Jaguar I-Pace audio review: Meridian 3D Surround Sound System

The Jaguar I-Pace is a stylish all-electric SUV that’s been around since 2018. Since its inauguration, it has received updates that have helped bolster its electric range and more recently, a refresh of its interior tech has heightened the in-cabin experience.

When it comes to audio, the British automaker has similarly changed up a few things. In February 2022, Jaguar downgraded the EV400’s S-trim spec to include a ‘Sound System’ rather than the 12-speaker 400-Watt Meridian audio system. Indeed, the latter system now costs £610, while the 17-speaker 750-Watt Meridian 3D Surround Sound System costs an additional £1,220 in the entry-level £65,620 I-Pace.

Should you choose the SE trim that starts from £70,220, you’ll find the 12-speaker 400-Watt system fitted as standard, while the upgraded 17-speaker 750-Watt system costs £610. The top-spec HSE trim on review, which starts from £74,670, houses the latter system.

Click here to read the full Jaguar I-Pace review

Jaguar I-Pace audio setup

To tinker with the vehicle’s audio settings, one has to navigate to the ‘Audio’ tab on the 10″ infotainment system. Here, you’ll find a three-band equaliser, below are our optimal settings:

  • Treble: +2
  • Bass: -1
  • Subwoofer: -1
  • Balance & Fader: Centre
  • Surround mode: Meridian Trifield*

*Our preferred sound mode is the middle option and not ‘Meridian Trifield 3D’ nor ‘Stereo’. We find the regular Trifield option provides a good blend between a spacious encompassing sound and an accurate reproduction.

To connect up to the vehicle’s audio system using your smartphone, you can opt for a Bluetooth connection where the AAC and SBC codecs are supported. It’s a shame that the higher-quality codecs, such as aptX, aptX HD, LDAC or HWA are all omitted. On the plus side, both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported in a wired and wireless format, the former being the better out of the two connection modes, as it provides heightened audio fidelity.

As for media controls, there’s a physical volume knob on the dashboard, intuitive controls on the steering wheel and virtual buttons through the 10″ display.

Read next: Volvo XC40 audio review: A 13-speaker Harman Kardon system

Jaguar I-Pace audio performance

For a demo of the I-Pace’s audio system head on over to our YouTube channel.

At the time of writing, we don’t have any information on the stock ‘Sound System’ housed within the S-trim, but we have reached out to Jaguar for further clarification. Thankfully, however, we do have details on both the Meridian audio system.

In the 12-speaker 400-Watt system within the SE-trim, there is a tweeter and a woofer driver within each of the four doors, a midrange driver within the front door, a subwoofer in the boot and a midrange speaker within the dashboard. Note, the automaker reduced the number of speakers from 13 down to 12 in the 2022 model – removing the additional tweeter from the dashboard.

In the 17-speaker 750-Watt system that we have on review, the tweeter in the dashboard reappears, while two surround speakers are added to the rear parcel shelf and two top-firing drivers are added above both of the front seats.

The combination of rear and top-firing drivers adds an additional layer of dynamism throughout the cabin. Indeed, the 3D Meridian audio system provides great width and depth, especially when the Trifield option is selected. We found that when selecting the Trifield 3D setting, it would create an unwanted reverb and degrade the system’s tonal accuracy; whilst the ‘Stereo’ option did the opposite by creating a unidirectional sound.

As for instrument separation, it’s distinctly average, namely for a system that houses numerous audio drivers; the small nuances within DJ Snake & Justin Bieber’s single ‘Let Me Love You’, seem lost and fail to provide the same toe-tapping experience that one could experience in rival audio systems.

Similarly, it’s disappointing that the mids and highs are lobbed into one category through the ‘Treble’ EQ. Here, one can only add a few notches to the setting in order to bring vocals to the foreground; adding anything more will result in an overzealous top-end that creates ear fatigue. As such one, the mids are pushed back and create a V-shaped sound signature, whilst the highs provide enough sparkle and add some zing to Micheal Jackson’s ‘Remember The Time’.

Jaguar I-Pace interior

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Moving onto the low-end tones, the woofer drivers found within each of the four doors provide a controlled mid-bass response but lack a hearty slam. The same could be said about the vehicle’s sub-bass extension, which is a little lacklustre. Here, the boot-mounted subwoofer fails to bring out that much-needed rumble in Tyga’s track, titled ‘Ibiza’; instead, the lower echelons of the frequency range are cut short.

Finally, onto cabin noise, the Jaguar I-Pace does a good job in providing reduced cabin noise, but nonetheless does suffer from a bit of road noise from its tyres and wind that can be heard deflecting off the A-pillars. Using a sound meter we recorded, 36 dBA at a standstill; 58 dBA, while driving at 20-30mph; 64 dBA, while driving at 40mph; and 73 dBA when at 70mph. As for when the windows are brought down, the level increases by roughly 10 dBA.

Jaguar I-Pace audio review

Read next: BMW iX3 audio review: The Harman Kardon sound

TotallyEV’s verdict on the Jaguar I-Pace’s audio system

On the whole, the 17-speaker 750-Watt Meridian 3D Surround Sound System found within the Jaguar I-Pace fails to stand out over some of its competitors. While the upgraded system will undoubtedly provide a heightened audio experience over the 12-speaker Meridian audio system and the stock configuration found within the S-trim, we find audiophiles might be left a tad disappointed in its overall sound reproduction.

Here, music lovers will find the Harman Kardon systems found within the BMW iX3, Kia Soul EV, Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Pro and Polestar 2 will all outperform the I-Pace in low-end reproduction, while the Tesla Model 3 will provide a bettered experience across the rest of the frequency range.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the audio system in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Sub-bass
7
Mid-bass
8
Mids
6
Highs
9
Soundstage
8
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Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.
jaguar-i-pace-audio-review-meridian-3d-surround-sound-systemThe Jaguar I-Pace is available in a few different audio configurations, wherein its highest HSE trim offers a 17-speaker 750-Watt Meridian 3D Surround Sound System. While the overall sound reproduction is adequate for regular listeners, audiophiles will likely be left disappointed given the asking price of both the vehicle and the upgraded audio system.

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