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 facilitiesThe 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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The Supra finally gets a manual transmission for 2023.

Toyota

After an almost nonstop chorus of enthusiasts and journalists asking for a manual transmission in the new Supra, Toyota has gone and done it. The car will get an available six-speed manual transmission that will be available on both variants of the GR Supra 3.0, plus a limited-edition model on the U.S. market next year.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTToyota had to modify the car's interior for the new gearbox. Toyota

The A91-MT Edition Supra will be limited to 500 units, and gets two exterior colors with an exclusive Cognac leather interior. All 2023 Supras come with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 382 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says the six-speed manual has been specially tuned to work with the car's engine, and notes that it modified an existing transmission housing to come up with the design. The gearbox's final drive ratio is shortened to improve response and take-off.

Toyota had to modify the car's interior to accommodate a gearshift lever, so the iDrive controller and other buttons had to be relocated. The automaker says that it focused on the feeling of shifting, from the weight of the knob to the ergonomics and location of the component.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTThe limited-edition A91-MT trim gets an exclusive cognac leather interior.Toyota

A Supra with a manual gearbox is reason to celebrate, but availability is limited to the top Supra 3.0. The "base" Supra 2.0 won't get the transmission. Toyota says pricing and other information will be available later this year.

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New performance sedan

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 on the way with F1 tech

The new C 43 gets engine tech straight from Formula 1.

Mercedes-AMG

It's about time we started considering Mercedes-AMG's 43-level cars in some of the same conversations that include the 53- and 63-level monsters. Today, Mercedes-AMG announced the 2023 C 43 Sedan. But even though it's the "entry-level" C-Class performance car, AMG gave it some serious upgrades, including standard rear-wheel steering, a mild-hybrid system, and plenty of power.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanRear-wheel steering is standard, as is adaptive suspension. Mercedes-AMG

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque - up from last year's 385 ponies. It's paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-biased all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the powertrain is strong enough to propel the C43 to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

The four-cylinder is the first production engine with an electric exhaust-gas turbocharger. The tech came directly from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, who won the 2021 Constructor's Championship. Where traditional turbochargers have to build boost over a short period of time, an electric motor spins the turbo to start before allowing the exhaust gases to take over. The system is driven by the car's 48-volt mild-hybrid system and should reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanThe car's electric turbocharger is a first in a production car. Mercedes-AMG

Five driving modes are available, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Individual. The drive modes alter throttle and steering response, transmission shift points, exhaust sound, and settings for the adaptive dampers. Shockingly, the car comes standard with rear-wheel steering with an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. The system works at speeds of up to 37 mph, and can drastically reduce the C 43's turning radius while improving turn-in and handling.

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