As capable and exciting as they are, a major downside of electric vehicles is that they don’t make any noises. However, car companies have certainly realised this, and are coming up with a few tricks to make the whole experience of driving an electric vehicle more enjoyable like what the folks at BMW are doing here.
In an effort to give their upcoming electrified vehicles a distinct sound portfolio, BMW is collaborating with renowned music composer Hans Zimmer and come up with what they’re calling BMW IconicSounds Electric.
Hans Zimmer had previously been involved in the development of the sound for electrically powered BMWs which is audible when the Start/Stop button is pressed.
Moving forward, the latest chapter in this collaboration covers drive sounds for the BMW iX and BMW i4, including a differentiated sound for the M-specification version of the BMW i4.
In the basic setting, BMW IconicSounds Electric employs a strikingly transparent timbre with spherical components to convey the basic character of an electrically driven BMW brand model.
In Sport mode, the car’s aural spectrum is more dominant and powerful, with the sound providing a constant commentary on the driving situation.
Only when the vehicle is travelling in Eco Pro mode is the acoustic feedback reduced to nothing. Here, the silence of the drive system underscores the driver’s decision to adopt an ultra-efficient driving style.
In the version developed specifically for electrified BMW M models, the drive sound of the BMW i4 is charged with extra energy. Added to which, the differentiation between Comfort and Sport mode is especially strong.
Overall, the drive system note displays a less harmonious but engagingly rousing and technical sonic profile. Acceleration sparks a rich intensification of the soundtrack’s development, authentically reflecting the car’s performance character.
Vision M Next
Hans Zimmer and Renzo Vitale had already co-developed the driving sound for the BMW Vision M NEXT revealed in 2019 and the BMW Concept i4 presented the following year.
Numerous learnings from this creative process have now been channelled into the design of the sound for future series-produced vehicles.
Arriving in 2022
The new drive sounds developed as part of the collaboration with Hans Zimmer are expected to feature in the BMW i4 and BMW iX over the course of 2022.
IconicSounds Electric comes as standard in the BMW iX and can be specified as an option for the BMW i4. In cars with earlier build dates, the new sounds can be imported retrospectively via Remote Software Upgrade, should the customer wish.
The new spectrum includes one ready-to-drive sound and one stop sound, plus a driving sound which will be made available in the relevant version for BMW models and BMW M cars with electrified drive system.