Pushrods and overhead valves or dual overhead cams; naturally aspirated, turbocharged or supercharged; it simply doesn't matter – there's nothing quite like the sound of a powerful V8 engine. Or is there?

The engineers from BMW have been known to make some beautifully melodic powerplants over the years, but the Bavarian automaker has more recently taken a decidedly different approach to tingling the eardrums of Ultimate Driving Enthusiasts: pumping engine sounds through the internal stereo system of its latest M5 sedan.

This technique, not surprisingly, has proven controversial. We can't grant you the opportunity to drive one yourself so that you can hear it with your own ears, but, thanks to the boys and girls from Bimmerpost, we can offer the next best thing. Listen to one member's 2012 M5 with BMW's Active Sound system turned on, followed by a run of the same car with the system disabled via a pulled fuse in the video below.

Spot the difference? Let us know what you think about BMW's artificial engine notes in the Comments, but not before taking part in our completely unscientific poll below.

Is the BMW M5's Active Sound a good idea?
Yes, it sounds great! 2839 (18.2%)
No, it's not natural. 8880 (57.1%)
I'm not sure. 3846 (24.7%)



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 189 Comments
      Trent
      • 2 Years Ago
      Would you like you wife or girlfriend to make fake noises in the bedroom?
      Drew
      • 2 Years Ago
      The chip that reproduces Scarlett Johansson's moan is going for $50,000 on eBay.
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drew
        What moan? When does this occur, or under what circumstances? Please detail for us.
          Drew
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BG
          From my direct, personal experience? In bed.
      Dvanos
      • 2 Years Ago
      This feature has no place in any premium car especially an M car.
      Phil T
      • 2 Years Ago
      BMW's version of fake boobs - sure to some it may be more aesthetically pleasing but ultimately its just an additional expense without improving functionality...
        Egon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Phil T
        Bravo, sir. Well done.
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Phil T
        Unless you're suckling on mama's milk, boob functionality is totally overrated. Nipple and aureole stimulation are her issues, and surgical augmentation may be able to maintain some nerve capability in which case functionality is merely maintained. Sheldon
      th0mb0ne
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fake sounds are for fake people.
      Camaroman101
      • 2 Years Ago
      i honestly couldnt tell the difference, but seeing how easily it can be disabled who cares. if anything they should have a butterfly valve in the muffler like the vette. dont know why they would be embarrassed by the sound of a v8
        omgcool
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Camaroman101
        For some reason parts of Europe actually prefer the high-revving whinebox sound. I've never been impressed by a sound as such. On the other hand, I heard an M3 the other day and it sounded pretty mean. If I didn't see the car, I might have guessed it was an American V8.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      one more thing that will break down and BMW will happily charge you $1500 to fix it.
      Ilovecars
      • 2 Years Ago
      BMW solved the problem that no one asked them to fix and managed to look bad while doing it. Kudos.
      Need Mulally 4 Ford
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kind of disappointed that BMW would do such a thing
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      i guess my speakers on this machine suck, because I can't really hear much difference. Just a tad bit of burble at the top of the revs.
      FreeThinker
      • 2 Years Ago
      Filed under "lame."
      haakern
      • 2 Years Ago
      Being a BMW driver for many years, I regard this as a rather bad decision on the M-divisions part. Faking engine sounds is just plain wrong. If I wanted a bigger roar from my M-car, I'd slightly modify the exhaust system, not fiddle with electronics. But I guess it's what we get with all the "go green" hysteria in the car world these days....
        axiomatik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @haakern
        It has nothing to do with 'going green'. The new M5 has turbos. The turbos muffle the sound considerably versus the previous, naturally-aspirated engine.
        Sol
        • 2 Years Ago
        @haakern
        I have to wonder what the car sounds like with out all the sound proofing materials and if it's any closer to the active sound system
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