12 Volt: The Pursuit of Perfection
I recently spent some time in the new Lexus GS. When the car was delivered, the Lexus representative joked about the size of the in-dash screen: “It’s like an IMAX.” The 12.3” screen that takes up the dashboard certainly dwarfs current offerings in the aftermarket. It also pretty much guarantees that no person with a budget of $2,000 is going to try and replace the head unit. This becomes a project of OEM integration done right.
It is getting tougher on us—the standard-model audio system was good. The upgraded premium system is great. It really is. Not excellent, but the kind of system that most people would enjoy. Luckily, a few of our customers want excellent, especially when talking about a vehicle that can crest $75K when loaded. Enter sophisticated aftermarket outboard OEM integration processors.
The stock GS is lacking in subbass and a coherent image regardless of the factory processing available onboard. The problem is that changing the head unit here would eliminate Lexus Safety Connect—an OnStar-like telematics suite that includes automatic collision notification, an emergency-assist button, stolen vehicle location and enhanced roadside assistance. Not something we want to do. But we are not completely locked out. We just need to use different tools to join the party when the OEMs sell the customer with what they think is the be-all and end-all.