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BMW IconicSounds Electric to bring Emotion to EV

Since electric vehicles have been on the market, car manufacturers have placed a high priority on driving pleasure. For a more enjoyable driving experience in an electric car, some manufacturers use noise-generating electric motors, while others create novel sounds. Audi’s next step is the BMW IconicSounds Electric. BMW has developed the IconicSounds Electric together with Grammy Award winner Hans Zimmer to make driving an electric car even more emotional. By linking it to My Modes, the BMW IconicSounds Electric can switch from a rich sound to an exciting sound depending on the mode selected. The system will be available for both the BMW i4 and iX from 2022, first for the i4 and then for the iX.

In “Comfort My Mode”, the BMW IconicSounds Electric offers a softer, more pleasant sound. Sport Mode amplifies the sound of the electric motors for even more excitement. This option does not use IconicSounds to emphasise how quiet the electric motors are in operation. The driver can completely deactivate the IconicSounds independently of My Mode. Each of the new My Modes for the BMW i4 and iX features the IconicSounds. The former uses violins and other high-pitched instruments to create an ethereal ambience. Apart from the curved screen, the ambient lighting emits neon light that adds to the volume level. This transforms the interior of the two BMW electric vehicles. Relax mode, on the other hand, uses quieter, more subdued and harmonious sounds and lighting.

These sounds are not only accompanied by music but also react to the driver’s inputs. You can hear the car’s reaction when you step on the accelerator. The sound of acceleration changes when the inclination of the pedal changes. This effect is engine-like in that the more throttle you apply, the louder the sound becomes. This effect should be more noticeable in BMW M cars like the i4 M50 and iX M60.

According to Hans Zimmer, the pedal is an expressive feature when the driver engages with it. Driving through a series of constantly changing sound textures has been transformed into a feeling of acceleration. This may offend purists, but I find it amusing. Driving electric vehicles can be made even more entertaining with fun, futuristic sounds. Besides, most cars already have speakers that play synthetic engine sounds. At least with the BMW IconicSounds, it’s clear what they are.

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