The German car giant BMW has launched a new electric executive car with a soundtrack from Hans Award, winner of the film-winning film.
The goal is to make the new, battery-powered BMW i4 electric prototype – designed to take the Tesla Model 3 from Elon Musk – and the future cars of the German manufacturer sound cool.
That is because, although the i4 prototype delivers dramatic performance, the almost silence of the electric drive can cause the experience of feeling soulless.
Soundtrack above silence: this is the Concept i4 from BMW – an electric car that makes a noise when it moves that is scored by an Academy Award-winning film composer
To counteract this, BMW has put some auditory heart and emotion into battery-powered driving to help overcome the lack of sound drivers accustomed to conventional gasoline and diesel engines.
Instead of leaving things to chance, BMW has hired the services of the best blockbuster film composer who has written the music for films such as Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave and Dunkirk.
He also won an Academy Award for his original score for The Lion King, and has worked on the upcoming 007 film No Time to Die and the new Tom Cruise film, Top Gun: Maverick.
Zimmer collaborated with BMW sound engineer Renzo Vitale to create sounds that resonate with drivers.
He launched the new electrically powered soundtrack for the i4 during his world premiere today.
The ‘ready-to-drive’ and ‘start-stop’ sound for fully electric BMW models and BMW plug-in hybrids will be introduced worldwide from July 2020 as standard.
With its large exaggerated and almost cartoon-like grille, the new i4 will go into production early next year as BMW’s first fully electric model in the premium medium class, where it will compete with the Tesla Model 3.
With its large exaggerated and almost cartoon-like grille, the new i4 will go into production early 2021
The electric motor drive that develops 530 horsepower promises acceleration from rest to 62 mph in just 4 seconds to a top speed of 124 mph
The soundtrack of the i4 Concept will be used in the entire electric and hybrid range of BMWs from July
The 530 hp electric motor drive promises acceleration from rest to 62 mph in just 4 seconds to a top speed of 124 mph with a range of 373 miles.
BMW said: “The almost silent delivery of power creates a whole new sense of dynamism.
“The silence of electric drive systems is often mentioned as a major advantage of electric mobility. As the choice of electrified models increases, this also means that some drivers miss out on the emotional appeal of sound. “
Zimmer, who has a sound studio in Santa Monica, California, said: “We have an extraordinary opportunity to make electric driving in a BMW using great sounds into a very special experience.
BMW claims that the Concept i4 has a range of 373 miles. It will need to compete with the 348 miles of the most stylish Model 3 on sale today
The Tesla design has been relocated to an empty front where traditionally the grid of a car would be, since no air intake is needed on an electric car – the opposite of BMW’s exaggerated styling
BMW has hired the services of Hans Zimmer who has written the music for films such as Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave and Dunkirk.
“I enjoy the challenge of designing the composition for future electric BMWs.”
He said: “We hope the sound we made is classic yet surprising and has a sense of lightness that fits a BMW.”
The “repertoire” sound of the BMW i4 includes the different driving modes available to motorists, from the standard sound in cruise mode to “the more intense tones of” Sport, “he said.
New legislation requires that electric cars have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their approaching approach
The style is very much in line with the wider BMW range, and somewhat replicates the shape of its popular sedan models such as the 3 series
The cabin is, as you would expect from a concept, extremely futuristic. How much of this is saved for next year’s production model is unknown
The ‘sport’ sound is a soft but rising crescendo that feels (at least in my ears) the opening bars of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. The cruise mode is similar, but softer and more ethereal.
Acoustic accompaniments at a doorway – such as an electronic ‘plink’ – and when starting the car are also part of the ‘soundscape’ of the car,
New legislation requires that electric cars have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their approaching approach. And that offers another possibility to compose a sound-scape.
Zimmer has said in the past: “Electric cars don’t have to sound like a spaceship or a lawn mower.
“And silence is not the best way. On the outside you kill people who get in the way. We have to help that a bit. “
He explained: ‘In film music I see sound as a way to open emotional doors for an experience. I don’t want cars to feel livelier. I want people to feel more alive. “
The interior accents change in different driving modes. In cruise mode, the cabin is blue, but when you select sport, everything turns red
BMW said: “The character of the i4 is not only a product of its design, but also of its visionary sound profile.
‘Hans Zimmer composed the sound of the i4 together with BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale.
“It will give the BMW electric models extra emotional depth by connecting the driver at a different level with the character of the vehicle through individual tones and sounds.”
Jens Thiemer, senior vice president of BMW for customers and brand: “Sound has always played an important role in the emotionality of our vehicles.
“Now we are taking the pleasure of pure driving pleasure to a new level and we are particularly pleased to be working with Hans Zimmer to create the new healthy world of electric mobility at BMW.”
The Tesla Model 3 will be the biggest rival for the i4. The American family car has proved hugely popular in the US and throughout Europe
The Concept i4 easily accommodates four people at a time and must have a relatively large luggage space
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