To some, automotive “luxury” means lush interiors with comfortable seats and high-tech gadgets. But to vehicle performance engineers, like James Murphy, it also means quiet.
There are some noises, Murphy admits, that are perfectly acceptable, but others, like wind noise and the sounds of passing cars, are simply annoying.
It’s these irritating sounds that Murphy and his team worked to block in the 2013 Cadillac ATS, by employing a range of active and passive sound-canceling technologies. The combination of these technologies work together to reduce the ATS’s overall sound levels by 3 decibels while idling, making the vehicle nearly 50 percent quieter.
“Not all noise is unwanted, especially in a vehicle like ATS,” said Murphy. “While wind rush penetrating a closed window is undesirable, the driver does want to hear the vehicle respond with power during spirited driving.” The most impressive of the active technologies is a Bose Active Sound Management system of three microphones to detect, then address, noise within the cabin.
The microphones are strategically placed to “hear” what passengers hear, above the interior door frame for the front driver and passenger and at the rear driver’s side.
When unwanted noises are detected, the system delivers counter-balance sounds through the cabin speakers, offsetting low-frequency noises between 40Hz and 180Hz.
On the “passive” noise-canceling front, the ATS provides quiet with sound-deadening materials all around the vehicle, addressing irritating noises like rain hit- ting the roof, wind rush and traffic noises from the windows and windshield, and even the sounds of tires on the road and the “tick- tick-tick” sounds of the engine idling.
The Cadillac ATS sport sedan is available in dealer showrooms now, and starts at $33,990.