The Abarth 500e was finally unveiled last November following a slew of pre-announcements and teasers. And today the brand is back with a story about its sounds. In case you're not aware, Abarth is to Fiat sort of like AMG is to Mercedes, although those in the know will no doubt be scoffing at the massive oversimplification at this point. The little car packs lot of audio punch, as it turns out, but not in the way you may expect.
A Sound System Generator on board "turns the Abarth 500e into an irreverent yet playful electric hot hatch with an unexpected combustion engine's roaring directly linked with the driving and speed dynamic experience", Stellantis says. Translation: fake engine sounds abound.
If you're into something like that, then you'll be happy to hear that this unique feature makes the Abarth 500e "one of a kind in its segment". So far, the brand says, only higher-tier cars would get such a feature.
Tuning the sounds for the Abarth 500e took about two years, of which six months were continuous work. The Stellantis Sound Design Studio (Stellantis owns Fiat and Abarth) took more than 6,000 hours to perfect the Abarth 500e's sound design, analyzing and creating the perfect sound for each phase of the driving experience, with a team of several people. Tests were done in part in a semi-anechoic chamber with a reflecting floor that makes it possible to recreate an acoustically reflecting surface like a road.
The idea was to recreate, as closely as possible, the current sound of the Abarth petrol engine, which was recorded throughout all phases of driving. These recordings were then analyzed "to extract all the distinctive Abarth frequencies", in order "to create a new tone in a virtual matrix enriched by additional sounds". Those additional sounds "were layered upon the matrix to bend the historic sound of Abarth to the feeling of the future found on the New Abarth 500e", whatever that means.
The Sound Generator is carefully balanced to provide a pleasant experience even at high speeds, respecting noise pollution regulations and constraints while still providing a realistic sound. The intenstiy of the sound generation is directly proportional to the speed at which the car is driven.
If you don't like it, the "roar" of the Sound Generator can be turned off when the car is stopped.