New Electric BMW Gets ‘Soundtrack’ By Hans Zimmer

Composer Hans Zimmer’s latest soundtrack isn’t for a movie – but for your experience driving a car.

BMW has announced a collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer to create the sound of their electrified BMW M cars.

Electric cars are essentially silent, compared to traditional cars, so automakers are turning to composers and sound designers to create both the sound of the car and operating alert sounds. We recently featured an interview with Richard Devine on his work creating the sounds of the Jaguar I-Pace.

Zimmer and Renzo Vitale, Creative Director Sound at the BMW Group worked to create a distinctive driving sound for electric M cars. Driving sounds for electric cars serve a dual purpose: to alert pedestrians, especially the blind, to a car’s approach; and to convey things like power and speed to the driver.

“Every BMW has its own character, which is reflected in the sound it makes,” says Zimmer. “So for the electrically driven BMW M models, we have developed a driving sound which accentuates their emotional driving experience particularly vividly and ensures their performance can be felt with even greater intensity.”

“When you press the pedal of an M car, you suddenly get goosebumps all over your body,” says Vitale. “We translated this feeling into a drive sound that expresses a fusion of superior power and flowing energy.”

Another unique aspect of sound design for electric cars is that manufacturers can allow drivers some control over their car’s sound. With the upcoming BMW i4 M50, the driving sound is dynamic, based on both the driving situation at hand and the driver’s personal preferences. When in Comfort mode, the sound creates a pleasant atmosphere inside the car. In SPORT, the sound delivered is more powerful and dominant. In ECO PRO mode, the acoustic feedback reduced to nothing.