The year of the marketable in-car stereo system continues apace. Joining the Bose Panaray system of the Cadillac CT6 and the Revel system in the Lincoln MKX is a powerful Bose system custom built and tuned for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible—one built to excel when you’re cruising with the top down.
Bose has been providing the sound systems for Mazda for several years, but they appear to have outdone themselves this time. The 9-speaker system is joined by a seven-channel digital amplifier—less impressive on paper than the other high-end systems we’ve seen this year, but this is also a much smaller vehicle. It should be every bit as impressive as those other systems thanks to a similar approach to the one Bose took with its Panaray system on the CT6—careful tuning and speaker placement.
There are 6.5″ speakers in each door, 1″ neodymium tweeters in each A-pillar, and a 5.25″ woofer under the passenger side footwell. The real stars of the show, and the speakers that help make this system great even when dealing with all the background noise that comes in when you take the top off, are the dual 2″ UltraNearfield speakers in the driver and passenger headrests, designed and tuned specifically for their position in the car. The aim is to give passengers a headphone-like listening experience with the top-down, without the danger that would come with actually wearing headphones while you’re driving. The entire system comes standard with two EQ settings for when the top is on and off, with the car automatically switching between the two as needed.
Mazda hasn’t gone public with final pricing tiers or when the roadster will go on sale, but you can expect to rock out with the top down at some point in the latter half of this year.
UPDATE 05/29/15: An earlier version of this article stated that the MX-5 features an 11-speaker sound system. It is a 9-speaker sound system.