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Hans Zimmer designed the sound for BMW’s futuristic concept car

Hans Zimmer designed the sound for BMW’s futuristic concept car


Blade Runner vibes

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Image: BMW

BMW unveiled some of its plans for electric vehicles earlier this week, saying that it would debut 25 electric vehicles by 2023, as some nifty concepts, like its Motorrad Vision DC Roadster motorcycle and the sleek BMW Vision M NEXT concept sports car. The company decided to launch a website (via TechCrunch) to have some fun with its futuristic-looking EV, which included getting Blade Runner 2049 composer Hans Zimmer to develop a science fiction-like sound for it.

The car does look like something out of a cyberpunk movie or video game, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it pops up as part of a product placement deal with some Hollywood studio in the next couple of years. EVs don’t produce any engine noise, so companies have been working out how to give them some sort of sound profile, either to warn pedestrians of their presence, or to reassure drivers who miss the sound of a gas engine. Some manufacturers — like Jaguar or Harley Davidson — have given their vehicles their own futuristic-sounding engine noise.

BMW is leaning into that science fiction feel with this car. As a composer, Zimmer is well-known for his work on films like Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and of course, Blade Runner 2049 (along with Benjamin Wallfisch). Along with BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale, he produced a sound for the car that feels right out of a film — a low whine that sounds like something like a cross between what a spaceship feels like it ought to sound like, and the classic THX deep note sound test.

The company has some other fun things for aspiring cyberpunk car owners to play with — literally. It produced a model for anyone with a 3D printer to print up one of their own, as well as files to print up a poster for your bedroom.