PUBLISHED: 04:02 EST, 3 March 2020 | UPDATED: 04:47 EST, 3 March 2020
“German car giant BMW has launched a new electric executive car that features a soundtrack by Academy Award winning movie composer Hans Zimmer.
The aim is to make the new battery-powered BMW i4 electric prototype – designed to take on Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3 – and the German manufacturer’s future cars sound cool.
That’s because while the prototype i4 has dramatic performance, the near silence of the electric drive can risk making the experience feel soulless.
Soundtrack over silence: This is the Concept i4 from BMW – an electric car that makes a sound when it moves that’s been scored by an Academy Award winning film composerPromo flaunts capability and design of new BMW Concept i4Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time2:01FullscreenNeed Text
To counter this BMW has sought put some aural heart and emotion into battery-powered motoring to help overcome the lack of sound drivers have grown used to from conventional petrol and diesel engines.
Rather than leave things to chance, BMW has hired the services of the top blockbuster film composer who penned the music to movies including 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 forthcoming 007 movie No Time to Die and the new Tom Cruise film, Top Gun: Maverick.
Mr Zimmer worked with BMW sound engineer Renzo Vitale to create sounds that resonate with drivers.
He launched the new electric-drive soundtrack for the i4 at its world premiere today.
The ‘ready-to-drive’ and ‘start-stop’ sound for all-electric BMW models and BMW plug-in hybrids will be introduced as a standard feature worldwide from July 2020.
With its large exaggerated and almost cartoonish grille, the new i4 is set to go into production early next year as BMW’s first all-electric model in the premium mid-size class, where it will go head to head with the Tesla Model 3.
With its large exaggerated and almost cartoonish grille, the new i4 is set to go into production early in 2021
The electric motor drivetrain developing 530 horse-power promises acceleration from rest to 62mph in just 4 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph
The soundtrack made by the i4 Concept will be used across the entire electric and hybrid range of BMWs from July
The electric motor drivetrain developing 530 horsepower promises acceleration from rest to 62mph in just 4 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph with a range of 373 miles.
BMW said: ‘The virtually silent delivery of power creates an entirely new sensation of dynamism.
‘The silence of electric drive systems is often cited as a major benefit of electric mobility. As the choice of electrified models increases, however, it also means some drivers are missing out on the emotional appeal of sound.’
Mr Zimmer, who has a sound studio in Santa Monica, California, said: ‘We have an extraordinary opportunity to turn electric driving in a BMW into a very special experience with the help of great sounds.
BMW claims the Concept i4 has a range of 373 miles. It will need it to rival the 348 miles of the rangiest Model 3 on sale today
Tesla’s design has moved to a blanked front end where a car’s grille would traditionally be, as there is no need for an air intake on an electric car – the opposite to BMW’s exaggerated styling
BMW has hired the services of Hans Zimmer who penned the music to movies including Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave, and Dunkirk.
‘I am relishing the challenge of co-designing the composition for future electric BMWs.’
He said: ‘We hope the sound we created is classic yet surprising and has a feeling of lightness that is fitting for a BMW.’
The sound ‘repertoire’ of the BMW i4 covers the variety of driving ‘modes’ available to motorists , from the standard sound in cruising mode to ‘the more intense tones of ‘Sport’, he said.
New legislation at requires electric cars to have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their impending approach
The styling is very much in-keeping with the wider BMW range, somewhat replicating the shape of its popular saloon models like the 3 Series
The cabin is, as you’d expect from a concept, extremely futuristic. How much of this is kept for next year’s production model is unknown
The ‘sport’ sound is a soft but rising crescendo that feels like (to my ears at least) the opening bars of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ The cruising mode is similar, but softer and more ethereal.
Acoustic accompaniments to a door opening – like an electronic ‘plink’ – and when starting the car are also part of the car’s ‘soundscape’,
New legislation at requires electric cars to have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their impending approach. And that will provide another opportunity for composing a sound-scape.
Mr Zimmer has said in the past: ‘Electric cars don’t need to sound like a space-ship or a lawn-mower.
‘And silence is not the best way. On the outside you will kill people walking in the way. We have to help that a little bit.’
He explained: ‘In film music I see sound as a way of opening emotional doors to have an experience. I don’t want cars to feel more alive. I want humans to feel more alive.’
In different driving modes, the interior accents change. Cruising mode has the cabin shining blue but if you select sport it all turn 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 imbue BMW’s electric models with extra emotional depth by connecting the driver with the vehicle’s character on another level through individual tones and sounds.’
Jens Thiemer, BMW’s senior vice president for customers and brand: ‘Sound has always played an important role in the emotionalisation of our vehicles.
‘Now we are taking the joy of sheer driving pleasure to a new level and are particularly pleased to be working with Hans Zimmer to create the new sound world of electric mobility at BMW.'”