When the 2022 Acura MDX reaches dealers next spring, it will feature an optional 25-speaker “Signature Edition” ELS Studio 3D premium audio system with more than 1,000 watts of power, 22 discrete channels, six speakers in its headliner, and six carbon-fiber mid-range woofers scattered throughout its cabin. Acura says it has been tuned by eight-time Grammy-winning sound engineer Elliot Scheiner and will set a new standard for concert-quality in-vehicle audio.
Welcome to the new world of high-quality, high-end automotive audio systems. These days, a car’s speaker count and wattage can be as important as its horsepower and fuel economy, and most automakers now partner with an audio brand better known for its big sound in-home systems, like Bang & Olufsen, Harman Kardon, and Bose. The trend actually began back in the 1980s, but it has become the norm as consumers continue to demand ever better sound quality and performance. Most of the best systems out there are optional, but are they worth the additional money? Some are not, but many are. Here are our picks for the 10 best factory audio systems available right now.