Motoring Speedandsound 28 Friday, 28 August 2009 London Lite B ACK in the early Eighties, you were doing well if your car came equipped with a push-button radio, while high-flyers could look forward to a cassette deck. How times have changed. In todays hi-tech audio world, the basic car stereo has morphed into a sophisticated sound stage compat- ible with CDs, DVDs, iPod docks, touch-screen technology, DAB d i g i t a l f r e q u e nc ie s a nd surround sound. To help counteract ancillary noises from the road surface, wind, engine, tyres and exhaust, manufacturers add features like subwoofers, tweeters and active noise cancellation to produce a flawless listening experience. To give you an insight into whats available, weve picked eight of the best car stereos, from a 250 Interscope Hi-Fi on the Fiat 500, up to a 5,000 tailor-made Naim system on the Bentley Continental. You may never get out of the car again... BENTLEY CONTINENTAL (FROM 123,800) BUYING a Bentley is all about bespoke craftsmanship -- from the colour of the seat belts to the sound quality from the hi-fi. If you have a spare 4,840 you can have the bespoke Naim for Bentley system. It thumps out 1,000 watts and features the latest digital sound processor to optimise the sound channelled through 15 (yes, 15!) loudspeakers. Sadly, all your money goes on providing aural excel- lence; if you want to plug in your iPod or MP3, youll have to spend an extra 280. Standard system: radio/six-disc CD with 300W and 12 speakers Upgrade: Naim for Bentley Price: 4,840 Speakers: 15 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF SE (FROM 15,935) VW HAS teamed up with audio expert Dynaudio to kit out its car range. The new MkVI Golf SE comes with the RCD310 radio, CD and MP3 as standard, complete with eight speakers. For an extra 165 you can add DAB digital radio recep- tion, or pay 680 to upgrade to the RCD510 system, which adds a 6inch colour touch-screen, six-disc auto- changer, 2GB SD card reader, and an auxiliary jack for an iPod. Theres also the full DVD navigation and 30GB hard drive package for 1,825. But that might be even better than your stereo at home. Standard system: RCD310 radio/CD with MP3 and eight speakers Upgrade: RCD510 Price: 680 Speakers: eight BMW 1 SERIES (FROM 16,410) PEOPLE used to joke t h a t t h e only gadget you got free on a BMW was the radio. Not any more. Even the entry-level 1 Series has the Business-grade radio/ CD, 10 speakers and the plug-and- play iPod port. But BMW wouldnt be BMW if it didnt offer a healthy list of options. Tick the BMW Professional box and youll add better- quality speakers for 140, or for the full surround-sound experience, the Logic7 loudspeaker system is yours for 695. Standard system: BMW Business radio/CD Upgrade: BMW Professional Price: from 140 Speakers: 10 JAGUAR XF (FROM 52,500) IF ITS good enough for The Beatles, its good enough for Jaguar. Were not talking about mop- tops, but Bowers & Wilkins. This award-winning British audio com- pany supplies all the speakers to the famous Abbey Road studios. To max- imise this pedigree, Jaguar and B&W have designed a bespoke system for the new XJ, featuring a 1,200-watt amplifier, 20 speakers, Dolby 7.1 sur- round sound, hard-drive storage, two USB ports plus Bluetooth audio streaming. It also has B&Ws revolu- tionary Audyssey MultiEQ XT tech- nology, which digitally corrects any sound imperfection in the cabin to deliver distortion-free sound. Standard system: 400-watt sound system with radio/CD/DVD, MP3, HDD hard disc and 12 speakers Upgrade: Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system Price: 1,840 on XJ luxury spec; 1,242 on XJ Premium luxury spec; standard on XJ Portfolio and Supersport. Speakers: 20 ASTON MARTIN DBS (FROM 159,043) A S Y O U might expect with s u c h a n exquisitely tailored supercar, the bespoke Bang & Olufsen system is as beautifully styled as the interior -- even the loudspeaker grilles are fin- ished in smoothly contoured aluminium to mimic the curves of the cabin. The system uses 13 speakers and its party piece is undoubtedly the motorised tweeter speakers that emerge silently from the dashboard as soon as the system is turned on, adding a delicious touch of theatre and technological panache. Standard system: B&O Beosound Price: n/a Speakers: 13 ALFA ROMEO 159 (FROM 19,950) FOR the last nine years, Alfa has col- laborated with Bose to offer custom- ers the choice of a customised sound system. Every aspect of the car is considered in the design -- from the materials used for the seats, headlin- ing and dashboard, to whether its a two- or four-seater, coup or convert- ible. Further upgrades are available, including the innovative Blue&Me multimedia interface that links the voice recognition software with the USB port so you can plug in your MP3 player and access the songs without taking your hands off the steering wheel. Standard: radio/CD, eight speakers Upgrade: Bose Price: 590 Speakers: 10 AUDI A8 (FROM 49,975) IN 1989, Audi was the first European car manufacturer to develop a pre- mium sound system for luxury-class cars. That was with Bose and 20 years on, Audi is working with Bang & Olufsen to offer A8 customers an Advanced Sound System. Key fea- tures include 14 speakers, each with their own individual amplifier. Standard: DAB radio/CD with MP3, 32GB SD card reader, 160 watts, 10 speakers Upgrade: B&O Advanced Sound System Price: 4,405 Speakers: 14 FIAT 500 (FROM 8,500) WHEN youve got a car as funky as the 500, it stands to reason that the hi-fi will be equally hip. For 250 you get the Interscope hi-fi with six speakers and a four- channel, 160-watt amplifier. In fact, its so sophisticated it uses three different signal-processing methods -- trubass, focus and 3D -- to produce concert-like sound. Standard: radio/CD with MP3 and Bluetooth Upgrade: Interscope Price: 250 Speakers: six Loud and proud: the Bentley Continental stereo, like the rest of the car, is about craftmanship Thelatesthi-techstereosareasslickasthecarstheyaremadefor BY ANDREW GILLINGWATER index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html