Maserati is famed for its beautifully melodic, high powered petrol cars, so it may come as something of a shock to learn the company will be embracing diesel in 2014. The first diesel car in the company’s history will be a version of the Kubang SUV.
A diesel engine is essential, Maserati says, if the Kubang is to compete with rivals such as the Porsche Cayman in European markets. A diesel engine would give it plenty of benefits, most notably lots of low-RPM torque to help it shift its bulk away from traffic lights, improved fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions. However a diesel lump would also have several negative effects, not least the fact it’ll likely sound like a bag of spanners.
Maserati thinks it has a solution for this problem: artificial engine sounds played via the car’s stereo system. The system would likely involve a control unit that creates a simulated engine sound based on a driver’s throttle position, the car’s speed and engine revs. The harder you drive the thing, the louder and more urgent the noise emanating from the speakers.
Such systems are already being embraced by some of Maserati’s rivals. BMW currently uses an Active Sound system in its latest M5 in order to boost the level of aural feedback. At the other end of the performance spectrum, the Nissan Leaf electric car uses a noise generator to warn pedestrians of its presence when travelling at low speeds. Audi, meanwhile, is considering artificial engine sounds for its e-tron electric range.
Obviously, artificial engine noises make sense in electric or hybrid vehicles, but we’re in two minds about whether we want such systems in our high performance cars — particularly Maseratis. How do you feel about it? Spew your outrage or approval in the comments below or on our Facebook page.