We all need a little noise…VROOM VROOM

The muted turbo whisper or the high pitch, high rev scream of a twin cam?  What flies your kite, or doesn’t the sound of an engine recreate some distant memory?  If I’ve lost you already please stick with me, all will become clear.  Modern cars due to the eurocrats and the tree hugging brigade are effectively silent, both inside and out, which for most of people, most of the time isn’t such a bad thing, but for those of us who like to hear a living, breathing engine it’s the loss of one of life’s simple pleasures.  You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever specially driven through a tunnel, wound down the window and dropped a couple of gears, just to hear the noise.

A classic example of this must be the glorious off beat thrum of a straight 5 motor.  Most people of a certain age will now be thinking Audi Quattro, Hannu Mikkola, the 1980’s, Gene Hunt, but have you heard a modern 5 cylinder engine?  The Focus ST, 2.5 litres of Volvo’s finest under the bonnet.  5 cylinders, turbo, lets go!  Unless you knew it was a 5 pot up front you’d never know, what a let down.  At best you get a muted throb, at worst just a non-descript engine noise

None of the current 4 cylinders make anything like an interesting noise, including the latest Subaru’s.  The original Impreza’s sounded different and everyone made the link to Colin McRae and the rallying world.  Today it more they resemble a washing machine on a mixed cycle, not a good thing, so much for progress.

But what about big “V” engines?  Aston Martin have cracked the problem with trick valves in the exhaust system which are set up to pass the drive-by noise tests but then open up to full volume outside the test limits.  Nice one, but I can’t see this being available on the average production car, so this will remain a rich mans toy.

So have we now seeing the final passing of engine noise?  Does this mean we all need to fit Max Poweresque exhausts and pop-off valves and drive the neighbours crazy?  Or do we let the green brigade rule the roost and have their own way all of the time? There is an alternative; we get the manufacturers to put an engine noise on the options list.  Mini did this with the original fat Mini.  In typical BMW fashion for a sizeable amount of your hard earned cash you could get your car fitted with a noise pack.  Free flowing air filter and exhaust etc. all covered by the warranty, no dodgy parts, perfect, but they dropped it.  Why? I suspect the majority of Mini’s customers either never got that far down the option list or didn’t understand why it was there in the first place.  So it can be done, never mind the rules you can make a car sound interesting.  Please form an orderly queue…………..

Gary Phillips