We have Lincoln and THX, Acura and ELS, Lexus and Mark Levinson, and now, Bentley and Naim. Even automakers in the stratosphere of luxury brands feel the need to partner with an established audio company. Naim, a name you probably haven't heard if you aren't a hard-core audiophile, is a British manufacturer of very high-end handmade stereo equipment. Bentley's press release claims this system is the "world's best", but we would like to be the judge of that. All we need is for Bentley to send us a car.
To design the systems, Naim ran acoustic tests of each Bentley model, coming up with unique speaker configurations for each. The Bentley Continental models get 15 speakers, while the Arnage, Azure, and Brooklands get 11 speakers each. That falls short of the 19 speakers in the
Although Lexus might use more speakers, Bentley gets honors for the most powerful amp built into a production car. The 1,100-watt Naim amp uses a six layer double-sided circuit board to allow for a compact design, necessary for any in-car components. Naim also claims a next-generation digital signal processor (DSP), whatever next generation might mean in this context. But some of its specifications are very interesting. The DSP adjusts the equalizer levels for each 1 kilometer per hour change in speed. And on the convertibles, it adjusts the equalizer depending on whether the top is down or up. Finally, you can choose from eight DSP modes, from the default "Audiophile" setting to one specifically designed for digital media, such as MP3s.