Ferrari has just filed for a new sort of engine sound amplification system to make their cars sound even better inside the cabin.
Luxury cars are a sort of weird dichotomy; luxury car owners generally want their car to be calm and quiet right up until they stamp their foot on the gas. Then they want to hear the roar of the engine like it’s the only thing in the world.
There are multiple ways to achieve these dual states of silence and noise. The easiest way is to simply have great sound insulation and a pre-recorded engine noise that gets pumped in through the car’s sound system whenever the gas is pressed. This accomplishes the goal of being both quiet and noisy, but luxury car owners also want “authenticity”, and this setup just screams “fake”.
The other thing you can do is a little more complicated but provides for an authentic sound. You can set up some sort of acoustic tubing between the engine and the cockpit that’s separated by an activatable membrane. The membrane is locked when the car is just cruising along but becomes activated during acceleration and high speeds, allowing the authentic engine noise to enter into the cockpit.
Ferrari has just patented a new type of the latter method that would provide an even more “authentic” sound than ever before. But it’s ludicrously complicated and might cause their cars to lose fuel economy.
We have Jalopnik to thank for both digging up this patent and then explaining just how it works. It’s a similar engine transfer method to what Ford employs, that is, a tube that connects to the engine intake manifold and then transmits those vibrations to a membrane that then goes to the car’s cabin.
The only difference is, Ferrari’s new system would have a tube running to each intake runner rather than just one tube. So if Ferrari has a V8, there would be 8 tubes, a V6 would have 6 tubes, and so on and so forth. This means that the vibration transmitted would be for each cylinder and provide a more authentic sound.
But, as Jalopnik points out, there are some downsides. First, it would greatly complicate the engine with a bunch of random tubes leading from the intake manifold to the cockpit. Second, it would possibly damage the motor if one of those tubes were to spring a leak and send uncontrolled air into the cylinder.
As this is just a patent there’s no way to tell if we’ll ever see it employed, but it’s a good example of what lengths luxury supercar makers will go to in order to create the best sound experience possible for their customers.