In-Car Tech: Showtime! The Cars of 2012 CES
While many are enamored by the latest video games or the biggest, thinnest new 3D flat-panel televisions at the International CES, people who consider themselves automotive enthusiasts and sound aficionados certainly can’t help but be drawn into the vehicles on display in the LVCC North Hall and elsewhere in venues throughout Vegas during the annual show.
Some of the vehicles are downright amazing and it’s part of the fun that comes along with the 12-volt aftermarket side of the consumer electronics business. Above all else, we are in the entertainment business and making the in-car experience more fun and exciting with high-quality installations is something that never goes out of style.
At this year’s show, Dealerscope’s In-Car Tech editorial staff asked me to pick out a few noteworthy vehicles to feature and it was not an easy assignment. How can you pick just a few? I decided to let the eyes and ears determine the three vehicles, and each of the choices are very different from the other. Truth be told, even if I had to pick 20 of the best cars at the show I’d still have a long list to filter because there were just so many cool installs, several wonderfully sounding cars (which was nice to see and experience) and a general sense of pride in workmanship that I am happy to see returning to demo vehicles that are intended to represent what’s possible in the 12-volt aftermarket.
Pioneer Lexus GS
You’d have to be blind to miss this beautiful white 2013 Lexus GS in the Pioneer booth right at the entrance to the North Hall. With the aggressive, custom made body kit, air ride suspension, and amazing audio system installation courtesy of the wizards at Five Axis, it was certainly one of the highlights of the show. Of course if you recall the last Lexus Pioneer did (a beautiful black IS-F), you’ll recall that the influence of super-installer Chris Yato was all over that car’s installation and this new Five Axis Project GS Lexus followed that tradition. Yato and fellow installation expert Calvin Thomas put together an awesome installation built around Pioneer’s high-end Stage 4 speakers and electronics.
“We wanted to highlight the Pioneer Stage 4 philosophy of sound quality, so we used four amplifiers, two of which are running dual mono to the three-way components in the front, one PRS-A900 amplifier for the right channel and another for the left channel,” explains Yato.
A pair of Pioneer PRS-D1200 amplifiers finish out the system and drive one 10” subwoofer each. Yato and Thomas made custom molds for the mid and tweeter combo to fit in the dash while installing the midbass driver in the door of the GS. Subwoofers are neatly tucked into custom enclosures in each side panel and the suspended, spaceship-looking amp rack in the middle of the trunk motorizes out for access to the amplifiers.
A clever motorized panel allows the DEX-P99RS head unit to pop up from what used to be a cup holder and storage tray in the front of the console. “With such an integrated dashboard, we just wanted to provide an elegant solution to installing the head unit and not disturb any of the car’s functionality in the process,” added Yato. Anyone who’s seen installations that Yato oversees knows motorization is one thing the man is expert at doing and in such a tasteful way.