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BMW's Active Sound: Cool Trick or Useless Gimmick?

Not all of us are quite privileged enough to be able to lump down enough money to import a 2012 BMW M5 into the U.S., nor are we all patient enough to await the 2013 release of the new M5. This means we are stuck with videos from people like the fine folks over at Bimmerpost.

One of the new features on the 2012 M5 , which will likely be a part of the M5 when it hits U.S. showrooms for the 2013 model year, is the Active Sound system. This is a system that is integrated with the stereo system and pipes engine notes through the stereo’s speakers.

So, here is our dilemma… Is this new feature a cool trick or simply a useless gimmick that BMW is slapping on this ride to make it seem cooler? The folks at Bimmerpost saved the day again by providing us automotive nerds with audio of the 2012 M5 with the AS system active, then with it deactivated, which involves yanking a fuse that also disables the entire stereo system and the rear parking assistant.

After listening to the two audio clips, which you can do in the above video, we can certainly tell the difference between the actual engine sound and the digitized engine sound. While BMW did go to great lengths to help match the digi-engine with the real engine, it is really a disappointment. To some people it might be a cool feature, but real auto buffs want to hear the engine itself.

BMW could help us all out by putting an “On/Off” switch on this feature, without having to disable the entire audio system by pulling the fuse. This rings even more true with folks that add in aftermarket components to this already high-performance sedan. They want to hear the modified turbo whistle, blow-off valve, and exhaust note, not some synthesized version of the stock engine.

We call this a useless gimmick for now. Let us know how you feel in the comments section below!


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