Fake car noises - even the manufacturers do it!
The latest episode of Mighty Car Mods (check it HERE) sees the boys revisit a piece of controversial technology from their past: the fake turbocharger! While it may sound silly to add an electronic speaker to your car that tries to imitate the sound of pressurised air escaping a blow-off valve the truth is many car manufacturers do it with their latest and greatest models!
Ford are guilty of spicing up the engine audio in their giant F-series pick-up trucks, including the mega-popular F-150, and even the four-cylinder Ecoboost Mustang. I have to say, though, if you just bought the V8 Mustang you'd have one of the best exhaust notes from a car under $100,000 - especially if it is the high-revving 5.2-litre Voodoo V8!
Volkswagen call their fake engine noise in their GTi and Beetle models the "Soundaktor", while Porsche's "Sound Symposer" uses tubes - like Ford - to boost the sounds of the engine into the cabin and even Lexus had Yamaha technicians focus their LFA hypercar's V10-shriek back towards the driver to enhance the experience of piloting one of the most epic cars to ever come from Japan.
When it comes to fame engine noises, however, one company went above and beyond despite having a rich history of building some of the best-sounding performance cars the world has ever heard! BMW's awesome latest-generation M5 is a four-door supercar with a mega-power twin-turbo V8 but it also has "Active Sound Design" which digitally plays the engine noises through the car's speakers. It does this by linking the audio system to the car's ECU so the sound being digitally replicated is accurate to the engine's RPM and load at a given time.
But why are these manufacturers lying to us through audio? Well, as car companies build better and better cars they improve their power and performance of their engines, but also the sound-proofing and insulation. While a whisper-quiet car is nice to drive sometimes, enthusiasts (generally) like to hear the turbochargers choo-chooing, and the exhaust dorting its mad tune, which can be hard to hear in a modern car with all that flash new insulation.
Personally, I think it's pretty sad car manufacturers feel the need to do this. A few years ago BMW were giving us 8500rpm V10 engines that sounded like they were straight out of Formula One. New cars can sound great, if they're given a chance... or some of those awesome bi-modal mufflers you can open to release all the dorts, which is what we should have instead of faked piped-in sounds. More dorts for all!