The Rise of Fake Engine Noise

You recall how Toyota added a recorded sound of an engine to its Prius models because people thought it was creepy and dangerous for a car to move silently when it was in electric mode. But apparently they weren’t the only ones. If you step on the accelerator of a fairly recent Ford F-150 pickup, or a Mustang, the satisfyingly powerful American ‘vroom” you hear is deliberately amplified or digitally enhanced.

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.

While we can understand adding noise honestly as a safety feature, it seems foolish to do it as a sales gimmick -and even worse to act like “the mating call of the Mustang” is produced by a V8 engine instead of a digital recording. Read how Ford, BMW, Porshe, Volkswagen, and other companies enhance engine sounds, at The Washington Post. -via Boing Boing

(Image credit: Ford)

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