Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Ford | posted July 18, 2014 09:26
Engine sound worked on with the help of musicians and the use of a sound stage
The Ford Mustang is iconic because of so many things; the power, the look, the performance and equally as important is the engine sound, which is music to any petrol-head’s ears and without it just makes the experience totally wanting.
With that in mind, the 2015 Ford Mustang has been sonically engineered to ensure that it doesn’t fall short of expectation.
“Our goal in developing this new generation was to create a sports car that is quintessentially Mustang, with contemporary, world-class levels of performance and refinement. We created an exceptionally solid platform to give us the flexibility we need to meet our diverse range of targets,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer.
A team was tasked to make sure that even with three new engine options for the 2015 Ford Mustang, each model will deliver an audio quality distinctly its own and yet undoubtedly a Mustang.
Ford sends a crew to a sound stage and musicians to a recording studio to setup a soundproofed room ‘free of unwanted noise’ to be able to develop the Mustang ‘soundtracks.’
“In addition to the usual suspects you expect to hear inside the car, like the engine and exhaust, the body structure can become an incremental source of unwanted noise. Body panels can act like speakers, amplifying vibration and sound inputs from the road, powertrain and wind. The Mustang engineering team – from studio, chassis, body, powertrain, dynamics, NVH and aerodynamics – collaborated to create an improved platform that attenuates many of the noises drivers don’t want to hear,” said Shawn Carney, powertrain noise, vibration and harshness engineer.
With three engines including a new turbocharged EcoBoost®
With a 3.7-liter V6, 5.0-liter V8 and a new turbocharged EcoBoost®, the ‘soundtrack’ team’s mission was to provide the distinct aural experiences for each while still being true to the Mustang heritage.
Complementing the Mustang sound is its new profile that lessens wind, mechanical and road noise transmitted into the cabin. The alternator housing’s cooling vents along with additional layers of door seals, an acoustic windshield and the subtle lines of the mirror sails also contribute to ‘lowering the noise floor of the new platform.’
The V8 engine of the 2015 Mustang GT get a revised exhaust system that lays a bass note from the first crank of the engine and that is matched by the redesigned induction sound tube note for note.
Borrowing a few tuning tips from its big brother, the 3.7L V6 gets a ‘more refined growl’ to go along with the 300HP it delivers.
Completing the lineup is the turbocharged with direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that puts out 310HP and 433 Nm of torque.
“Based on our long experience with V8 and V6 engines, we already had a good idea of what those Mustangs should sound like. The new Mustang EcoBoost needed to have its own voice and its own DNA, while still being linked to the other models. We knew the EcoBoost was going to be straightforward and refined but it also had to project its own essence while still being unmistakably connected to the brand,” said Carney.
Using a variety of vehicles to get a proper starting point, the team stripped it all down and picked out certain key characteristics to develop the ‘athletic and youthful’ personality of the EcoBoost while emitting a low-frequency sound to remind everyone that this is still a Mustang.
“Using computer simulation tools that take into account the basic hardware we have to work with in a given car – this defines the limits of where we can acoustically take a car – we created several sound concepts. We enlisted our core audience, and solicited feedback from multiple Mustang enthusiast groups to confirm our direction for the EcoBoost sound,” said Carney.
Completing the experience is ‘active noise control’ installed in each model of the 2015 Ford Mustang. Mics are mounted in the cabin to measure what the driver hears and provide real-time feedback control while the audio system continuously generates opposing sound waves to cancel out undesirable frequencies while simultaneously amplifying the notes and sounds the Mustang belts out.
“Our goal with all three powertrains was to provide the driver with an engaging experience including clear feedback about what the car is doing at all times, but without isolating the driver from the action. When tuning the sound quality of any Mustang, I often describe what I do as ‘letting you hear what you feel,’ and aiming for that which is unmistakably Mustang – regardless of what engine is in front of you,” said Carney.