Mercedes Almost Gave the Electric G-Class Fake V-8 Noises. Here's What It Sounds Like Now

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Here's What the Electric G-Wagen Sounds LikeAaron Brown

Without an exhaust system, engineers at Mercedes-Benz were torn on how to make the auditory experience in the new, all-electric Geländewagen live up to its gas predecessors. Along with the satisfying click of its door handles, previous iterations of the G-Wagen were revered for a boisterous, throaty V-8 exhaust note. The legacy of the notorious sound needed to live on.

Worry not, purists and Luddites, Mercedes found an inventive way to anger, perplex, and perhaps pleasantly surprise you. While the focus of many luxury electric vehicles is ultimate silence, the folks at Mercedes grappled with the possibility of pumping out gas-powered engine noises from its all-electric G-Wagen. A V-8 soundtrack was high up on the list, according to the G-Class's Chief Engineer, Fabian Schossau.

"They wanted to copy a V-8 at the beginning. I said, 'Screw it, we'll never give that,'" Schossau told Road & Track. "It was a fight, and product management won."


Even so, the company ended up with a sound not too far away from a combustion engine. Blending the attributes of a combustion engine with the ethos of a spaceship, the consensus among Mercedes engineers was to avoid the common, droning synthetic electric car noises.

"We didn't want to copy all the EV sounds out there," Schossau said. "There are some EV sounds that are quite good, but most of them are horrible. You want to switch them up after five minutes because you get a headache."

The engineer also explained that they were determined to not completely steal the sound of a gas powerplant.

"It's not copying, combustion, doing 'Blah, blah, blah, blah' [V-8 noises] and stuff like that," Schossau said.

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Road & Track

Officially marketed as the "G-Roar," the piped-in noise is adjustable based on driving mode, quieting itself down in Comfort mode, and at full blast in Sport. Ultimately, Mercedes' goal was to not have customers wanting to turn the noises off, allowing for regular conversation in typical driving applications. However, when you do decide to use all 579 hp and 859 lb-ft of torque, a pair of speakers will broadcast your sporting intentions.

"In comfort mode, it's not getting on your nerves," Schossau said. "You can drive this car for three, four, five hours, no problem. It's very comfortable."

With a small speaker in the rear and a large one up front, Mercedes knows that speed is all about perception and hopes that the addition of these sounds will make the G 580 with EQ Technology, as it's officially called, live up to its reputation. Connected to the Burmester 3D Surround Sound system, the G-Roar blends sounds from inside and outside the car, with some very specific audio tuning required to balance the frequencies out.

"If you switch it on, it feels like the car will double the speed and the acceleration," Schossau said. "It shows you which tricks your brain plays on you."

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