Reader Question: New Mustang Exhaust Sound?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Lewis asks: I really enjoy listening to your segments on our local radio station here in Oregon! My question has to do with the crazy weird sound the late-model Ford Mustangs (and perhaps other sporty models) make these days. I really noticed it when I was driving down the street, looked aside to perform a lane change, and heard an awful sound up ahead that was alarming. I honestly thought it sounded like a semi truck had lost its load of pallets in the intersection ahead! When I looked for the source of the horrible sound, I saw a new Mustang accelerating hard up ahead. I have since noted the same awful sound from other new-ish Mustangs. Is there a reason for this? Was this new sound somehow “engineered” into the package? It is the most unpleasant automotive noise I have heard in years. I might actually prefer the drone of an unmuffled 13B Rotary to this. As a musician, I am keen to all kinds of sounds. Let me know if you have any intel on this.

My reply: Well, many late-model performance cars do make a loud sound!

Some also have what is often marketed as an “active” exhaust system, which means there’s an electronically activated cut-out that bypasses the muffler(s) during wide-open throttle runs. Some of these make an audible “pop” – almost like a turbo wastegate – when they open/close.

That is probably the sound you’re hearing.

.  . .

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