Cars that rock, and roll

CNET selects the cars with the best audio systems from those reviewed in 2011.

These five cars have the best-sounding stereos we've tested all year.

To get good sound in a car, you used to have to visit an installer, who would rip out four tinny speakers and replace them with six-by-nines, a sub, and an amp. But now many automakers are partnering with known audio companies to put high-quality audio components in cars at the factory. These systems are designed specifically for each car by professional audio engineers. We picked out five cars with the best-sounding audio systems we heard this year. These systems produce the kind of sound that will have you driving around the block until your favorite song finishes playing.


2012 Audi A7
Audi gave the new A7 excellent tech from its drivetrain to the cabin. The stock stereo is a great-sounding 600-watt Bose system, but you can upgrade to the even better Bang & Olufsen system. Read the full review.


2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate
Lexicon makes the audio system for the Rolls-Royce Phantom and the Hyundai Equus. Need we say more? Read the full review


2011 Jaguar XJ Supersport
The name Bowers & Wilkins is well-known to audiophiles. The stereo maker brings its expertise to Jaguar with 1,200 watts and 20 speakers in the XJ. Read the full review.


2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550
Mercedes-Benz has long relied on Harman Kardon for its sound systems, and they seem to keep on getting better. The system in the CLS550, with its 14 speakers, makes every instrument distinct. Read the full review.


2012 Volkswagen Beetle
The premium Fender audio system in the Beetle is an excellent surprise, delivering audiophile sound quality in a car priced far below the other cars on this list. The Beetle offers the best stereo in its segment, by a long shot. Read the full review.


 

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