• Sep 23, 2011
Here's an interesting tidbit we missed while scouring through BMW's massive press release on the 2012 M5. According to the text, BMW has employed a system it's calling "Active Sound Design" on the new M5, which takes in engine speed and load data from the ECU and plumbs it through the stereo to play a real-time recording of the M5's engine.

Here's BMW's official explanation:

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.

BMW claims the system provides an "extremely accurate impression of current engine load" and that the sound has been optimized to spread across the entire cabin. Not only that, but when Sport or Sport+ is engaged, the sound inside the M5 is enhanced and perfectly sequenced with induction, engine and exhaust noises. We're not sure if we're geeked or disturbed, but it's certainly trick.


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  • 98 Comments
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      The M5; now available with Autotune.
      Haub
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why couldnt they just re-use what VW and the Ford Mustang do? A simple plastic tube running off the intake duct feeding tuned resonance into the cabin via firewall. Sounds great with the 2.0T FSI and again with Ford's 5.0 V8.
      David
      • 3 Years Ago
      The car has a real engine, yes? Why can't I listen to that? Who wants to hear a synthesized engine noise from their sound system? I can't think of any scenario where I would want to turn this on.
      LBCaterson
      • 3 Years Ago
      rolling down the windows gets the same effect....
        ratpack
        • 3 Years Ago
        @LBCaterson
        ...or replacing stock mufflers with louder ones
          Agilis
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ratpack
          ...or turning down the radio so you could hear the engine humm in the first place
      Bob
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't get it. The car actually has a V8, why do they need to fake the V8 noises?
      Sik68
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is nothing sacred (mechanical) anymore?
      KaiserWilhelm
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is lunacy, who comes up with this garbage?
      drewpy
      • 3 Years Ago
      that is ridiculous...why would i want that? lets simulate the sound...wasting money for the sake of wasting money.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @drewpy
        [blocked]
      axiomatik
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lame. Make the engine actually sound good instead of faking it through the stereo. My car is turbo'd and I thoroughly enjoy the sound of it's exhaust burble.
      KAG
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's what happens when you go from a N/A motor to a Force induction motor, you lose the sound of madness. Think about how good a Lamborghini sounds, it is the V10 or V12 screaming.
        shawoo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KAG
        Kag I agree with you for the most part. However I must disagree that all forced induction motor dont sound good. I love the sound of my Bathurst VXR V8. It sounds like true madness in the car.
          Krishan Mistry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @shawoo
          In general, superchargers don't diminish engine noise, they are unrelated to the exhaust. They do add a nice distinctive whine sometimes, like your Bathurst. Turbos tend to quieten an engine slightly, because the exhaust gases and resonance are muffled by the turbine. In small engines, automakers can compensate by running a big exhaust and they sound great, however, in big engines they tend to quieten them.
      avconsumer2
      • 3 Years Ago
      L O L!! I have now heard it all and have lost an unspeakable amount of respect for BMW. I will tell all my car buddies as well, they are soon to roll on the floor.
      Evan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unless I can choose other engines this is pointless. It's Friday and I'm in the mood for a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major today.
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