After nearly a century of working to make their cars ever more refined, it looks like BMW has finally gone too far. That's because the new 2012 M5 has a feature that actually plays recorded engine sounds through the car's stereo system, as a "discreet soundtrack in keeping with the harmonious and assured characteristics of the V8 powerplant."
The feature is called Active Sound Design, and it plays noises that reflect your speed, engine revs, torque and accelerator position. Slip the car into Sport or Sport+ mode, and the noises become more intrusive with induction and exhaust notes added in.
This is kind of like New York City deciding the city's streets are too clean, and tossing some garbage to give the tourists the character they were expecting. If BMW's research shows that M5 drivers want to hear the throaty roar of their V8, then they could simply leave some of the sound deadening materials out of the car. This way they would save both weight and money at the same time.
Let's just hope they also included a way to turn it off.