[UPDATE] Contacted by Motor1.com, Chevrolet has issued a response: “If customers like how the seventh generation sounds, then they will love the sound of the LT2 engine in their 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The car actually uses the exact same strategy and execution as all seventh-generation Corvettes, including the 2019 ZR1. It’s important to note, nothing coming out of the speakers would sound like an engine on its own. We rely on the engine for all of the audio content, but given the passby requirements and the multiple cavities between the exhaust tips and the driver, some frequencies are lost and need to be supplemented. This results in an engaging and visceral driving experience, as our seventh-generation owners can attest to.”
We’re closing in on the three-month anniversary of the 2020 Chevy Corvette reveal from July. We’ve learned a lot about the car since – performance, price, standard and optional equipment. But we’re still discovering new features. Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire fame tweeted yesterday the new mid-engine Corvette pumps fake engine noise through the cabin speakers. We’ve reached out to Chevrolet about the feature and will update the story when we hear back.
Fake engine noise isn’t new, and before you dive into the comments all angry, it’s here to stay, too. Automakers pump fake engine sounds into the cabin to enhance the driving experience, allowing drivers to feel a bit more connected with their cars. Fake engine sounds also help brands such as Mercedes-AMG circumvent tightening sound regulations in Europe, which are already affecting new models. Fake engine sounds are also essential for electric vehicles. They can serve as a warning to pedestrians on the outside while providing in-car sound.
And it’s not like the Corvette is a quiet slouch. The entry-level 2020 Corvette Stingray packs a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 engine making 490 horsepower (365 kilowatts) and 460 pound-feet (623 Newton-meters) of torque. Add the Z51 package, which includes the performance exhaust, and both horsepower and torque jump by five. We even have audio of the Corvette starting, revving, and launching, and it’s far from quiet. However, that could be different inside the cabin, which could be quite quiet and insulated from the exhaust note barking out the rear.
Fake engine noises are here to stay. Automakers enhancing the in-car driving experience by playing a fake exhaust note or other engine sounds aren't the most egregious features a car can have. As more and more cars move toward electrification, these sorts of sounds will likely become more common. Until then, we’ll have to live with cars that fake their exhaust note inside. It’s not the end of the world.