BMW’s been partnered with legendary composer Hans Zimmer for a few years now and they’ve worked together yet again to develop the interior cabin sounds for the BMW i7. The system is called BMW IconicSounds Electric, because of course it is, and it uses different sounds for different functions to create a more immersive experience in a car with no mechanical noise.
“We want to offer customers a unique driving and travel experience in the BMW i7. In the area of user experience, we are breaking new ground to achieve this, which also includes the drive sound,” said Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. “Sound in particular plays a central role in the emotional connection between the driver and his vehicle. Innovations such as BMW IconicSounds Electric make the BMW i7 a pioneer for a new, holistic driving experience.”
The BMW IconicSounds Electric is tied to the different My Modes, which change different characteristics of the car, such as its drive settings; powertrain, steering, suspension; as well as ambient lighting, and now sound. The three standard settings in electric BMWs are Personal, Sport, and Efficient but the i7 gets two more as-standard; Expressive and Relax.
There are several different ways the IconicSounds immerses its passengers. There’s a welcome sound, a start sound, a theater sound, and of course acceleration sound. In the video posted below, you can get an idea of what some of those sounds are actually like. They all sound very futuristic and high-tech but also rather emotional. Interestingly, and kudos to Hans Zimmer (as if he needs my kudos), they all sound very BMW-like. The start sound is similar, but improved, to the one from the BMW i3.
Because electric cars lack the emotional sound of internal combustion, they need to supplement that with these electronic sounds. BMW was wise to hire one of the most emotional composers of our time to create sounds for its electric cars and we’re very excited to use the BMW i7 to see how they feel in real world usage.