Real Engine, Fake Engine Noise?

August 8th, 2012
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We have all done it. We’ve all heard a “vroom-vroom” from a far and began staring at the vehicle as it approaches until it zooms off into the distance while we’re left saying “wow” or “cool.” Fortunately for light sleepers and unfortunately for those who love the sound of engine music, due to government noise regulations and turbochargers that muffle the sound, the roar of the engine is becoming increasingly difficult to hear. The usual devices that contribute to the roar we hear in vehicles such as the Ford Mustang or Porsche Cayman are now being replaced with much less orthodox ways of getting that same noise.

In an effort to please their consumers, Volkswagen’s GTI, whose engine music stems from a noise pipe has been replaced by a Soundaktor in its 2011 version. The noise which previously came from a passive system is now the product of a speaker on top of the firewall. Needless to say, consumers who desire to hear the authentic engine notes of their vehicles are not happy about the artificial noise stemming from a hockey-puck-size speaker on the firewall.

The new BMW M5 has also joined the trend of replacing passive systems with active systems. Rather than mounting a speaker on the firewall, the BMW M5 plays engine noise through the car’s audio system. The BMW M5 can now get that same noise without an additional tube in the engine and with no holes in the firewall.

In a society full of auto tune it should be no surprise that voices and various noises are not always what they seem to be. Nevertheless, Volkswagen’s 2011 GTI and BMW M5 sure are doing their part to ensure the much desired engine music plays on.

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