Sound Systems – The Best Off The Shelf Sound from Car Makers


When it comes to driving, your audio experience is important. Whether you’re taking calls hands-free through your speakers, catching up on podcasts, or filling the air with the sounds of your favorite bands, a good sound system can take a good ride and turn it into an incredible ride.

While all cars come with at least basic audio systems, other systems are provided as upgrade options from the car makers. You can either opt to get this upgrade when you purchase a new vehicle, or put it on your list of preferences when shopping for a used vehicle. Some systems are definitely worth the upgrade, while others — maybe not so much.

Here are some of the best off the shelf sound systems that come from the car makers, and why they’re music to our ears:

Audi A5 and A5 Cabriolet – Bang & Olufsen

When you start this 3D German sound system up, the tweeters rise up out of the dash for a stunning visual show. An equally satisfying audio show then follows. The 14-speaker set-up in the A5 creates a surround-sound experience with excellent balance, clarity and bass, thanks to a 505-watt amplifier with 10 different channels. You’ll also get access to all the standard features you want in an in-car audio system like Bluetooth and satellite radio capabilities, SD cards and smartphone integration.

Volvo XC90 TC AWD – Bowers & Wilkins


Volvo touts this system as being “spacious and lifelike” and it doesn’t disappoint. With an on-dash central tweeter that minimizes acoustic reflection from the car’s windshield, optimally engineered speaker placement and location and 19 speakers, you’ll be immersed in high-quality sound. A Class-D amplifier pulls everything together to fill this sexy SUV with unbeatable sound.

Lincoln MKX Black Label AWD – Revel Ultima Audio System

There are 19 speakers in this advanced audio system, as well as a 20-channel hybrid amplifier to really give your sound a boost. Clari-Fi music restoration technology works to create a clear and crisp sound from any and every seat in the vehicle, no matter what you’re listening to. QuantumLogic surround sound technology also helps make every seat sound like the best seat in the house. HD Radio technology keeps this system cutting edge, while aluminum speaker grills make this system look as refined and high-class as it sounds.

Infiniti QX80 – Bose Premium Audio

The sound system in the Infiniti QX80 aims to emphasize depth and precision of sounds, and does so beautifully with 13 speakers and two subwoofers. The second row of seats has two in-seat screens so your back passengers can both watch and listen to two separate things while the driver and front passenger can keep their own music separate. Attention to space really pays off here by creating compartments of crisp sound.

Honda Odyssey

This minivan is anything but small when it comes to its sound capabilities. Different models offer different sound options, with the EX offering a 7-speaker system and the Touring model offering 12 speakers, each with an included subwoofer. The 12-speaker model also offers a 650 watt amplifier and a 5.1 Surround Sound Theater Mode to make sure your music is heard like it should be. Options like Pandora compatibility, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and an audio touchscreen make this system perfect for families who want convenience of sound without compromise. The Honda Odyssey is impressive for a budget-friendly minivan in so many ways, including its audio system.

Mercedes-Benz S550 – Burmester Surround Sound

Since 2009, Mercedes and Burmester have teamed up to create unrivaled vehicle audio systems. The S550 has a Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound System that includes a remarkable 24 speakers and 24 separate amplifier channels. This means that there are over 1,540 watts working to create the most stunning 3D sound with an oddly natural sound. An analog filter works with a digital amplifier to reproduce mid-range frequencies as well as trebles, while boosting the high peaks in such a dynamic way. Speakers in the ceiling add to the natural surround sound, while vehicle noise compensation works to block out the sound of the road.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport – Meridian Signature Audio System

This 23-speaker system has a clean and crisp sound that’s a favorite amongst reviewers. A 2D Meridian mode lets you experience every note of every song exactly as it’s supposed to sound. It’s consistently rated at the top, and there’s no doubt that it deserves its place up there.

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