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How important is a great sounding car?

monterdmonterd Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in General

Since electric and hydrogen cars are competing for our futures, I'd like to know if the fact that a hydrogen internal combustion engine would still be something like the loud cars we have today is something that makes the hydrogen car more attractive as opposed to an electric car that makes no noise at all.

thanks for your opinions.

How important is a great sounding car? 9 votes

I prefer an exhaust note
55% 5 votes
I don't really care
22% 2 votes
The quieter the better
22% 2 votes


  • MarkHolthoffMarkHolthoff Santa Monica, CAPosts: 101

    Good question! How a car sounds -- both engine and exhaust notes -- is definitely one of the most important considerations for me. That said, there are times (e.g. long road trip) when a quiet cabin is also highly desirable.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,561

    That is one of the drawbacks to the move to smaller, turbocharged engines.. wimpy exhaust notes. I was in a BMW dealership last month, and they had one of their service loaners outfitted with all sorts of factory aftermarket upgrades.. I can tell you that the performance exhaust, fitted to the 4-cylinder turbo.. just makes it sound like a fart-can Civic.. I can't imagine dropping $3K for that "upgrade"/


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2014

    I think I speak for many people when I say that a 12-cylinder V-twin engine sounds AWESOME (Especially the turbocharged ones).... but alas, we do not often get the opportunity to drive (or even hear) that wonderful sound on todays roads. Then, there was the era of V8s which still sounded OK (Especially with TRUE dual exhaust and headers)

    The "straight eight" also had a unique sound but took up too much space under the hood.

    Then, in the 1970s the catalytic-converter and UNleaded gasoline were forced upon us. The Catalytic-converter FOREVER muffled the true sound of the engine after that. Most people uder 30 years old may never have even heard a TRUE engine-sound on the road. (Unless they attend Mopar-day at the dragstrip to hear the Hemi's when they do wheelstands)

    In the 90s, many of the V8s were being replaced with V6s (if you wanted sound)

    Todays youth associate "sound" with a Inline 4 cylinder that has a inefficient muffler. When a turbocharger is added, the exhaust-note is muted (Because the turbocharger's job is to convert the exhaust-energy into rotating speed at the compressor)

    GM and VW have been using inline 5 cylinder engines for several years... The sound of these is a personal taste if one finds it desirable.

    I cannot fail to mention the totally unique sound of the Subaru boxer engine. (It is exactly like the old VW beatles) These engines are nearly bulletproof and can be turbocharged to make unbelievable power. To me, this is one 4-cylinder that sounds much better than inline-4.

    The final embarrassment is when the manufacturers now add ELECTRONIC GENERATED engine-sounds to electric vehicles. I would assume one could download any "sound" you want (Including that turbocharged V12 spoke of earlier)

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683

    My '97 Outback has been "bulletproof" but I always wonder when the head gaskets will go. Not a cheap repair either. Can't say I've every noticed anything special about how it sounds but mine's certainly not "tuned".

    I like the idea of fake engine sounds - I'd want to tune my car to a frequency that would mask my tinnitus.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2014

    @Stever@Edmunds said:
    I like the idea of fake engine sounds - I'd want to tune my car to a frequency that would mask my tinnitus.

    Are you aware that - along the same lines of this specific forum - Some automakers use "Anti Noise" to make the interior of their vehicles quiet? Essentially, strategically mounted microphones 'listen' to the sounds inside the vehicle and use the stereo speakers to produce equal-but-opposite sounds. This effectively eliminates the 'noise' inside the vehicle.

    You may be aware of this kind of technology via Bose noise-cancelling headphones. If you are not, the next time you are in a Best-Buy, all you have to to is put the headphones on (No music needed!) and suddenly you are immersed in nearly total quietatude. (except for the tinnitus)

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2014

    @Stever@Edmunds said:
    My '97 Outback has been "bulletproof" but I always wonder when the head gaskets will go. Not a cheap repair either. Can't say I've every noticed anything special about how it sounds but mine's certainly not "tuned".

    Yes, Subaru has been very effective at utilizing unequal-length header-pipes to make the engine-sound easier to mute with the muffler. This is harder to do with an inline 4 due to space limitations.

    As an example, VW uses intake on the front and exhaust on the firewall-side.... Honda uses intake on the rear and exhaust on the front..... these two design-decisions have their own advantages / drawbacks for exhaust-pipe routing.

    With subaru... ALL the exhaust pipes exit UNDERNEATH the engine.

    BTW: Are you aware that Subaru recently replaced that 12 year old engine design with the "FB" engine. This new design has some slick enhancements including "No antifreeze flowing thru head-gasket" and "Oil Filter ON THE TOP OF THE ENGINE!!!". Obviously the oil-filter position makes topside oil-changes a breeze. The elimination of antifreeze flowing thru the head/block interface totally ELIMINATES the possibility of the headgasket failure in the older design.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683

    @bpeebles, there was a recent thread around here about Hondas and which models had the mics and which had the "acoustic" glass and other noise reduction features. You really have to dig for that info on some models. My ear ringing is mild but I always have the radio or something on and real "quiet" would bug me (my wife is very tolerant fortunately!).

    I've been following the Subie engine changes but I won't be convinced until they've been out a few more years. Hopefully I'll get to warmer climes soon and be able to pass mine on to someone stuck here in snow country. But if not, Dave (my mechanic), is cheaper than most and knows how to fix the gaskets.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,950
    edited March 2014

    Depends on the use of the car. I couldn't care less for a commuter box - but it is nice to have some feedback on a car with any performance tuning.

    Speaking of bad exhaust notes - the old GM 2.8 and 3.1 always made me cringe, sounds like a deranged hyper popcorn popper or something. I don't care for the exaggerated warble of some Subarus either, sounds like a souped up lawnmower or something, to me.

    I liked the mod I did on my old E55, removing the resonator and adding an x-pipe. At start up, the car would rumble, then settle into a quiet burble. It was generally subtle in town unless you laid into it. Highway driving had a slight drone. You always knew a finely tuned gem of an engine was under the hood.

    Now I have some diesel clatter, purr, and thrum, which is nice. It might not appeal to all who would choose a car of such size and expense, but I like to have the feedback.

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