Hack BMW’s Active Sound Design system to sound like an M4 or Rolls-Royce Ghost

The growing trend of pumping phony engine notes through a car’s stereo system is a much maligned feature that automakers have been using to satisfy the driver’s desire for that raw, audible experience without compromising the comfort sound baffling and insulation brings to the cabin. The intent is at leas noble, as far as recognizing enthusiasts want that sound, its just the execution that falls a little flat. Still, one driver made the best of his BMW’s Active Sound Design, thinking if his car is going to deliver a fake engine noise, why not upgrade it to an M4?

In the video, the driver demonstrates how his BMW m135i can sound just like the Bavarian automaker’s M4 sports car, at least on the inside. According to posters on a German forum, if the car is equipped with a Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen system, anyone with a savvy knowledge of coding can swap out the sound files in the BMW’s ECU.

2015 BMW M4 engine open
The 2015 BMW M4 ‘s engine

Ok, so it’s not exactly easy, but relatively speaking, anyone who knows what they’re doing can have the sound of a Rolls-Royce V12 coursing through the interior of a 1 Series if they wanted.

If anything, it demonstrates the silliness of the Active Sound Design gimmick. Enthusiasts enjoy that guttural, mechanical sound of an engine for several reasons, not the least of which is that satisfying recognition that all these components are at work, creating very real and distinct sounds as they churn, and resonate and so on.

The fact that it’s a digital sound file also rubs people the wrong way. Ford’s Focus ST got a lot of stick for a “fake” engine noise, but that was in reality real engine noise piped into the cabin via a corrugated tube with a diaphragm in it, and I think many naysayers to the current trend would be far happier to at least have that.

If automakers insist on continuing with this trend, then they should go all the way and have fun with it, instead of trying to pass it off as “engine sound enhancement.” Instead of being disingenuous, they should do what Renault does in the Clio, which has a menu of fake engine sounds ranging from a motorcycle to a sci-fi concept car that sounds like the Jetsons family vehicle.

If anyone wants to give it a go, this thread at 2Addicts will point you in the right direction.

Mobile

OnePlus 6T vs. Honor View 20: We compare the cameras in these ‘flagship killers’

For less than $600, you can buy either the OnePlus 6T or the Honor View 20, two extremely capable smartphones with plenty of exciting features. But which one has the best camera? We found out on a recent trip to France.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Smart Home

Ford’s ingenious bed for couples keeps mattress hogs in their own half

Drawing on its driverless-car technology, Ford has created a smart bed for couples that uses sensors and a conveyor belt to prevent either occupant from straying onto the other half of the mattress while they doze.
Product Review

Bigger battery and folding top add appeal, but BMW’s i8 remains ultra-niche

Want a high-performance vehicle that's more than just a frightening driving experience? Desire the look and feel of a sports car with the road manners of a luxury commuter? The BMW i8 is for you.
Cars

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Outdoors

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.
Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.
Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Cars

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.