Any audiophile will tell you that a bangin’ car stereo system is an essential feature for a car. Speakers with poor sound quality often have to be cranked up too loud, which could be dangerous. Depending on who manufactures the stereo system, the audio itself might sound tinny or distorted with increased volume. The standard speaker setup included in base trims might do in a pinch, but trained ears might desire a premium audio system.
Here are some of our favorite cars with high-grade audio systems, courtesy of the musical experts at Rolling Stone.
The Bose premium audio system
Beginning in the 2020 model year, the cutting-edge Chevy Corvette can be equipped with a Bose audio system. Because the Corvette now has a mid-engine layout, sound engineers had to completely modify the vehicle’s soundscape. The result is reportedly one of the best listening experiences to be had.
The Bose Performance system comes with 14 speakers, placed along the tops of the doors, the dashboard, and behind the cabin. Each door also comes with a 10-inch Bose woofer to supply the bass notes. Rolling Stone editors say that the audio quality is mixed perfectly and surrounds you with 360 degrees of sound.
Better still, the audio automatically adjusts itself when you pop off the Corvette’s top. All Chevy Corvette Stingrays come with Bose premium audio systems. However, the base 1LT only has 10 speakers and doesn’t have advanced staging technology.
The Bose Performance system is standard on the Corvette 2LT, which starts at $68,295 for the coupe. New convertible models start at $75,295, according to Chevy.
Acura models and Panasonic premium audio systems
Most Acura vehicles come with a Panasonic speaker system, but Rolling Stone particularly loved it inside the Acura TLX. Most models come with a whopping 17 speakers, professionally tuned by Grammy-winning mixer Elliot Scheiner. These speakers showcase Acura’s new 3D sound system perfectly, especially with excellent 5.1 surround sound quality.
Rolling Stone particularly liked the four ceiling-mounted speakers, which balance the audio quality throughout the interior. You can hear every rich tone of the instruments and the vocal tracks are never drowned out by the sound.
While it’s not included in the TLX’s standard features, this premium audio system is relatively affordable compared to other luxury models. Acura includes the premium Panasonic feature as part of the A-Spec package for the base trim. These models retail for $44,250, but adding AWD boosts the price by an additional $2,000.
You can find Meridian speakers inside the priciest luxury cars, including the newest Jaguar F-Type and F-Pace cars. On some models, the standard Meridian premium audio system setup boasts 14 speakers with 380 watts and a dual-channel subwoofer. The 825-watt Surround Sound upgrade comes with 20 speakers, a dual-channel subwoofer, and Meridian’s unique Trifield sound technology.
This aligns the left and right sound channels with the center and the surround sound channels, producing an even better listening experience. Some Jags can even be equipped with a 1300-watt system, boasting 26 speakers and 3D surround sound. However, a fully loaded Jaguar XJ with this sound system really breaks the bank at over $126,000.
However, Rolling Stone found that even the base 14-speaker setup provides exceptional sound quality. The Meridian sound system also has a corrective tuning technology that adjusts itself depending on each model’s interior materials. Rolling Stone loved that it perfectly replicates a loud concert inside while keeping exterior noise out, even with the top down.
Meridian also partners with Land Rover, equipping some models with a 29-speaker Signature Sound package. Fortunately, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport’s 13-speaker system provides great sound at a relatively affordable price. The base trim starts at $69,500.