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.

Google recently enhanced its Android Auto interface.

Photo courtesy of Google

Better late than never. BMW has announced that they will add wireless Android Auto to their vehicles starting in July 2020. The German automaker already offers Apple CarPlay, and in 2017 because the first company to make wireless CarPlay available.

In 2018, BMW became the first automaker to charge specifically for Apple CarPlay, requiring customers to cough up $80 per year for the tech. Last week BMW let it slip to Roadshow that they would no longer charge the fee for 2019 and 2020 model year cars.

Android Auto 2019 Android Auto is able to perform many of the functions of a traditional smartphone while hooked up to your car, including give directions.Photo courtesy of Google

Android Auto will be available in the new vehicles sans special equipment fee.

Like with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto links a smartphone's functionality to a vehicle's infotainment system. When it becomes available, Android Auto will be able to fully integrate into BMW's digital cockpit meaning that the information appears in the car's head up display and instrument cluster instead of exclusively in the infotainment screen at the center of the dashboard.

"We are excited to work with BMW to bring wireless Android Auto to their customers worldwide next year," said Patrick Brady, Vice President of Engineering, Google. "The seamless connection from Android smartphones to BMW vehicles allows customers to hit the road faster while maintaining access to all of their favorite apps and services in a safer experience."

If you're wondering whether or not your phone is compatible with Android Auto, click here to see a handy guide from Google.

The public's first peek at Andorra Auto will be at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Android Auto will be available for all BMW customers in 20 countries with BMW Operating System 7.0 in mid 2020.

The Bronco R raced the 2019 edition of the Baja 1000 but didn't take the checkered flag.

Photo by Sue Mead

Speculation about the new Ford Bronco is a favorite topic on forums and in your friendly hometown bar. The return of the SUV has been hotly anticipated for the better part of a decade now. Still, firm details are hard to nail down.

The 2019 SCORE Baja 1000 gave the general public the first glimpse of what will evolve to become the new Bronco. Despite the company's DNF, the Bronco R revealed a key nugget of detail about the forthcoming production SUV.

Ford has confirmed that the Bronco R ran the Baja race with the 2021 Ford Bronco's production powertrain.

Exactly what that engine and transmission are is currently under embargo, but AutomotiveMap was along for the ride during the race and captured several examples of in-vehicle and outside-the-vehicle recordings of the engine revving at idle, accelerating, and decelerating.

We've isolated the engine noise in recordings below so you can hear the sound for yourself and make a judgement about what you think the engine in the new Bronco is. We've also included a few pictures of the Bronco R's under-hood set up a little further down.

The Bronco R idling then taking off at the ceremonial start line in Ensenada, Baja California:

2021 Ford Bronco: Production Powertrain Isolated Sound // Baja 1000 Bronco R at Ceremonial Start youtu.be

Sound from the cockpit of the Bronco R driving along the road and then off road on the way from Ojos Negros, Baja California to Ensenada:

2021 Ford Bronco: Production Powertrain Isolated Sound // Baja 1000 Bronco R Driving On-Road youtu.be

2021 Ford Bronco: Production Powertrain Isolated Sound // Baja 1000 Bronco R Cockpit Off-Roading youtu.be

The Bronco R rejoins the race with rapid acceleration:

2021 Ford Bronco: Production Powertrain Isolated Sound // Baja 1000 Bronco R Rejoins Race youtu.be

On the scene in Baja California, AutomotiveMap was able to get a few photos of what was under the hood of the Bronco R as it sat in Ensenada.

2019 SCORE Baja 1000: Bronco R Powertrain

Photo by Sue Mead

The Bronco R sits at the ceremonial start line in Ensenada, Baja California at the start of the Baja 1000.