Among millions of cars being sold each year, only a few models have installed a decent high-quality audio system. I researched the best factory car audio systems and want to share the results with you.
There are not many things that can make driving a car more enjoyable than listening to favorite music, and this is why the car audio system is at the top of the car equipment list when buying a new car. Although you can find endless options for aftermarket radios, speakers, and amplifiers, installing the advanced system requires more effort, and in many cases, modification of the car.
Therefore, many people decide to spend the extra money and have a brand new car with a hi-end car audio system that can produce a better sound quality than many aftermarket alternatives. Below are the best factory car sound systems you can find.
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Tip: If you do not have a serial top-notch sound system in your car, do not worry. There are available hi-end aftermarket speakers that can replace factory ones.
My favorite is Focal from either K2 or ES series that offers unbeatable performance and sound clarity. If you want to try in your car something truly outstanding, check their latest price on Amazon.
Mark Levinson – Lexus
Mark Levinson is associated with only one car manufacturer – Lexus. Cooperation between these two brands has been going on since 2000. Representatives of the American manufacturer of audio equipment argue that before no brand would produce cars with interiors, so refined that audio with the Mark Levinson logo could show their power in them.
The first car to which the American manufacturer’s system went was the Lexus LS of the third generation. Today, customized audio Mark Levinson goes to all models of the Japanese brand.
The most advanced systems can be found in LS and ES models. The fifth-generation Lexus LS is equipped with a 16-channel amplifier and 23 speakers located in 16 places. It has also installed the ANC active noise suppression system, which reduces noises coming from opposite sound waves. The power of the complete system is an impressive 2,400 W.
The latest Lexus ES has 17-speaker 7.1 audio with a total power of 1,800 W. It is also equipped with systems that increase the sound quality Quantum Logic Surround and ClariFi 2.0.
Bang & Olufsen – Audi
Although the history of the Bang & Olufsen brand begins as early as 1925, the Danish manufacturer has slightly less experience in the production of car audio equipment than the one associated with Lexus, the much younger brand Mark Levinson. The first car with Bang & Olufsen audio system was created in 2005 and installed first in the biggest Audi, A8.
Today, Bang & Olufsen still provides a sound system for the German brand. In the latest installment of the A8 sedan, we will find a 23-speaker audio system with a 23-channel amplifier and 3D sound reproduction technology.
Bang & Olufsen systems also found a place in other cars like Ford F-150, Aston Martin DB11, Mercedes SLS AMG, BMW M6, or Bentley Continental GT. A characteristic feature of the Danish brand’s sound system are tweeters that slide out of the dashboard when the audio system is turned on.
Bowers & Wilkins – Volvo, BMW, Maserati, McLaren, Jaguar
Audio created by the British producer Bowers & Wilkins provides a tremendous acoustic experience. Existing since 1966, the brand introduced its first car audio system in 2008. The 14-speaker system with an amplifier with a power of 440 W went to the Jaguar XF.
Today, Bowers & Wilkins creates audio systems for several popular car manufacturers. The only one is Volvo. The S90 model has a 14-speaker system with a power of 1,400 W. Audio consists of, among others, from Kevlar diaphragm transducers and a tweeter equipped with Nautilus technology, i.e., channels that absorb reflected sound and improve the quality of listening.
Bowers & Wilkins car audio systems have found their place not only in other Volvo models, like XC60, V60, XC90, V90, and V90 Cross Country, but also in the BMW 5, 6 GT and 7 series, Maserati Levante, Ghilbi and Quattroporte. Even McLaren Senna, which is one of the fastest and most advanced cars we can find on the road, has installed audio from Bowers&Wilkins (link opens in the new tab).
Bowers & Wilkins make an appearance yet again and this time in the Jaguar. Its golden speakers can be seen through mesh screens and give quite an opulent appearance. The Jaguar has a 20-speaker system that accurately brings perfect accuracy of the highs and the lows.
If you have enough to make the Jaguar a reality, a dream bonus is the perfect in-cabin entertainment that comes with it. Go for this dream car that gives you the sophisticated surround sound of Bowers & Wilkins.
Burmester – Porsche, Mercedes
German origin Burmester was founded in 1977 and has been producing solutions for use in cars since 2005. And it must be admitted that its presence in the automotive industry began with a high C. Burmester is the author of the audio system of one of the most extreme hypercars in history – Bugatti Veyron.
But the list of sports cars on account of the German manufacturer does not end there. Burmester has created an 11-speaker system for the two-seat hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder and other brand models, including Panamera, Cayenne, or 911 GTS with 12 channel 300W amplifier and 12 speakers with an active subwoofer. To this must be added some Mercedes models, including the AMG GT and Maybach Pullman (link opens in new window).
The music experience in Mercedes S is impressive thanks to the Burmester High-End 3D-Surround–Soundsystem with its 27 speakers and a total output of 1.590 watts.
The unique three-dimensional sounds are provided by the speakers integrated into the vehicle roof. In the case when two speakers in the overhead console would not be enough, Burmester has installed one more speaker in the overhead control panel.
Sony – Ford
The premium Sony sound system in the Ford Explorer Platinum will make you want to keep driving.
With 500 watts and 12 speakers, it might be a little less exciting in comparison to others, but the smart speaker placement and phase tuning do buff up the experience. The overall sound is crystal clear for you to be able to enjoy your favorite music just the way it is supposed to be.
In addition to the vehicle’s 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6, Sony makes the Explorer feel like a rock and roll studio. Ford offers Sony premium audio in many of its top models, which makes the cars worth a buy for anyone who loves music on the go.
Revel – Lincoln
Revel perfected the art of accurate sound reproduction not only in home audio systems but also in cars. The effect they achieved in Lincoln can be called the new standard for car audio systems, but for this highest quality sound, you have to pay extra.
Revel builds individual systems for specific dimensions of each car model and uses software that allows perfectly spread sound waves in the cabin space. The low tones are felt without distortion, the mid and high tones are clear, and do not lose the quality even at high volume.
The system that Revel designed for Lincoln is as exclusive as the car itself, and both fit together perfectly.
Focal – Peugeot
In 2014, Peugeot and Focal started a partnership, and since 2016 both parties directed their focus towards production vehicles rather than prototypes. The Premium Hi-Fi System by Focal promises to give you a stable and precise output regardless of the music you listen to.
It comes with a high-performance woofer that uses polyglass technology that guarantees sound stability and precision. The powerful 12-way 515-Watt amplifier delivers rich and smooth sound and powerful bass that will enhance your overall experience.
Additionally, the TNF aluminum inverted dome tweeters give you an optimal sound dispersion along with a detailed treble. If you’re a music lover and are looking for a car that comes ready with a good sound system, this could be your choice.
Bose – Cadillac, Infiniti
The Bose brand is synonymous with cutting-edge, premium audio systems, so you’ll find many cars boasting Bose equipment. The 12-speaker Bose High-End Surround Sound System can be found on cars ranging from the Mazda3 to the Porsche 718 Cayman.
American luxury brands equip their vehicles with these advanced products, like the 14-speaker Bose Performance Series system on the Corvette or Cadillac XT5.
Bose’s extraordinary audio performance adds to the typical American luxury essence of the Cadillac. The systems make use of proprietary Centerpoint technology that is responsible for multiple-channel conversion of music. This gives you an immersive experience, and the road noise is removed with the noise cancellation that comes with the system.
Which Cadillac model to purchase will determine the number of speakers you will get. If you are going for the super robust Escalade, you can expect 13 speakers. However, much XT4 will give you 14 for an even more precise sound. It is time for you to sit and decide the Cadillac that best suits your needs.
Infiniti has worked in close collaboration with Bose for 30 years now, proving that the association is successful. The Infiniti QX80 comes with a 13 or 15 speakers Bose system. The exciting aspect of the Bose Audio System is its Centerpoint Surround Technology. It diverts all music into multiple channels for a completely immersive sound experience.
This is a good drive and an even better audio companion, an excellent choice if you’re looking for a fancy car with a reliable audio system.
Krell – Acura, Hyundai, Kia
Since 2013 Krell is available on Acura, which means you do not have to pay a lot of money to experience its outstanding performance as you would do for a Krell home sound system. Although Acura’s ELS and Krell systems have the same layout of the speakers, Krell uses it with its software.
According to Acura, their amplifiers give “one-third less distortion than the leading competitors’ flagship luxury car amplifiers.”
Thanks to Krell, you will hear lots of detail you may have missed before, and have the impression you are sitting in a concert hall. This effect was able to achieve thanks to three pairs of speaker systems being powered by six separated amplifiers, with 8″ subwoofer also powered by dedicated 100W amp.
Later, Krell established close partnerships with Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors.
In Hyundai Tucson, you can enjoy the music produced by a 448W 8-channel amplifier and speakers located in 8 places. Kia installs in K900 more powerful 636W 12-channel amplifier that supplies 14 speakers system, including 8″ subwoofer.
Lexicon – Genesis
Lexicon, whose studio equipment has won the Grammy award, also offers car sound systems for the Genesis cars.
An additional prestige is given to Lexicon systems because they are also placed in Rolls-Royce models, where there is no room for anything else than perfection (link opens in new tab)
“As relentless innovators, our Lexicon is ever expanding. It grows as technology progresses and we discover new ways to innovate and create. And with these advancements, we’ll continue to create brand new words to describe and embody our extraordinary offerings.”
Lexicon reveals its sound passion in 17 high-quality speakers and 900W amplifier. The whole system provides dynamic 3D sound, thanks to which you can feel like sitting in the middle of the concert hall.
The crystal-clear sound from Lexicon is undoubtedly worth the experience, and it is offered to more listeners as it also begins to be provided to Hyundai.
Meridian – Range Rover
Range Rover’s website describes its Meridian Audio Systems as a concert-like experience. The key to that is two things. First, Meridian’s sound-processing technology that blends the stereo signal into the center and surrounds channels. Second is the small speakers dotted around the vehicle, including in the headlining that acts as height channels to make sure passengers don’t miss a thing.
All three Meridian systems offered in the Land Rovers include dual-channel subwoofer:
- Sound System with 380W amp and 13 speakers
- Surround Sound System that has 825W amplifier and up to 19 speakers depending on the model
- Signature Sound System, with up to 29 speakers and 1700W amplifier
The result is a refined and balanced system with a full sound through the vehicle, that you can also experience in Jaguar and McLaren.
Naim – Bentley
If you want to create the perfect audio system for luxury and sports cars, you need a man fascinated by both. This way was founded British company Naim, created by a man who loved modifying and racing cars as much as he loved audio.
This may explain why the Naim system for Bentley provides tremendous power through 20 speakers. After all, no matter how perfectly a luxury car is, there will always be noise at maximum speed.
Creating the Naim Audio extension for Bentley was a big challenge for the engineering teams of both companies and, at the same time, an opportunity to build a truly immersive sound in a much larger cabin than other models.
Bentley’s heart is a 21-channel 1920W amplifier, thanks to which Bentayga has the most powerful serial audio system you can find in SUV. Twenty speakers include nine combined midranges with tweeters, four advanced bass speakers, and a 300-watt subwoofer. A pair of super tweeters extend high frequencies, providing the system with the broadest frequency range ever seen in a car.
It also uses active bass drivers, subtly enhancing the sound experience, so low frequencies are felt and heard.
What distinguishes the Naim system is the digital sound processing system, which ensures that the center sounds reach every passenger. Because Bentley owners often have drivers, there is a mode that provides rear passengers with full benefits.
Harman Kardon – Volvo, Subaru, Alfa Romeo
A 600-watt premium sound audio that comes with 13 speakers, vehicle noise compensation, 7.1 channel surround sound, and automatic level adjustment covers more than everything that you need from a car’s stereo. Harman Kardon has delivered outstanding audio systems for a long time to these cars, so their credibility is sustained.
Also, most Subaru models come with amazing audio systems from Harman Kardon. In Subaru, you will find up to 12 high-performance speakers balanced with multi-channel digital processing to offer excellent dynamics.
The amplifiers range from 432-792 watts with an efficiency that is worth the money. So, if you are an audio system freak, Harman Kardon in Subaru will give you what you want.
Alfa Romeo fans now have even more reason to love their cars. Harman Kardon, already known for its crisp sound output and brilliance in making audio systems for various vehicles, takes Alfa Romeo a notch higher. The detailed acoustics in the Alfa Romeo Giulia comes from the enhanced sound control.
The high-performance 12-Channel Class-D amplifier with 14 speakers produces impeccable audio quality and gives the car a 3D surround sound. Harman Kardon is known for its authentic audio quality, and you can expect the same from the system in Alfa Romeo.
Rockford Fosgate – Mitsubishi
When Rockford-Fosgate offers 710 watts with a 9 speaker system in a few Mitsubishi models, you know it is going to be an exciting ride. There’s no worry about excessive noise and sounds when Rockford-Fosgate drowns you in an immersive audio experience. Crystal clear highs, clean mid-range, and the 10″ dual voice coil Subwoofer provide crisp, powerful bass as the foundation.
The combination of Mitsubishi and Rockford-Fosgate is all you need to escape the daily grind and rejuvenate your senses on the go. Get ready for an ultra-smooth drive and unrepeatable audio experience with this duo.