equipment, and the legend has never turned back from there. Volvo Bowers and Wilkins audio is one of the best on the market. The system comes equipped with the Excellence package in vehicles like the XC90, which included a full suite of luxury features, including a fully equipped back seat center console with audio, seat, and infotainment controls. The entire package will set you back a pretty penny, however, if you want to roll around in the best luxury an SUV has to offer outside of the ultra-luxury vehicles, the Excellence Package with Volvo Bower & Wilkens audio system is a must-have.
Your audio should be important to you. Your ears do so much for you, treat them right with some high-quality sound waves the way they were supposed to be heard. The best sound systems for cars have come a long way from the two-speaker systems we once had, factory car audio is now a crucial part of your buying experience. Your aural pleasure is important, especially when it’s 5:17 and the left two lanes just got closed because, well, I have no idea why either. Regardless, the next time you ask yourself, “Are my ears important enough to me?” Always remember that, yes, yes they are.