Ford’s Fake Engine Sounds - 23rd May, 2016

Remember when you were a kid and you put a strip cut from an old ice cream container on the frame of your bike so it flapped in the spokes making it sound like a motorbike? Well Ford reckon us kids may have been on to something and they’ve come up with their own versions.

Even if you own a new Ford Mustang Ecoboost with the four cylinder 2.3 turbo charged engine you may not be aware that the slightly less than awesome sounding power plant has been augmented with what Ford call “Active Noise Control”. As the original Pony car is most associated with the rumble of a V8, Ford felt the sound, if not the performance, of the four cylinder Mustang might be a bit of a turn off to potential buyers. They say they are merely amplifying the existing sound, running it through a digital processor, and then piping it through the car’s speakers. However, something in that ‘digital processing’ makes it sound like an extra four cylinders have been added.

Ford isn’t the only company doing this. BMW use their own version on their turbocharged i8 and their augmentation is actually a recording of a better sounding engine piped into the cabin. It sounds great but it’s not real. Check out the sounds of both cars in this video.

Ford has another sound augmentation trick up its sleeve that we may see in future models. Rather than just piping in a more sporty engine sound to make drivers’ feel better about their car, Ford have developed a clever system that tricks the driver into thinking the car is revving higher than it is. This encourages the driver to change gear earlier thus saving fuel and cutting emissions. It’s believed that most people change gear on a manual car based on sound rather than what the rev counter is showing. It’s a sort of psychological trick to help you save gas. Clever.

One warning to owners of Fords with “Active Noise Control”: The technology is built into the head unit of the car’s stereo so if you change the stereo you may notice your car sounds a whole lot less impressive.

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