BMW Replaces Engine Noise With Movie Soundscape

Sun 28th Mar 2021

The prospect of losing the rev rev rev sound from your engine may be too hard to bear for those contemplating a switch from the combustion engine to a supposedly silent engine. But German motor manufacturer BMW believe that they have come up with a solution - replace the noise with an all new symphony.

BMW have drafted in Hans Zimmer, a movie composer more famous for creating Oscar-winning soundtracks for films such as The Lion King, to create a so-called interactive soundscape which will create music based on how you drive and the external conditions - with the symphony played through 24 speakers within the vehicle. 

The new symphonies will be launched in the forthcoming iX SAV and the i4 Gran Coupe, both of which are launched this autumn. Early demos of the interactive soundscape have included an audio interpretation of air passing over the body of the car - a sound which changes as the car speeds up. Hans Zimmer has been working with BMW since 2019 to create a library of engine-replacement sounds for its range of electric vehicles.

“It's like when you're sailing and you hear the wind in the sails,” said BMW head of design, Domago Dukec. 

“It doesn't recreate the sound of the engine. It's really a completely new symphony.

“It's more like you can almost compose the music with the way you drive. It's like you create your own music.”

While designing a soundtrack to replace the grunt and grind of piston-pumping engine may be one level, in true designer style, Dukec believes that the project is much more about creating an experience for drivers.

“We are not designing cars any more in the future," he said. "For us, it's very important that we are designing the experience of joy.

“The exterior should express a shell protecting this very precious interior space of the iX, which we believe is a very new approach in the car industry.

"It shouldn't look like a machine, it shouldn't look like a cockpit of an aeroplane, it should look more like a boutique hotel."

And like most boutique hotels, you can guarantee that this ‘interactive symphony’ will not come cheap.