Audio Technology

Metallica, Radiohead help Rolls-Royce take bespoke to new decibel levels

Rolls-Royce customizes the Phantom's audio system using components from premium sound equipment brands, but prefers not to name them.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce cars are the epitome of bespoke luxury automobiles. They can be completely custom crated or, for the more pedestrian buyer, they can simply be customized.

Before buyers place hands on the their new Rolls-Royce Phantom, the company has already tailored its audio system to create an encompassing audio experience for driver and passengers.

Unlike premium automakers who tout available systems from JBL, Bose, Harman Kardon, and B&O, Rolls-Royce prefers not to name its sound system suppliers, letting the system's engineering speak for itself.

It all starts with the car's frame. The Architecture of Luxury is made of aluminum, which was selected, in part, because it has a higher acoustic impedance than steel. This reduces the amount of noise that is passed on to the cabin. Engineers also gave the model a double-skinned bulkhead and floor sections to help keep road and tire noise permeation at bay.

Rolls-Royce Phantom body in white The Phantom is crafted at the company's Goodwood manufacturing facility in England. Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Designers took note of the car's bass speaker size and let it define a resonance chamber in the car's sill section resulting in the car's materials working to turn the entire Phantom into, basically, a subwoofer.

The windows of the Phantom feature 6mm of double-pane acoustically dampened glass. It also has 130 kg of sound insulation throughout the car with a special focus on the headliner, designed to minimize reverberation.

Engineers even went so far as to work with their tire partner to invent "Silent-Seal" tires, which feature a layer of foam inside the rubber that reduces tire noise by 9 decibels compared to a standard tire.

Rolls-Royce audio experts drove thousands of miles in the Phantom before releasing it for public consumption. To determine the parameters in which to tune the system. Here's what they listened to:

  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here [1975]
  • From Here to Eternity – Giorgio Moroder, From Here to Eternity [1977]
  • Across the Lines – Tracy Chapman, self-titled [1988]
  • Sad But True – Metallica, self-titled [1991]
  • Bembe / Abakwa – Terry Bozzio, Solo Drum Music II [1992]
  • Klangfarben Melodie – Terry Bozzio, Solo Drum Music II [1992]
  • Know Your Enemy – Rage Against the Machine, self-titled [1992]
  • Fistful of Steel – Rage Against the Machine, self-titled [1992]
  • Passion - Gat Décor (Naked Edit) [1992]
  • Where Did You Sleep Last Night? – Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York (Live) [1993]
  • Stimela (The Coal Train) – Hugh Masekela, Hope (Live) [1994]
  • Hotel California – The Eagles, Hell Freezes Over (Live) [1994]
  • Paranoid Android – Radiohead, OK Computer [1997]
  • Lyric Lickin – Del The Funky Homosapien, Future Development [1997]
  • Insomnia – Faithless, Insomnia [1995]
  • Raining in Baltimore – Counting Crows, Across a Wire: Live in New York City (Live) [1998]
  • Safe in New York City – AC/DC, Stiff Upper Lip [Deluxe Edition] [2000]
  • Scrappy – Wookie, Wookie (Deluxe Edition) [2000]
  • Marionette – Matthew Jonson [2004]
  • Intro – Nemesea, Pure: Live @ P3 (Remixed & Remastered) [2012]
  • Bass Solo – Nemesea, Pure: Live @ P3 (Remixed & Remastered) [2012]
  • Drum Solo – Nemesea, Pure: Live @ P3 (Remixed & Remastered) [2012]

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is handcrafted upon order in England and on sale now.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is here.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

After years of development, test mules, and spy shots, Ford has finally pulled the wraps off its long-awaited Mach E all-electric crossover. Set to go on sale in late 2020 and early 2021, the Mach-E made its debut in Los Angeles just days before the 2019 L.A. Auto Show. Here's a quick look at everything you need to know.

There will be five variants (and lots of numbers).

Select: Available in early 2021, this base model will start at $43,895 (all prices exclude $1,100 destination and any state or federal tax incentives). The Select will come with rear-wheel-drive and 230 miles of range, while the AWD will have 210 miles of range. Both versions will have 255 horsepower; RWD will have 306 pound-feet of torque and AWD will have 417 pound-feet of torque. It's worth noting that this is the only Mach E variant that will not allow for 150kW DC fast-charging so beware if fast-charging is your jam.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E The rear of the Mustang Mach-E has some of the design hallmarks of the Mustang coupe.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Premium: This second-tier version will be available in late 2020 and will start at $50,600. It will come in standard range or extended range as well as RWD or AWD. Standard range will have 230 miles of range in RWD guise; 210 miles in AWD. Extended range will have 300 miles of range in RWD, 270 miles in AWD. Standard-range models will have 255 horsepower, extended-range RWD will have 282 horsepower and extended-range AWD will have 332 horsepower.

California Route 1: This trim level is essentially the Premium Extended Range RWD plus some added options, so its number line up: 300 miles of range and 282 pound-feet of torque. It will start at $52,400 when it goes on sale in early 2021.

First Edition: This limited-edition model starts at $59,900 and will be available in late 2020 (order soon). It features similar specs as the Premium Extended Range AWD: 270 miles of range and 332 horsepower. It also adds a variety of interior and exterior trim upgrades and limited availability to the mix.

GT: It's the big daddy of the Mustang coupe lineup (excluding Shelby versions) so it's the big daddy here. For $60,500 buyers get AWD, 235 miles of range and a healthy 459 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque, good for 0-60 runs in the mid-three-second range. This version adds the requisite 20-inch forged wheels, Brembo brakes, an adaptive Magnaride suspension, and exterior trim upgrades.

Gobs of tech will be standard.

This includes a 15.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system (ala Tesla) that will run Ford's Next-Generation Sync operating system and will feature over-the-air updates (also ala Tesla). Drivers will have the option of using their smartphone as a key; the Mach E will detect phones paired via its bluetooth system and unlock and adjust settings to that driver's preference.

The Mach E Premium and GT models also come pre-hardwired with a driver-monitoring system, which Ford will activate at a later date to provide a hands-free driving system. The system uses an infrared camera mounted on top of the steering column to watch the driver's attentiveness.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E The interior is sparse in design but full of high-tech features.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Three drive modes are included.

Here's another Tesla-inspired feature: three drive modes that alter the nature of the Mach E's performance. 'Whisper,' 'Engage' and 'Unbridled' will each allow increasingly aggressive performance and handling features. Not unlike Tesla's well-documented Ludicrous mode. Fun fact: the 'Unbridled' mode in the Mach E was originally to be called 'Stampede' and one of the test-mules we rode in on a media briefing in LA last week still had this setting name. Within each drive mode, numerous elements of the Mach E will be configurable, including regen levels for one-foot driving, if drivers so choose.

Yes, there's a Frunk.

Would it be an EV without one? But Ford says theirs is better since it has a drain plug at the bottom; apparently owners of other EVs told Ford researchers that they often found themselves wanting this.

Room for everyone.

The Mach E seats five adults comfortably, with plenty of legroom and headroom for the six-footers out there (we know since we've sat inside). This, despite the sloping, coupe-like profile of the crossover. Most models also come with a fixed panoramic glass roof that does wonders for opening up the cabin.

This year the Chevrolet Tahoe celebrates its 25th anniversary. When it debuted, the 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe was positioned as a short-wheelbase truck with the functionality of four doors. It was a multi-purpose family vehicle, with the versatility to tow a trailer, go off-roading, or take the family on a road trip.

Today, the Tahoe is the best-selling full-size SUV in the U.S. That's thanks in no small part to its evolution as a larger people-hauler and as a government vehicle with tens of thousands of the model being sold each year for work as police pursuit and special service vehicles.

2012 Chevrolet Tahoe PPV Police agencies across the U.S. use the Tahoe as their PPV.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

You can take a look at different generations of the model by driving down most streets in America. But for history's sake, here's a closer look at what the 1995 model had versus what is found in the 2019 edition.

Features

1995 Tahoe

2019 Tahoe

Infotainment

  • AM/FM stereo with Seek-Scan
  • Cassette deck
  • Compact disc with theft lock
  • Speed compensated volume
  • High-definition color touchscreen
  • Bose premium 9-speaker audio system
  • Wi-Fi hotspot with 4G LTE data
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Wireless charging

Advanced
Technology

  • Speed control and tilt steering
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Insta-Trac system on 4X4 models
  • Independent front suspension
  • Solar-ray tinted glass
  • Rear wiper/washer with defogger
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Head-up display
  • Standard Rear Vision Camera
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • IntelliBeam automatic high-beam control
  • Tire pressure monitor
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Keyless entry and push-button start

Safety Features

  • Standard driver-side air bag
  • Standard four-wheel Anti-Lock Brake System
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Safety alert seat
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert

Horsepower
and Torque

  • Up to 200 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque
  • Up to 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque


Max Trailering

  • Up to 7,000 lbs.
  • Up to 8,600 lbs.

Max Seating

  • Up to five
  • Up to nine

The next-gen 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban will be unveiled in December, furthering the story of the two popular SUVs.