Abarth 500e: useless and therefore useful engine noise generator?

Abarth 500e: useless and therefore useful engine noise generator?

The brand is preparing its vitaminized version of the Fiat 500 with an artificial sound generator. Description and judgment by ear.

Is it a fun pastime or a sign that the end of the world is near? The Abarth 500e offers as an option (1,500 euros) on its first electric car an interior and exterior sound system, simulating the sound of a warm engine.

Specificity of the mentioned device Sound System Generator : unlike the Ford Mustang Mach-E (for example), it is not just a question here of broadcasting the sound in the cabin through the speakers provided for the radio. The 500 aims to allow pedestrians, cyclists and other users of the road network to enjoy this music.

This system consists of a multi-channel amplifier, a microphone and a woofer (loudspeaker specialized in bass sounds, below 500 Hz). The latter is located under the trunk, where you would normally find the wheel spacer.

Abarth assures that the work was done in-house by its sound and quality specialists for almost 6,000 hours. In particular, the engineers worked in a semi-anechoic chamber (the floor is hard, the walls are made of absorbent foam) to improve the accuracy of the reading.

Among the sounds that were broken down and then digitally reconstructed were Monza Record’s escapes and rhombus current heat 695. Although Dodge is also owned by Stellantis, the sound project of Payment Daytona The electricity is different from that of Abarth.

“You have to understand this as the sound of a movie”, explains the brand’s marketing to the scorpion, “for many drivers, the feeling is missing when you turn off the sound”. It remained to hear the results with an empty ear. What we were able to do during the first international test of the Abarth 500e, May 17, in Balocco (Italy).

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At a distance, we could be wrong. When one of our colleagues started the device about twenty meters from our honey cages, we were all surprised by the sound output of the 500e and by the volume.

The latter even seems to us – to the ear – better than the warm 695, which however is not a hideous type. The noise level is close to that of a motorcycle at start-up, which should not improve relations with your neighbors. Stellantis claims to be within the limits of what can be compared in Europe today.

Fake smoke cracks do not follow a repeating pattern, so the effect is natural. On either side, the driver can create a sound, depending on the position of the foot on the accelerator, like a combustion engine rising in revs in a stationary position.

Up close, the results are less convincing. Actually, the sound is coming from the back of the car. But the purr doesn’t seem to vibrate the air as gracefully as regular smoke would. The ground is truly anechoic and sound travels in all directions indiscriminately.

Same thing when driving. On the Fiat group’s historic test circuit, we pushed the 500e and its audio system to the limit. And oddly enough, when driving at high speed, a small artificial noise appears in the cabin. Also missing from the appeal is the break in procedures associated with gear changes. Result: the sound is very linear, increasing the auditory sensation of acceleration.

Finally, we wonder. The activation (or waiting) of the sound system is lost in the unknown list of the main screen. A button on the dashboard would probably make it easier to use. This shows that this option will definitely be used only a few times in the life of the car, just to please friends.

After all, some people cry genius in front of a car with a whoopee pillow or light show