March 30, 2007 by EH Staff
How do you squeeze a high-end home audio system into a luxury car? You start with the new Lexus LS 460 (you know, the one that parks itself), and add the Mark Levinson Unprecedented Audio upgrade package.
Mark Levinson and Lexus have been tied at the dash since the first Mark Levinson sound system rolled out in high-end Lexus models in 2001. This year, for the first time, Mark Levinson audio is available at a premium for all Lexus models, and you won’t find the revered brand on any other make.
You can’t argue with the deal. Once you’ve plunked down $61,000 for the base model LS 460, or $71,000 for the longer wheelbase version, you can have the 450-watt, 19-speaker audio package for a $2,530 song. But you won’t want to stop there. If you’re going full-tilt on the other goodies, including shiatsu backseat massager, Advanced Parking Guidance System, and front and rear heated and cooled seats, you aren’t going to scrimp on the entertainment upgrades.
Start with the dashboard system. Ten grand gets you navigation, a backup camera that serves as your guide for the automatic parallel park feature, and a full palette of entertainment sources. You can play DVDs and CDs—including the alphabet soup of formats from DVD-Audio to MP3 and WMA—and also shovel all your tunes onto a 30-GB hard disk drive. You may as well add the XM Radio option that’s accessible from the touchpanel display to get 200 channels of programming. And if you’re the kind who doesn’t leave home without your iTunes, plug an iPod into the audio connector stashed in the center console, and select auxiliary input. All your audio bases are covered.
Playback options are stereo and surround. You’ll almost always opt for Mark Levinson Surround (MLS), the only surround-sound system that’s been designed and optimized for the car environment.
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