There are options here to suit all budgets.
Making a list of cars with the best sound systems is difficult, although it would be easy to simply pick vehicles with a higher speaker count and a steep price tag. When putting together our list of the best car sound systems, we wanted to include vehicles of all price ranges. There are plenty of luxury cars with good sound systems that provide great audio, but finding a few reasonably-priced options with high-quality sound is a tougher challenge.
This list is composed of 10 premium sound systems that we’ve been impressed with over the years. Our criteria are based on several important factors, such as the number of speakers, impressive features, sound quality, clarity, and more. If you are looking for the best cars with even better audio, these vehicles should be on your shopping list.
The Land Rover Range Rover makes our list when equipped with the Meridian Signature Sound System, which packs a whopping 34 speakers, a dual-channel subwoofer, and a 1,600-watt amplifier. Using Meridian Trifield 3D technology, this system can make music sound like it is being performed live. In terms of tech features, the Meridian premium audio system includes digital signal processing, Meridian Cabin Correction, Meridian Digital Dither Shaping, 3D trifield, and active noise cancellation. The latest Range Rover model also has third-generation Active Noise Cancellation technology with microphones mounted outside the car and speakers in the headrest that can create quiet zones in the cabin.
Even the base model Range Rover comes with a 14-speaker Meridian Sound System that includes similar standard features. The Meridian Land Rover systems are available throughout the company’s range, as well as Jaguar. Kia has even started to use Meridian speakers in the EV6 if you want to hear amazing audio on a lower priced vehicle.
When talking about cars with the best sound systems, it’s impossible to leave out the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This car is available with a Burmester High-End 4D Surround Sound system upgrade that costs $6,800. That’s a substantial amount to pay for premium audio, but when the audio quality is this good, it’s worth the price. This amazing audio system includes 30 speakers, six of which are 3D, dual body-integrated FrontBass subwoofers, and an additional sub in the trunk with its own 400-watt amp.
Of course, the S-Class packs common standard features such as smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), as well as more advanced technology like speakers in the seats that can massage occupants with the bass from your music. Not everyone will listen with this feature turned on, but it’s pretty cool to show off to friends and family.
Mercedes-Benz takes the drama to extremes with beautiful speaker grilles on the doors that spin to life when you turn on any music or audio. There are also other grilles around the cabin that light up with the ambient lighting at night. Mercedes-Benz offers Burmester 3D audio systems in other models, but the S-Class delivers the best performance of the cars we’ve tested.
If you want a vehicle that won’t break the bank but still has one of the best car audio systems, the Acura MDX delivers with its ELS Studio Premium Audio. Available as part of the Technology Package, ELS Premium Audio comes with 12 speakers that sound better than many more expensive sound systems. If you upgrade to the MDX Type S, it comes with an ELS Studio 3D Premium Audio System with 16 Speakers, offering even more high-quality sound.
True audiophiles will want to get the MDX Type S Advance, which leads all Acura vehicles with an ELS Studio 3D Signature Edition Premium Audio that packs 25 speakers and 1,000 watts. This system comes with high-fidelity carbon speakers, including six Highline overhead speakers that double sound clarity, provide clearer bass, and add more depth to both vocals and instruments. For relatively affordable cars with the best car sound system, Acura offers tremendous value.
If you want your next car to have massive cargo space, luxurious rear seats, a powerful V8 or efficient diesel engine, and an amazing sound system, the Cadillac Escalade is an outstanding option. The lower trim levels come with a 19-speaker AKG Studio with an amplifier and subwoofer. Because the vehicle is so large, there’s even a Conversation Enhancement feature that projects speech from the driver back to the rear seats. If you want to keep the kids occupied on a road trip, this model can be equipped with a rear entertainment package that includes screens and headphones.
Opting for one of the higher trim levels brings in a 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference audio system that includes three amplifiers with front and rear subwoofers. Not only does the Escalade pack speakers in the doors and on the dashboard, but it also puts speakers in the headrest and headliner to create a 3D surround sound experience. Buyers who want more engine power can opt for the Escalade-V model, which has a supercharged V8 with 668 horsepower under the hood for insane performance. The loud exhaust note can be heard throughout the vehicle, but you can still listen to music clearly thanks to this amazing system.
If we were strictly doing a list of affordable cars with the best sound systems, the Nissan Kicks would probably be near the top with its available Bose upgrade. The Kicks is easily the most affordable model on this list, even considering that the Bose Personal Plus audio system is only available on the top SR trim level as part of the SR Premium Package. It may not have the most power or speaker count on this list, but audio from this system is impressive, given the price.
The Bose Personal Plus audio system features eight speakers total, two of which are UltraNearfield speakers sited in the driver headrest. Nissan says the Bose system uses PersonalSpace signal processing to create 360 degrees of surround sound to wrap audio around the car. This is one of our favorite systems in an affordable car; we like it more than many pricier Bose sound systems found in other vehicles.
This list is in no particular order, but if we had to choose our favorite, it would be the Bowers & Wilkins audio system for BMW and Volvo. This is also the first instance where we couldn’t pick one automaker to represent the sound system because BMW and Volvo both deserve recognition.
The BMW iX comes standard with a Harman Kardon audio system with 18 speakers and 560 watts, but the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System upgrade with 30 speakers and 1,615 watts is the more interesting option. Like the S-Class, the iX can massage occupants with a 4D Audio Tactile Bass Experience that includes speakers in the seats. This amazing surround sound system includes Nautilus Diamond Dome Tweeters and non-visible Shy Tech speakers around the cabin to provide the best sound.
Though it’s now limited to higher trim levels, the Volvo Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound system is easily worth $3,200. In the XC90, this system bundles 19 speakers around the vehicle, including the iconic tweeter on the dashboard. We love this system because it’s available on a range of Volvo models – both cars and SUVs – and provides crystal clear sound quality. Volvo integrates four sound modes, including a Concert Hall and Jazz Club, to make music sound as if it’s reverberating around the cabin like a live venue. For example, you can blast some Foo Fighters, and it will sound as though Dave Grohl is screaming in your ear. We like Volvo’s Harman Kardon audio but would recommend the Bowers upgrade.
Many Audi models are available with a Bang & Olufsen sound system, but the S8 is our favorite car in the lineup if you are a driver who wants a comfortable and sporty experience. The A8 is a great car, too, but the S8 packs a twin-turbo engine with more power, quattro all-wheel-drive, and one of the plushest suspensions we’ve ever tested in a vehicle.
Being one of the most expensive models in the Audi lineup, the S8 already comes equipped with a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system as standard. For $5,900, you can upgrade to a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen Advanced sound system with 3D sound. This sound system delivers some of the best sound imaginable thanks to 1,920 watts of power and 5.1 Surround Sound. The less expensive Audi models with Bang & Olufsen systems still provide great quality and a more attainable level. If you want to experience B&O in a cheaper vehicle, Ford offers it on several models.
It may be too expensive for most buyers, but the Bentley Naim system has some of the best sound quality we have ever heard in a vehicle. You will only find Naim in Bentley vehicles, so don’t go searching for it in more affordable models. This 21-speaker system was created to have enough performance to overpower road noise at over 200 mph. It utilizes a 2,200-watt amplifier with four 6×9-inch bass drivers. Using Digital Signal Processing (DSP), the Naim system can tailor music to different seating positions within the car. Bentley even worked with a professional musician to create a special track that would show off the impressive sound of its Naim system. Among all the vehicles with the best sound systems, only Bentley is impressive enough for Naim.
When launching an all-new sub-brand, Jeep wanted to include one of the best sound systems that isn’t available from other car companies. That’s why the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer were the first models to launch with McIntosh car sound systems. The lower MX950 system comes with 19 speakers with 950 watts, available in either the Wagoneer or Grand Cherokee. Only the Grand Wagoneer gets the MX1375 Reference system with 23 speakers and 1,375 watts of power. Unique Adaptive 3D Surround Processing envelopes the car with sound while Power Guard Technology and an LD/HP (Low Distortion/High Performance) speaker design keep music quality high even with the volume cranked up.
This system does not require an audio engineer to figure out, as it only offers one listening mode. It can automatically adjust to the type of music, meaning you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to adjust your settings. Kids in the back can listen to their own content with headphones on the available rear entertainment system, which features Amazon FireTV integration with streaming capabilities.
The Mark Levinson sound system is available across various Lexus models, but we wanted to pick out two of the company’s best cars to highlight its capabilities. The Lexus LC 500 is one of the best cars on sale today at any price, thanks to its high-revving V8 engine that produces smooth power and even better sound. For 2024, the LC now gets a touchscreen, fixing our biggest gripe with the car. When you aren’t listening to that glorious engine, the Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound system packs a punch. Lexus even left in a CD player, one of the rarest features on this list, because the audio quality is better than an MP3.
If the LC doesn’t have enough cargo space for you or you need something with all-wheel drive, the Lexus LS 500 might be a better choice. This model is available with a 2,400-watt Quantum Logic Immersion Reference Surround Sound upgrade that tops all Lexus offerings.