Part of the reason anyone buys a performance car is for the sound of the engine. Legend has it that Ferrari begins designing a new model with the exhaust note. They even (allegedly) employ musicians to find that perfect sound. Then they work backwards.
I love the sound of a great engine. I once waited on the street next to a Bugatti Veyron hoping that the owner would come out of the tony hotel and fire up that W-16. In Singapore, I sat on a sidewalk waiting to hear what a Zonda sounded like in person.
But even I--an uber petrol head--have my limits.
The boffins at BMW--the same lot that introduce the once-impenetrable iDrive--have loaded the new V-8 M5 F10 with all kinds of gadgets, including something they call Active Sound Design. Bascially, the sound of the V-8 is replicated through the car's audio system. I quote:
Active Sound Design delivers precise feedback.
M5 drivers will be given an even more direct reminder of their car’s performance capability by technology that brings the distinctive sound of the high-performance V8 – in all its glory – into the cabin of the new BMW M5. The Active Sound Design technology specially developed for the new BMW M5 takes its cues from the driving situation at any one time to deliver an accurate reproduction of the engine’s sound through the car’s audio system.
The system’s digital signal processing exchanges data directly with the engine management, allowing it to reflect the engine’s revs and torque, and the car’s speed over the road. The result over a smoothly driven journey is a discreet soundtrack in keeping with the harmonious and assured characteristics of the V8 powerplant. A stamp on the accelerator, meanwhile, prompts an immediate audible response to match the instantaneous – and typically M – burst of power from beneath the bonnet.
In generating its signals, Active Sound Design takes its cues from the firing sequence of the eight-cylinder engine and the frequency range of the exhaust system. This gives the driver an extremely accurate impression of current engine load and an even more intense sensation of the V8’s high-performance characteristics.
At the same time the Active Sound Design control unit ensures an even spread of sound across all five seats of the new BMW M5, while observing the legal guidelines governing noise emissions inside and outside the car. The characteristics of the sound produced by the technology also adjust to the engine settings selected by the driver. For example, switching to “Sport” or “Sport+” mode sharpens not only the engine’s responsiveness but also the acoustic experience inside the car.
In other words, no more rolling down the window to hear that glorious engine. Silly. Just silly.