Vroom! Your Car Or Truck's Engine Noise Might Be Fake

Love the growl of your new vehicle? You might be listening to a more carefully manicured sound than you might think.

Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry’s dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks. Without them, today’s more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away.

Softer-sounding engines are actually a positive symbol of just how far engines and gas economy have progressed. But automakers say they resort to artifice because they understand a key car-buyer paradox: Drivers want all the force and fuel savings of a newer, better engine — but the classic sound of an old gas-guzzler.

For the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost, Ford sound engineers and developers worked on an “Active Noise Control” system that amplifies the engine’s purr through the car speakers..

In his 1985 novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Robert Heinlein introduces the idea of an automotive sound tape for otherwise silent cars.

Starting about 2150 or a little bit earlier... supreme swank for an Iowa farmer was to own and drive a working replica of a twentieth century "automobile" personal transport vehicle. Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil: Even the People's Republic of South Africa had laws against placing poisons in the air. But with its Shipstone concealed and a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "IC" engine, the difference between a working replica and a real "automobile" was not readily apparent.

Via Washington Post.

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