Fake engine roars are now a feature that come standard on many new cars, reminding drivers that there’s a load of horsepower under the hood even if they can’t hear it.
The fake engine roar feature is a byproduct of more efficient cars that block out the natural sound of the engine’s start-up, Popular Mechanics reported. The cars have turbocharges that muffle the noise, insulated cabins, and even government noise regulations, so some car makers have taken to pumping in artificial engine noises to enhance the driving experience.
The fake engine roar feature is more prevalent among sports cars, Popular Mechanics noted, and they’re replacing more passive systems from the past like the Chevrolet Corvette’s exhaust system that opened a valve for the natural noise to filter through. The Porsche Cayman and Ford Mustang each had “noise pipes” that allowed the engine’s roar to flow naturally into the cabin, but, for more and more new cars, these natural techniques don’t cut it anymore.
The Volkswagen GTI is a great example. This car used to have a noise pipe, but the automakers replaced it with Soundaktor, which uses a small, circular speaker on the firewall to create a fake engine roar. Volkswagen tried to keep the feature a secret, but, once car enthusiasts found out about the fake engine roar, they lit up message boards.
“The Soundaktor is only there to lie to me,” one angry owner owner wrote on vwvortex.com when he found out about the system. “It’s false advertising, plain and simple.”
As more developments are made into electric and hybrid cars, the fake engine roar feature could become an important counterpoint. In a time when Prius’s pride themselves on near-silent driving, some automakers just want their remind their drivers to how much horsepower they have in the engine.
(Photo credit: BMW)