It isn’t a car’s paint job, sleek body style, or flashy rims that let us know it’s a muscle car. It’s the powerful roar of its engine. The thundering voice of a muscle car is unmistakable. It symbolizes tremendous horsepower and acceleration, unbeatable speed, but also leaves a tremendous carbon footprint. With fewer cars on the road with these characteristics, fuel-efficient, electric, and hybrid vehicles seem to indicate that silence will be the sound of the future.
Audi’s concept super-car, the R8 e-tron, changes that. The R8 e-tron provides the best of both hybrid efficiency and a muscle car’s roar. The Audi e-tron with e-sound will pass for a gas-thirsty V8. As it passes you, just keep your eyes closed and listen.
That’s because a team of musical composers/engine experts led by Audi’s Rudolf Halbmeir decided to make it happen. Sitting down with a computer, a keyboard, and an accelerator pedal, the team recreated the sound of each different position of the accelerator, giving what was a near-silent vehicle a rip-roaring sound you may feel in your chest.
The Importance of Sound
Why, we might ask, does a car need to make so much noise, and isn’t a car that’s quiet a good thing? According to Audi, the simple answer is no, and the main reason is safety. E-sound allows runners with headphones, hearing-impaired pedestrians, and bicyclists to hear the sounds they’re used to, coming from moving vehicles. Audi values the safety of sound as an alert mechanism and believes that all vehicles should make noise. Most of us have experienced the relief when a fast-moving vehicle barely missed us and said to ourselves, it’s a good thing I heard it, or that car would’ve hit me.
This could be just another characteristic of the “cars of the future.” Most car companies that manufacture high-efficiency vehicles target consumers that place a high value on caring for the environment. These buyers care less about a car’s overall design and attractiveness (or the way it sounds) than they do about doing their fair share for cleaner air. However, the Audi R8 gives muscle car fans the ability to leave less of a carbon footprint and cruise around in a flashy, thundering vehicle at the same time. Sounds like a win-win situation, to me.
What the Audi R8 shows in their concept car is a willingness to move away from the yuppie-looking silent electric cars and offer muscle car enthusiasts a viable option. The R8 e-tron looks, feels, and sounds like a real sports car, and has enough horsepower to win a role in a James Bond movie. From its sleek Audi rims to its roar of a voice, the R8 is sure to capture the eyes, ears, and hearts of any muscle car fan.
The company says the R8 e-tron is the only car that features e-sound at the moment. Over the next few years Audi plans to produce several, each with their own unique sound