Vroom, Vroom? Some Cars Hitting Bay Area Streets Have Fake Engine Sounds Piped In

LIVERMORE (KPIX 5) – Some new cars hitting Bay Area roadways have something most drivers aren’t aware of. Car manufacturers from BMW to Ford have started faking it, faking the sound of power. The new engines are a lot more efficient and quieter, but drivers are none the wiser.

That sound, you know the one, the one that comes roaring out of the tailpipe of a 500 horsepower muscle car. It’s a sound that eventually went the way of psychedelic posters and beetle boots, or did it?

Inside a new Mustang, Ford technician Chris Costa told KPIX 5, “It’s enhanced through an audio system, through the audio, and there’s two speakers. One is right up in here, in the headliner, and one is in the back right here. So the two of them together in the coupe model, there’s three in a convertible.”

Fifty years after introducing the world to its pony car, engineers at the Ford Motor Company have figured out a way to artificially mimic the sound of a big block in the new Mustang 4-cylinder.

“It basically picks out the noise frequencies that it wants and it enhances the engine noise to kind of give you more of that feel of a rumble,” Costa said.

John Verhoek of MyHotCars in Livermore ships real muscle cars around the world. “It kind of takes away from the whole feeling of it and everything like that…personally I wouldn’t do it. If the car sounds the way it is, it is the way it is,” he said.

Like a lot of car enthusiasts, while he kind of digs the technology, Verhoek said there are just some things in life you can’t fake.

“When they’re buying one of these cars, they want to hear the sound, they really do. It’s all about that exhaust note,” Verhoek said.

It’s not just Ford. BMW, Volkswagen and Porsche have experimented with other types of designs.

More from Ken Bastida
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