As ever with such posts this one has wandered off on to something else. It's a stick with two wrong ends.
You are of course right in your statement re F1 cars. Even cars ordinaire can quite happily drive themselves if so equipped. In the OP however I was referring to buying a Joe Soap car as a Joe Soap consumer, nothing more. "Does Sir want a Fiesta? Corsa? Punto? Car X, Y, Z?", "Umm.. dunno, pass me some keys!" Perhaps some people CAN decide such a thing on manufacturers info and dealers blurb, but not me.
Indeed data can be produced on all audio equipment but not on how it is heard by any individual. My point was regarding the data to brain result, not the data to ear result. I don't know of any way to measure that "full audio chain" in a way that can be used to decide what specific item to buy, it would just be a horrendously complicated amalgamation of different sets of figures. When my HF drops off a bit more, I'll probably prefer a brighter sound. Again, that is just my limited experience. It could well be that some people can look at sets of equipment data/ room data/ hearing data (I'm not aware that we can even measure what the brain receives) and know how they all act as a whole, just not by me. They act as part of a decision making chain for me, not the final arbiter.