One of the things car enthusiasts love about their vehicles is the sounds that they make. The exhaust note, turbo blowback, and supercharger whine are noises people will pay to hear when driving their cars. When the electric car first hit, a lot of people struggled with the lack of sound. There’s no combustion engine, and thus the EV is pretty much silent. The Audi E-Tron GT/RS has not only been made to make a loud driving sound, but its kind of spooky, too.
Audi created a signature note for both the driver and pedestrians. For safety, it’s important for people to hear a car coming, but Audi also wanted to give the driver the feeling of not only driving a car but maybe something more like a space ship. According to The Drive, an Audi spokesperson verified that the Audi E-Tron GT will have the same sound as the high-performance RS version when it comes out.
Although there is a sci-fi spaceship tone to the new Audi, there is a sort of eerie coldness about it that feels a little unsettling. To be clear, I think this is a great move by Audi to try to give their EV some sound (the Porsche Taycan has similarly been given its own soundtrack). I do worry that they got the sound wrong, though. It almost feels more ghostly than spacey. You be the judge.
How are they doing it?
For clarity, the car does not make this noise through its driving process. Audi concocted this otherworldly soundtrack from a mixture of 32 different sounds to make this, according to The Drive. Engineers at Audi made it so that when E-Tron GT accelerates the soundtrack bends the pitch and moves to match the action of the car.
The standard version of the car will have speakers inside the car and on the front of the E-Tron GT to play the ghostly whir to the driver and any others nearby. As an option, you can spring for another speaker to be added to the back of the car to have a complete stereo sound.
Is this the new trend for EVs?
It’s hard to say if this sound will work for drivers. There is an honesty to the sound of a combustion engine, that these computer sounds can’t compete with. The vibrations can be felt in your chest and across your clothes. This is why recordings of car sounds never quite hit the same. I don’t know if this sound hits the mark or not. I am excited they are trying it, but it feels cold and scientific, which it is.