In-Car Tech

Academy Award, Grammy winner Hans Zimmer tapped to compose and curate BMW IconicSounds

Hans Zimmer composed many of the sounds he's already developed as part of the partnership with BMW Group in his Santa Monica studio.

Photo courtesy of BMW Group

BMW Group has announced a partnership with Academy Award and Grammy winning composer Hans Zimmer. As part of the agreement, Zimmer will further the work of BMW IconicSounds Electric. These sounds are the keystone noises that will be part of the next-generation electrified BMW Group lineup starting with 2020 models.

We have the unique opportunity to turn electric driving in a BMW into a magnificent experience with outstanding sonority," said Zimmer. "I am really looking forward to the challenge of shaping the sound for future electric BMW's. Developing the sounds for the BMW Vision M NEXT together with Renzo Vitale was already an inspiring, new experience for me."

BMW Vision M NEXT test facilities The BMW Vision M NEXT in the anechoic chamber at the BMW test facilities in Aschheim near Munich.Photo courtesy of BMW Group

This announcement is part of a longer partnership with BMW that was first started with the development of e-sound for the BMW Vision M NEXT. The e-sound was developed in Zimmer's Santa Monica studio, which is where he has composed numerous award-winning works.

"Sound Design gives us the opportunity to evoke positive emotions in our vehicles," said Renzo Vitale, BMW Sound Designer. "This new start-sound triggers joyful anticipation of the electric drive, when the customer enters his vehicle and presses the Start/Stop button."

According to BMW, the silence of driving electrically is often cited as a major advantage of electric mobility. Under the BMW IconicSounds Electric brand identity, the BMW Group will offer a remedy for that void. "Over the years, the sound of our vehicles has enthused and accompanied millions of people," said Stefan Ponikva, Vice President BMW Brand Experience. "We are very excited about the exceptional chance of creating the sounds for BMW's electric mobility together with Hans Zimmer. Thereby we can charge future emotions of our customers worldwide anew and redefine sheer driving pleasure."

Zimmer's expertise is expected to be applied to a number of BMW concept and production vehicles.

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A long roof with a V8. What could be better?

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Spend enough time reading car reviews, and you'll probably notice a trend among writers. We all love wagons, despite the fact that almost nobody in the United States buys them anymore. If there's a wagon that could appeal to almost anyone, however, it's this m2003 BMW 540i M Sport with a very special engine swap. It's up for auction right now and could be yours – or mine.

It doesn't get much better for a car nerd than this. The 2003 540i Sport Wagon has had its engine swapped for an S62 4.9-liter V8 and a six-speed manual transmission. For those of you not obsessed with E39 generation 5-Series cars, that's the engine from the M5 of the time. Here, it sounds every bit as raw and powerful as it does in the car it originally came from, and the six-speed manual gearbox makes this an enthusiast's dream.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon The car has been upgraded with all the right M5 components.Bring a Trailer


Inside, the black leather appears to be in great shape, considering the car's advanced age and mileage, though this wagon is lacking the in-dash navigation system that the M5 carried at the time. It's probably for the best, given that an 18-year-old computer would feel absolutely ancient compared to even the cheapest infotainment system today.

This auction is a little more than halfway through and the current bit is just over $20,000. There's quite a bit of time left for that to climb substantially, but at even twice the price it'd hard to feel cheated if you won.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon There's no navigation here, but 20 years haven't been kind to the M5's system, anyway.Bring a Trailer

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European sports sedan

Grab this 2000 BMW M5 before someone else does

Classic good looks and a rowdy V8 are the story here.

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We could spend all day bemoaning the rise of car auction sites and their impact on prices, but that won't do any good. The damage has been done. Of course, there are exceptions to the sky-high pricing we typically see on auction sites, and some cars are worth the money. This 2000 BMW M5 is one of them, and its current auction bid of just $15,250 makes us think it could go for a decent price.

The E39 M5 is one of the most legendary and sought-aftersports sedans of all time. Its 4.9-liter V8 produced 394 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque when it was new, which isn't all that crazy by today's standards, but an almost 400-horsepower family car was a big deal at the time. That magical engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive – an enthusiast's dream recipe.


2000 BMW M5 This car is in great shape for its age.Bring a Trailer


Inside, this car's tan leather upholstery looks great, and matches well with its black exterior. The seller has kept mods to a minimum, with just a set of aftermarket headlights on the list of changes. The car's original navigation system and head unit appear to be in place and the entire package is so well preserved it's amazing that the car hasn't drawn more interest so far.

Where this M5 will end up is anybody's guess. These cars are particularly difficult to find in any condition that could be called drivable, so this car's relatively low $15,000 current bid amount is surprising. Commentors on this auction are just as surprised as we are, and are asking where the love has gone for this M5. Of course, someone could swoop in at the last moment and start a bidding war, and with a full day left on the clock there's plenty of time for some action.


2000 BMW M5 The tan leather is nearly perfect.Bring a Trailer

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