Auto Tech

Jeep's McIntosh audio systems are the sub-$100K car audio kings

We listened to all three applications of the Jeep McIntosh audio system and they're brilliant.

The MX950 as found in the base Wagoneer and the Grand Cherokee L sounds incredible.
Jeep

So, I've been excited to hear the McIntosh-branded audio system in the new Grand Cherokee L, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer since it was first discussed back in 2020. I love that classic McIntosh sound, and being able to enjoy that sound in a vehicle is hugely enticing. Still, deep down, I always worried whether the McIntosh MX950 and especially the MX1375 Reference systems would live up to my lofty expectations.

Well, McIntosh has a pretty serious listening setup here at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show that includes both the automotive systems as well as a six-figure home system and I just demoed them all, and friends, the results are in: They may be the best car audio systems you can get in the sub-$100,000 price range. They are really that good, and I'm going to tell you why.

Let's start with the MX950, which is available in the Grand Cherokee L and the non-grand Wagoneer. This is a 950-watt system with 19 speakers, including a 10-inch subwoofer, and while it's the "base" McIntosh system, it sounds anything but. There are a few visual differences between its applications in the Grand Cherokee and base Wagoneer, with the former getting light-up emblems and visible coaxial speakers on the dash. 

The MX137 Reference system is an easy-to-enjoy powerhouse with tons of great aesthetic touches.

Jeep

There is also a small but noticeable difference in sound, with the smaller, more slightly more luxe cabin of the up-spec Grand Cherokee L sounding a little warmer and richer to my ears. Both applications are excellent and absolutely worth the $1,495 upcharge on the Grand Cherokee L.

Where things get really interesting is with the top-spec MX1375 Reference system in the Grand Wagoneer. This system steps up to 23 speakers, a 12-inch powered subwoofer and 1,375 watts of peak power. The MX1375 sounds accurate and crisp, but it also manages to be extremely easy to listen to and not fatiguing. Those last two are McIntosh hallmarks and arguably more important to me than a technically perfect and accurate reproduction of the music I'm listening to.

That listenability is a critical trait in all of the systems I like best, like the Mercedes-Benz Burmester system and what is arguably the king of branded audio systems, the Bentley Naim system. Tthe Jeep McIntosh system absolutely plays in that category, and I can't wait to get some more time with my own set of reference albums to get a more complete picture of what it's capable of.

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