Sorry Mercedes fans, but the German automaker’s cars are about to get a whole lot quieter.
Europe is tightening regulations on just how loud a car can be. For most cars that won’t be a problem, but for certain performance vehicles such as Mercedes’ performance AMG division, it means that those loud and crackly exhausts won’t be nearly so cacophonous.
The news comes from the recent release of the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S and CLA 45 S and how both cars were noticeably quieter than previous models. When AMG compact cars head Bastian Bogenschutz was asked about that by Australian car site Motoring, he said it all had to do with the bigwigs in the European parliament.
"It’s coming from the European regulations," he said. "We can [design specific exhausts] but it’s too expensive for every market to do it, it’s pretty difficult."
New European rules regulate the maximum decibel level a car's exhaust can create and will get tighter every year. For this year, it means that the distinctive crackle, pop, and even the occasional bang from an exhaust disappears, leaving it with the typical sound of a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
What's worse, the rules measure from the loudest possible exhaust note a car can make. This means cars are tested based on their performance mode, meaning that you can't just get around the regulations by giving a "quiet" mode to a car's active exhaust system.
“The regulations were getting pretty difficult for the sound to just come from the exhaust system,” Bogenschutz continued. “So we added the AMG pure performance sound, there we take the real sound from the exhaust system, the pulsation of the real sound and move it inside the car. It works together with the exhaust system.”
The system works by directing bass tones from the exhaust directly into the cabin. It’s not the same sound as before, but it at least provides the same thumping feeling.
However, the rules will affect all Mercedes exports going forward, so if you want a loud Merc you'll need to shell out for an aftermarket exhaust.