Drivers of some Lexus luxury vehicles are experiencing the automotive equivalent of audio system quality that homeowners are paying more than $30,000 to achieve.
Owners of the newly released Lexus RX330 fitted with the Sports Luxury Pack are the latest to benefit from the state-of-the-art audio treatment.
The Lexus SC430 retractable hardtop coupe and rear seat option pack-equipped Lexus LS430 sedans are also fitted with the exceptional audio systems.
The systems stem from an exclusive partnership between Lexus and premier US audio-systems creator Mark Levinson.
It is the first exclusive agreement with an automotive company that Mark Levinson has signed during the 30 years the company has been designing premium home stereo and home theatre systems.
Mark Levinson President, Mr Phil Muzio, said automobiles presented significant challenges for audio engineers because of their ambient noise, confined spaces and limited speaker placement options.
Levinson chose Lexus for its audio systems because its vehicles were designed to be exceptionally quiet and presented the right conditions to enjoy optimum sound quality.
Levinson has designed and voiced each audio system to best complement the acoustic characteristics of the individual models.
The Levinson system in the RX330 fitted with the Sports Luxury Pack employs 11 speakers to offer a three dimensional sound stage above the instrument panel.
The Mark Levinson Premium Sound System for the RX330 Sports Luxury pack includes a position function that detects the position of the occupants and adjusts the sound for the ultimate listening experience.
An auto sound leveliser continually and unobtrusively alters the volume of the music to correct for changes in external ambient noise at different speeds.
The Lexus SC430 Levinson system incorporates automatic settings to take into account the position of the convertible's top.
Mark Levinson's Phil Muzio - a former musician - has spent hundreds of hours in each Lexus model setting up each system, adjusting components and positioning speakers, listening and tuning to address the unique acoustic environment of each vehicle.
"It is not increasing volume that increases the experience - it is the ability to be able to render the individual instruments to recreate the soul of the music," he said.
The starting price for a basic Mark Levinson integrated amplifier and CD player for the home is around $30,000, excluding speakers.
The recommended retail price for the RX330 Sports is $69,990*
The cost to upgrade to the RX330 with Sport Luxury pack - which includes the Mark Levinson digital premium audio system, as well as DVD satellite navigation and rear view camera - is an additional $8510.
All Lexus Mark Levinson systems have a six-disc CD changer.
* RRP excludes dealer delivery and statutory charges.