I’m not a big fan of add-ons that don’t enhance the driving experience; in fact, I once yanked a six disc CD changer from my ’93 Miata to save weight. The stock stereo wasn’t loud enough to mask the wind noise at speed, so what good was a CD changer? I suppose I could have added a better stereo, or at least put in an amp, but that would have added more weight.
With that in mind, I’ve got to say that I’m not sold on the latest bit of techno-wizardry being developed by BMW Group. Called “Active Sound Design”, the system uses microphones, sound processing and the vehicle’s stereo system to create the sound of a V8 engine, regardless of what’s under the hood. Your car may be as slow as a riding lawn mower, but you’ll be able to enjoy the rumble of a throaty V8 from the driver’s seat. Toupee, gold chains and Viagra not included, I presume.
The system is still in the prototype stage, and is being developed for diesel variants of the Mini Clubman and the BMW 635d Coupe. I’m not sure what frightens me more, the fact that BMW Group is spending time and effort to create this, or that they have a “Manager for Airborne Sound, Acoustics and Vibration” as well as an “Acoustic Psychologist” on staff.
I give this a ‘fail’, because like stick-on hood scoops or fake brake vents, it won’t make the car go any faster or handle any better. If a fake soundtrack makes your driving experience more pleasant, why not buy a copy of “Open Pipe Symphony”? At least that lets you choose between the best sounding motors ever built.