Many of you may not know it, but Winding Road has several sister publications that play in the high-end audio space of the publishing world. We’ve decided that it was high time, then, that we unleashed the expertise of our audiophile reviewers into the often murky world of in-car audio. In each of our Car Audio Test reviews, you’ll find a concise summary of the stats, strengths, and weaknesses of the test car’s specific system that go far beyond the often irrelevant data provided by OEMs and the media alike. Be sure to check out Playback on AVguide.com, too, for even more content like this.
Car: 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
Audio System: Lexicon
Features: 17 Speakers, 7.1 Channels, HD Radio, XM radio, 6 Disc CD/DVD changer
Composite Score: 82
Testing Notes: This Lexicon system spreads the sound out nicely in front of the driver and is enhanced by the quiet cabin of the Genesis sedan. Even so, with a slightly depressed midrange, an edge to the treble and thickness in the bass, we didn’t get the ideal sense of realism that we’d like. A few bumps in the frequency response curve also detract from the punchiness on some songs, even though the system will play quite loudly (note, however, that subwoofer lovers won’t find anything like the ultimate low end here).
The infotainment system is pretty conventional, dominated by Apple CarPlay and limited in scope by very few autonomous driving features. The optional harman/kardon audio system is good but not amazing.
We rarely cover in-car audio and despite the Munich High‑End show being surrounded by automotive excellence (there’s a car museum just opposite and it sits…
Today we’re watching Walter Hill’s The Driver, a “neo-noir” style crime drama that centers around a wheelman for hire and the cat-and-mouse game he plays with the detective who wants to bring him to justice at any cost. But since this is Gearhead Theater, we’re going to level with you – we’re really here for the cars, and everything else beyond that is more or less an incidental bonus.
Testing Notes: As Bose systems go, this is one of the better ones, though a glance at our ratings will perhaps convey that this is faint praise indeed. That’s because this system still takes the life out of music by sanding off the nuances and details. In addition, the spatial presentation is disconcerting with sounds coming from the dash and shifted away from the driver. Unfortunately, one’s listening pleasure is further reduced because the Fiat 500 is far from the quietest car on the road and the single DIN head unit offers but a minimalist user interface. Still, this leaves this stereo in the “not bad” category much more than in the “outright offensive” zone.
This is one of those Jekyll and Hyde systems where the midrange and treble sections seem to have been designed by people who listen to music and value accuracy, and the bass seems to have been tuned according to the whims of a product manager.