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Electric

You might be able to download different engine sounds in Toyota’s future electric sports cars

And not just sounds. There’s apparently a possibility of downloadable driving dynamics too

Published: 12 Dec 2023

When we first saw the extremely exciting Toyota FT-Se concept back in October, chief engineer Fumihiko Hazama told TopGear.com it would use an all-wheel drive EV powertrain but with a rear bias as “many customers want to drift.”

Sounds great, but it would seem that Toyota is also testing some tech that could allow you to completely change the way your electric sports car drives.

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“Every GR (Gazoo Racing) product has to stimulate all the senses. It can't just be fun to go in a straight line,” said Simon Humphries, Toyota’s chief branding officer. “It needs to make you smile in the corners too. And it should reward people who are prepared to hone their skills and take more control. Mastering quick manual shifting with a smooth clutch action always used to feel good, so why shouldn't it be the case with an EV?

“How about downloading your favourite engine sound and driving dynamics, and you could truly create your own unique experiences, all the while emitting only smiles.”

Okay, ignore the cringe-inducing final remark for a second and let’s actually focus on the content of that statement. Imagine being able to download different engine sounds for your car each day. One morning it could sound like an old V12 Formula 1 car, the next it could be a big, burbling V8. And downloadable driving dynamics to have something four-wheel drive in winter and rear-wheel drive in the summer? That could be very interesting indeed.

But could it actually happen? We put Humphries’ wishes to GR manager Masahito Watanabe. “We've been making a lot of prototypes of battery EVs and we have found that sound has a huge impact on that fun to drive feeling,” he responded. “This is something that we tangibly felt in our development.

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“We're still working on and developing a sound that gives you that uplifting feeling that matches with the dynamics of the car.” 

No mention of different sounds being available to download just yet then, but there’s clearly a demand for fake engine noise in an all-electric future. Plus, we’ve already seen some cars like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N get it right, while others haven’t been so successful. Yes, we’re looking at you Abarth

We’re still expecting to see something like the FT-Se in production form in 2027 though, so would you like to see it come with different downloadable features?

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