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The new sound of performance: silence

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by artsci, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    I can't help notice that all of the TV commercials for high end cars these days feature roaring ICE engines. BMW, Mercedes, Lexus -- they all do it. With the Model S setting a different standard I wonder how soon this will become an aural symbol of something very different: waste, toxic exhaust, and a blast from the past.
     
  2. adurstewitz

    adurstewitz P3853, VIN3062

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    It's funny that you mention this topic. I had a big Mustang park next to me today and I found myself thinking; for all the loud screaming and screeching this thing would do in a race, I could still beat it...without making a sound.

    It's really changed my perspective. I'm starting to see all cars as pointlessly loud.
     
  3. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #3 ToddRLockwood, Jan 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
    Having owned several Ferraris over the past 20 years, it's hard to imagine driving a proper Ferrari without the sound of the engine. Ferrari strives to maximize the sensory experience for the driver through sound, smell, design and performance. Since their earliest V12s, Ferrari have sounded more "musical" than other performance cars. The magic lies with the "flat" crankshaft design which produces more vibration, but also more musical note—a tradeoff Ferrari is willing to accept because there are other advantages as well, such as unusually flat torque curves and very high redlines. But I think many Ferrari owners eventually come to realize that the sensory experience they are enjoying is not necessarily carrying over to people outside the car, with the exception of male twenty-somethings—they'd love to be in your shoes. On the other hand, if we were to ask women whether a Ferrari or Tesla would get their attention, my money's on the Tesla.
     
  4. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Correct.
     
  5. vcor

    vcor Member

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    Never understood people who like noisy cars. Maybe they are going deaf? The Tesla is very quiet, coming very close to the best out there. Then again there are companies like BMW that actually amplify the engine noise going into the cabin. Seems crazy to me!
     
  6. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Their tires also squeal on dirt roads when taking a corner. Not much reality there either. But even driving the Prius (Model S being built) loud irritates me.
     
  7. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Last year while in my Roadster a kid with a built Civic and avery loud exaust was making himself known at the red light next to me. When the light turned green I was gone, leaving him screeching and bellowing in the rear. I just went up the road 1/2 mile to Lowes for some parts and a guy in a BMW followed me in to ask what kind of car is that? He said it was impressive to watch me silently launch and never saw such performance. I must say it was fun.

    And you are right about the women, when at the drag strip the Tesla garnered MANY looks and comments and I know it was not me attacting that attention.
     
  8. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I always liked the roar of performance-car engines; and in fact I think my first post here included something about wishing there was a way to make the Roadster make noise.

    But it's just an association our brain learns between power and noise. After 3 weeks of driving the Roadster, my thinking changed completely. No way would I want a loud car now.

    Interestingly enough, I do recall a study from 2-3 years ago that did say that women responded better (in terms of expressed interest as well as hormone levels) to cars with performance-style sounds. But the study wasn't designed to tell whether that was just an association (which they may un-learn in the future) or if there was something intrinsic to the sound.

    I am sure that as more cars become electric society's views on this will change, but it will take a while - for now too few people have experienced the torque of an EV long enough to train the ICE associations away. Lack of noise and shifting are right up there with range on the list of "problems" with EVs on gearhead sites.
     
  9. Francis Lau

    Francis Lau P-1456

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    Personally, the silent performance of the MS lines up perfectly to my outlook on life - there is beauty in simplicity and great engineering. There is no need for gaudy embellishments, color or sounds. Some of favorites things are my MS, Explorer Rolex, simple razor sharp chef knife from my dad and great wife. All of which I have only 1 and is uncomplicated, smart and more importantly, not loud! :)
     
  10. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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    Yes.

    (OK, I was trying to reflect the minimal simplicity expressed in the post and had simply typed 'Yes.' Got an error message that a post needed to be a minimum of 5 characters! Moderators, please allow yesses!)
     
  11. GeekGirls

    GeekGirls Kid in Candy Store

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    The roar of an ICE has always seemed felt like an unfortunate engineering inefficiency to me, and I'm glad to be rid of it. In some cars it seems like the engine noise is there so you know it's trying hard when you stomp on the gas, because there are a lot of cars that struggle to accelerate but excel in making loud noises.
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    No one has ever beat me out of a stoplight in the Roadster. That includes one poor guy who had obviously spent a lot of time tweaking his car, and was revving his engine before the light turned. Naturally I floored it. It was so hilarious hearing him trying to keep up with me, removing a year's worth of tire life in the process.

    (I stopped accelerating at the speed limit, just for the record.)
     
  13. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    #13 brianman, Jan 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
    Tesla likely won't do it in the short run, but perhaps someone else will -- make a commercial about the silence.

    Remember the commercial with "silence around the kitchen table"? Ignore the political content for a moment, that's not my point.

    Unlike the "trying to get your attention by muting the volume" (so you have to read the screen which is annoying when you're in the kitchen mostly ignoring the commercials...), the "mostly quiet" scene with the sound on commercials can be pretty powerful.

    Now consider the "guy in a classic car" commercial where he stops to fix something while travelling, again ignore the specifics of the advertisement (I think it's for viagra or somesuch) but rather focus on the tone they were going for.


    The Tesla version goes something like this...

    Guy is talking to the camera about why he bought the car. Think about the Adam Carolla video where he's watching the road, but talking throughout -- casually. (Gets across the car is effortless, not demanding your attention to switch gears, etc.) He talks about how he's not really a greenie (anti-green audience), but it makes his wife (married audience) happy and... yah, it's probably a good idea to go EV anyway. (green audience)

    All the while during the drive, he's flooring it at every light but without really trying. (mid-life crisis audience) A couple glances at the speedometer as it accelerates from the lights. (acceleration junkies) And more glances at the pedals as he coasts to a stop. (relaxed 1 pedal driving) Driver stops to take a drink from his water bottle, and there's the distinct absence of anything but road noise. (the silence we're discussing)

    Next light arrives and he pulls up next to a couple of teenagers hot rodding a classic road terror [tuned up mustang, or somesuch] and an elegant spendy speeder [porsche perhaps]. They're revving heavily and take off at the light. Because he was finishing off his drink when the light changed, he starts late but ends up passing the noisy racers and the peaceful quiet returns. (real car, no EV perf penalty)

    He resumes discussing the specs of the vehicle, and makes a stop to pick up kids at school -- 3 in the rear seat -- while the conversation continues with the friend (camera) in the front seat. (family compatible)



    Anyway, you get the drift.
     
  14. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    You have to be careful advertising the quiet because it freaks out some special interest groups...
     
  15. jhs_7645

    jhs_7645 VIN: #3305

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    This^
     

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