Engine Noise and the Pleasurable Driving Experience

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Seminar 33 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Daniel TORODE, University of South Australia, Australia
Recent scholarly work in the expanding field of sound studies has begun to investigate what sounds automobile users find pleasurable during the driving experience. Some studies have found that there is a growing and widespread preference for car cabins that are less noisy. This paper aims to investigate if this desire for a reduced noise car cabin is as prevalent as some suggest. To do so, this paper presents qualitative research undertaken on online car reviews of the 2012-2013 BMW M5 automobile. What this research reveals is that there are still some elements of the automotive community that want to hear the sound of the engine of the car they are driving. This paper describes how there is a culture of drivers who believe that engine noise is an integral component for a pleasurable driving experience. Why the existence of this culture is significant is because it reveals the complex and subjective nature of noise. This paper finds that noise can be received in a variety of ways. While many may feel that engine noise is abrasive or transgressive, it may facilitate or be a pleasurable experience for others. Through the prism of noise, this paper ultimately contributes to a more socially determined understanding of aural pleasure.