Abarth continues to amaze and stir up the emotions of all the Abarthists around the world with its New Abarth 500e and its unique Sound Generator feature which makes it one of a kind in the electric Hot Hatch segment. The new full-electric addition to the Scorpion range integrates an exclusive Sound System developed by a dedicated sound design team in collaboration with Sound Design Studios. The sound design, its development and integration were carried out at the Stellantis’ Italian NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) Department. the same entity that validated the sound of the historic Abarth exhaust system, the Record Monza.
The project lasted about two years, with approximately 6 months of continuous work. More than 6,000 hours were spent analyzing and creating the perfect sound for each phase of the driving experience with a team of several people involved in the project. The Technical Manager took care of the car area and focused on coordinating the various stakeholders. Additionally, NVH Specialists dealt with sound enhancement, concentrating on both the creative and technological part of the sound creation process. They worked on the sound and demo development and as well as on the different steps of sound looping, from software development to the creation of the sound itself. Part of the sound tests and studies were carried out in a semi-anechoic chamber – a room specifically designed to have extremely low noise levels inside, and a high degree of acoustic insulation from the exterior – in order to make accurate and reliable noise measurements. Thanks to the reflecting floor, it is possible to recreate an acoustically reflecting surface, just like a road. Specific features make the semi-anechoic chamber perfectly quiet, thus allowing the sound specialists to discriminate the noise from the whole surroundings.
To achieve a perfect output which was as close as possible to the original one, the current sound of the Abarth petrol engine was recorded throughout all the different phases of the driving experience—acceleration, deceleration, braking, fast cornering and much more. Moreover, specific sound calibrations were carried out. The recordings were then carefully analyzed through dedicated technical tools and processes to extract all the distinctive Abarth frequencies, which is in essence its DNA, in order to create a new tone in a virtual matrix enriched by additional sounds.
The matrix was tested offline in the studio and on the static car through various iterations and configurations to achieve the perfect blend of the output. Specifically, thanks to software, the matrix adapts the various components of the recorded sound to achieve the best immersive result for the driver. Additional sounds were layered upon the matrix to blend the historic sound of Abarth to the feeling of the future found on the New Abarth 500e.
An important point was to balance the Sound Generator carefully to provide the driver with the most pleasant driving experience even at high speeds, respecting the homologation constraints for noise pollution and ensuring a realistic sound. In fact, the intensity of the Sound Generator System is directly proportional to the speed at which the car is driven, and the sound is to all intents and purposes processed differently through the exterior rear speaker. It ranges from IDLE, where the engine at its lowest power and the sound generator replicates the sound of the Record Monza exhaust at idling speed, to SIGNATURE, which alters based on one’s speed, maintaining the timbre typical of the Abarth with the internal combustion engine. In short, SIGNATURE contains all the information we give to the amplifier – from idle to progressive speed, ignition, and shutdown.
The new Abarth 500e is able to offer all the features of a luxury car in just 3.6 meters without giving up on the irreverence inherent in the DNA of the Brand. Thanks to the Sound Generator, it is the only Hot Hatch capable of evoking the sound of the historic ICE and providing the acoustic power of a sporty ICE engine which reaches the limits allowed by homologation regulations.
The Abarth ‘roar’ of the Sound Generator can be turned on-off by the driver when the car is stopped through the cluster settings.