BMW And Hans Zimmer Want Future Cars To Have Their Own Unique Sound

Electric Vehicles / Comments

With soothing soundscapes in EVs and something more aggressive in M cars.

BMW is embracing the future of the automobile in more ways than one: not only is the Bavarian automaker investing heavily in electric vehicles, but it is also trying to make them cool by developing interesting new tech such as color-changing body panels, and soundscapes for a more engaging driving experience. We have extensively covered award-winning composer Hans Zimmer's collaboration with BMW, which aims to create vivid soundscapes that, in theory, should compensate for the lack of driver engagement usually experienced in electric vehicles. Now BMW has announced new soundscapes it calls "IconicSounds". The sounds will premier in the BMW i4 and BMW iX, while M models will receive special soundscapes befitting of their aggressive nature.

BMW
BMW

The new soundscapes have been created to "reflect the specific performance characteristics of the drive system on board and the signature attributes of an electrified BMW." According to Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, this will add plenty of character to the BMW EV range.

"Sound is a fundamental part of the emotional driving experience in a BMW," he said. "With the unparalleled experience and creativity of Hans Zimmer to count on, we are creating a unique acoustic character to our electric vehicles."

These sounds will vary from car to car, and driving mode to driving mode. Personal, Sport and Efficient will for the first time be joined by the Expressive and Relax M Modes that have their own characteristic sounds.

BMW
BMW
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BMW has been working on artificial sounds for its cars since 2009, and the BMW i8, first launched in 2014, featured artificially-generated sound inside the cabin when running in all-electric mode. The latest soundscapes promise to deliver an even more intuitive and driver-focused experience. "We create sounds which celebrate the beauty and complexity of our vehicles and which move people," says Renzo Vitale, Creative Director Sound der BMW Group.

Hans Zimmer's involvement has been a big headline for the project, and as it turns out, the multi-award-winning partner has been a BMW fan for ages.

"I've always been a BMW enthusiast," says Zimmer. "As a child, I would recognize the sound of my mother's BMW when she came home. I am delighted to have the opportunity to design the sound of future electric BMW models and create emotions for the electric driving experience of tomorrow."

BMW
BMW

Manufacturers have a legal obligation to equip silent EV vehicles with sound-emitting devices in order to alert pedestrians and cyclists. BMW's audible pedestrian protection system emits a noise that alerts outsiders without annoying the occupants, but the IconicSounds system is purely focused on driver and occupant enjoyment.

For instance, the BMW i4, in its default comfort mode, plays sounds that use a "spherical sound pattern" joined by a "transparent timbre." In M Modes, various tones, including female voices and the sound of a guitar string have been used.

The IconicSounds feature will be available in the BMW i4 in the first half of 2022, and in the iX from the second half of 2022, after which they will be available on other suitably equipped vehicles. Sadly, BMW has not confirmed if a hardcore mode featuring Slayer's death metal classic "Raining Blood" will feature.

BMW
BMW

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