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BMW i7 Starts Testing for Acoustic Comfort With Great Expectations

BMW's i7, the electric brother of the 7 Series, is undergoing acoustic testing in a specialized site. The latter is called FIZ North, and it is the company's Research and Innovation Center in Munich, Germany. From what BMW explains, the i7 will be the company's most comfortable vehicle ever.
BMW i7 prototype goes through testing at FIZ North site 21 photos
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As Rolls-Royce can attest, soundproofing is essential in providing comfort in a vehicle, but there has to be a balance between what should be heard, and what must never be heard. The German manufacturer is currently working on such a balance, and the task is made a bit more difficult because electric vehicles are silent by design.

BMW is also working on testing the i7 on the climatic test bench, which takes it from freezing temperatures to scorching hot, and then back again, for as long or as often as it takes to ensure it can provide the same level of comfort for its occupants.

Other tests include using a wind tunnel but go as far as testing electromagnetic compatibility to ensure that a vehicle's components are stable even if they face powerful electromagnetic fields. All without damaging their occupants' devices. Yes, many other automakers test for things like these or have their suppliers do the testing.

In a conventional automobile, some noises are canceled out by others, while particular sounds are not perceptible because of others. In an EV, every sound can be heard, especially rolling noises made by the tires, but the suspension can also be heard.

The trick here is to find the right amount of soundproofing that will help the vehicle be as silent as desired, but not too heavy for its good.

Other prototypes of the upcoming 7 Series will be tested in the same center as well, but BMW chose to show a camouflaged i7 instead. Moreover, the German marque is also experimenting with what it calls BMW IconicSounds Electric, which is developed in collaboration with Hans Zimmer.

The idea with those is that EVs must make a noise to warn pedestrians that a vehicle is coming, and BMW has figured out that it does not have to mimic a combustion engine, and that the typical “spaceship” noises are too dull for its cars.

In some parts of the world, the problem has been long solved by the users, who choose to play music loud while having their windows rolled down. Fortunately for common sense, that one is not good enough for an automaker, so BMW will have to use external speakers for this task.

BMWs will also have a motor sound emitted in the interior, at least for the i7, as the manufacturer notes. The sound itself is yet to be decided on, but we will hear more about it once it is ready. Pun not intended, but here we are.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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