If only there was a way to turn it off...
Despite featuring a thumping biturbo 4.4-litre V8 under its hood, the new BMW M550i xDrive still uses a sound enhancer in a bid to improve the driver’s aural experience. The discovery was made by a member of the Bimmer Post forums after checking a VIN number of an early build revealing the car had an Active Sound Design Module. While that’s not exactly surprising taking into account even the outgoing M5 (F10) pumps out artificial sound through the speakers, purists surely won’t like the fact that instead of enjoying the natural symphony of the V8 they will also have to hear the enhanced sound.
Lots of other BMWs have it, including the i8 plug-in hybrid as well as the M3 & M4 in which BMW through the voice of its M head of project management Carston Pries says the “engine note in the cabin is largely pure” since “the electronic noise is minimized and only makes up 2% to 3% of the sound you hear.” In the case of the M3 and M4, there are two actuators on each of the dual exhaust tips that bypass the rear silencer whenever the car is revved above 4,000 rpms and also when it’s in Sport or Sport Plus mode.
In other words, the enhanced sound isn’t fake per se, but at the same time it’s also not 100% pure. The Active Sound Design module is more evolved in the M3 and M4 compared to the M5 because it does a better job at adapting based on the accelerator position and engine load. It’s actually so clever that many people have a hard time at detecting the sound is not entirely natural.
While some people won’t like this feature, others won’t care as long as the sound they are going to hear will be music to their ears. The Active Sound Design module looks like it’s here to say, so we won’t be surprised if the all-new M5 due in the latter part of 2017 will have it as well.
Source: Bimmer Post