Ford details its active valve performance exhaust

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Audio designers at Ford discuss its fully active performance exhaust and the process of tuning engine noise for the 2019 2.3-liter EcoBoost-powered Mustang

During development of the EcoBoost-equipped Mustang, the engineers at Ford Motor Company looked to design acoustic exhaust sounds that excite the senses and deliver a note of performance.

“We’re probably the few engineers here who do not have to design to a number or a specification,” said Hani Ayesh, Ford exhaust development engineer. “Instead, we work to identify that signature sound DNA that connects drivers to the emotional expectation they have for a specific car.”

These automotive sound engineers rely on computational analysis to design a computer-controlled active exhaust system that opens valves – much like a saxophone or a large pipe organ – to change the sound of the car based on the mood of the driver.

For Ayesh, the best analogy is a guitar: “Strum a chord on an acoustic guitar, and you get a clean, simple sound wave – that’s your quiet Brahms’ Lullaby kind of mood. Plug that guitar into an amp and crank it up to 11, and that’s your aggressive, crackling sound that really rocks your soul. We call that track mode.”

Performance now comes in all sizes. When you step on the gas of a 310hp turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang – the throaty rumble is now comparable to that of the larger-engine Mustang GT and Shelby GT350 models.

The switch on the center console instantly changes the sound to match your mood – normal, louder and more aggressive sport and track settings, as well as a quiet mode.

“When I pick up my kids from school, they want to hear that growling rev of the engine,” said Ayesh, “but my wife and neighbors, not so much. So, I can select the quieter ‘good neighbor’ mode, and keep them happy, too.”

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About Author

Sam joined the UKi Media & Events automotive team in 2017. Having started out as assistant editor for a number of titles including Automotive Powertrain Technology International, Automotive Testing Technology International and Professional Motorsport World, he was appointed editor of PTI in 2020. Sam produces content for both the magazine and website.

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