The Active Sound inside BMW cars is hardly news today. The trend starting years back and it continues into new generation of models. So at the international media launch of the new BMW X5 M and X6 M, we talked to BMW engineers about the sound of the new power SUVs.

According to Axel Theiling head of powertrain for the X5M and X6M, giving each M product a unique sound character is an important task for BMW. At a first glance, recorded on video by us, the sound of the X5 M and X6 M is slightly different than then M5 Competition or the more recent M8 Competition models.

But, of course, there is an Active Sound component in the new X5 M and X6 M. Theiling says that’s used to obfuscate sound notes that are produced as a result of noise emission regulation compliance.

Furthermore, Theiling says that the new noise rules in Europe are stopping automakers from really offering those deep and loud notes customers expect from a high-performance car. The acoustic emissions include items like the drive-by-noise laws which are present more and more in Europe.

Should BMWs use the Active Sound?

Therefore, the regulations are getting pretty difficult for the exhaust sound to just come from the exhaust system. Tire noise is another component of those noise compliance laws.

Those regulations are often in contrast to what actual customers want from their cars, so that puts BMW and other automakers at a crossroad. This will hardly be an issue in the next decade when most cars will be electrified, so for now, let’s enjoy these last decent sounding cars.