By on May 21, 2015

2016 Nissan Maxima Front Three-Quarter

Earlier this week, I was able to drive the 2016 Nissan Maxima around the great state of Tennessee and enjoy some of the twistiest roads outside of the Tail of the Dragon. While I can’t share driving impressions just yet, there is one thing I can offer up: the Maxima’s piped-in engine note.

Again, thanks to embargoes, we can’t tell you much. However, here were the circumstances of the recording: we were cruising at about 35-40 mph while I held my iPhone against a speaker on the passenger side and asked the driver to give it some gas. The system – called Active Sound Enhancement – is similar to that in the new Camaro. Both are provided by Bose in conjunction with Active Noise Cancellation.

If you’d like to know anything other than that, you’ll have to come back on June 3rd for the full review.


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54 Comments on “This Is The 2016 Nissan Maxima’s Pumped-In Engine Note...”

  • avatar

    OK, so what’s the deal with these active engine sound enhancement systems? Are they actually playing *pre-recorded audio* of the engine? That’s the impression I get from every single headline and article on the subject, but none have gone into detail explaining how it works.

    Active noise cancellation works by producing a sound specifically designed to reduce existing unwanted sounds. Do the engine sound enhancement systems work in a similar manner? That is, producing a sound specifically designed to enhance existing engine sounds?

  • avatar

    I think I’m just as dissapointed that the Maxima stuck with Bose for car audio.

  • avatar

    How is any of this piped-in noise really different from a product available several years ago on the aftermarket known as “SoundRacer?”

    Just another useless gimmick…

  • avatar

    Why do automakers do this? (I’m guessing it has something to do with cost savings).

    I sort of get it when dealing with a diesel or a DI 4-cylinder but the G37’s exhaust sounded fine and I don’t think it had a system like this. So why not just do that on the new Maxima?

    Same as on the new Camaro. The SS, G8, Zeta Camaro, and Sigma CTS/STS didn’t have pumped in noise but now the Alpha Camaro needs it?

    • 0 avatar

      I think we need to start distinguishing between fake sound “piped in” from the speakers, and real sound that reaches the cabin through some sort of physical resonator pipe.

    • 0 avatar

      Because now that technology makes it easier to do, automakers are out to craft an emotional experience for the driver. You’d be surprised how much noises can affect how a car feels to the driver. On a technical level, this is no different than intake tuning, snorkels that go into the dashboard, or snap-crackle exhausts.

  • avatar

    Does it turn off if the sound system is off or do you have to remove the speaker. We just bought a new car in this class a year ago and this would have been a deal breaker.

  • avatar

    Ugh. Is there a menu option to disable it? If the engine/exhaust is almost silent, I’d just as soon keep it that way.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    my guess is the typical maxima buyer care more about a quiet cabin than piped in real or fake engine noise. and nissan, please don’t be like ford and not have a way to turn this nonsense off.

    • 0 avatar

      So you’re saying that Nissan should offer something their typical customer doesn’t care about? If the typical Maxima buyer doesn’t care about the active sound system, why should Nissan develop a way to disable it?

  • avatar

    Is the stereo connected to the odometer too so that when it rolls past 250K it pumps in the sounds of tapping lifters or rod knock?

  • avatar

    Well, the industry already has a nothing stat in MPGe…I guess it was just a matter of time before we got NVHe.

  • avatar

    I just wish these things were customizable.

    Baa-RIIIIIING DING DING ding ding DING ding ding PAK ding BRAUUUUUuuuuuuum PAK ading ding ding RING RING DING DING…

  • avatar
    Shinoda is my middle name

    When I was a kid, and my daily whip was a Schwinn, I got a Mattel V-r-r-r-o-o-o-m Motor for my 7th birthday. For the unaware, that was a battery-operated noise generator in the form of an injection-molded plastic faux motorcycle engine which was clamped in the frame of one’s bicycle and would make motorcycle engine sounds far superior to the quality of a baseball card clipped to the spokes. The ‘engine’ noise would change from an idle to a low-rev to high-rev sound controlled by a rheostat clamped on the handlebars.

    How is that different from this? Not much, from the sounds of it. But I would think as adults we would outgrow the need for artificial engine sound effects to ‘enhance’ our driving experience.

    Guess the engineers at Nissan, BMW and others haven’t reached that evolutionary point yet.

  • avatar

    That’s absolutely the UGLIEST car I’ve seen in a loooooooong time.

    And the mere fact you have to “play” an engine note…

    What are the choices?

    Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Hellcat Charger and Tesla Model S?

    Might as well play circus music!

    Wooo Do Do do do loo do loot do dooo doo…

    • 0 avatar

      if you think this is ugly, did you see the show car? I’m kissing the ground in gratitude they backed away from that. It looked like Godzilla Knocks Over Cardboard Skyscrapers.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      If imitation is the highest form of flattery, someone at Nissan really likes this little dropping:

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    My 2015 GTI has the same ridiculous sound-producer. I disconnected it and it made a world of difference. Now, when you rev the engine, it sounds wonderfully mechanical rather than like you have a small hole in your muffler.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought the GTI piped the sound into the cabin from the air intake, which is different than reproducing it through the speakers.

      I wish words were chosen more carefully when describing these systems. The headline says “pumped-in,” the first paragraph says “piped-in”, though neither are exactly true. “Piped-in” is especially inappropriate, since some cars literally pipe it in (GTI and I think FiST), but that isn’t what is happening with the Maxima (as Mark does eventually describe with clarity).

      I think the distinction is important, because while “piped-in” sound is a creative way to get engine noise into the cabin, it’s at least real mechanical noise (though possibly distorted in the process). What Nissan is doing with the Maxima is completely synthetic.

      Besides, reproducing engine noise through the speakers raises other questions. How are those speakers reproducing engine noise, canceling noise, and playing music? Separate speakers for each? Bose has a hard enough time just handling music!

  • avatar

    That’s still not a very good color to sell/advertise a car in where you’re making the statement of “Four Door Sports Car” for racecar drivers (like the emotion(fail) ad they did).

    Most men don’t want a car that’s purple Kool-Aid colored. And women don’t buy Maximas. And rental agencies won’t want such a strong color. So pick something else, brown or red or something.

  • avatar

    The current maxima has a decent intake growl. I wonder if it is real or artificial.

    I have also read that in some of these cars the piped in sound emulates shifts that are not there. I don’t know if that is a Nissan thing or not.

  • avatar

    The sound of an engine can be both inspiration for an enthusiast, and an important clue if anything is going wrong. Fake engine noise (or recorded engine noise) is neither.

  • avatar

    Words cannot express how I feel about the front end styling…

  • avatar

    If my car’s engine doesn’t make a pleasing sound on its own, then it should just shut the hell up and be as quiet as possible.

  • avatar
    Chicken Daddy

    I owned a 2009 Maxima Premium. Given the quality issues I had with it, (I traded it in on a 2013 Accord Coupe EX-L V6), the time and money spent on this “feature” should have been spent elsewhere. I was so unhappy with my Maxima, I will not likely drive anouther Nissan product.

  • avatar

    aaaaand again we get into the piped-in sound debate.
    this is a big thing over on the VW and Audi forums, and I don’t get it.
    People literally spend thousands of dollars to install exhaust systems that offer nigh-nothing in terms of performance, but sound different or louder. I mean, if the louder exhaust got you umpteen horsepower at infinity RPM, I could at least understand the rationalization. But if you’re getting another 3 HP out of your 400 HP rig, then you’re just what a high school kid would call a ‘pouser’.

    I have yet to get a single solitary reason why a no-benefit loud exhaust system is any better than having a fake sound piped into the car. I have heard the following:

    “but it’s not real!” neither is the music coming out of your radio – so toss it out the window, ‘Better Off Dead’ style, or pull the plug out for the fake music, you hypocritical human piece of garbage.

    “but I want other people to hear it outside, not just me inside” – fine, then you’re a self-admitted attention whore. Buy a speaker and bolt it to the hood, you shallow piece of garbage.

    “but I don’t like the sound it makes” – fine – so wave a few buck around and someone will offer a hack with different ‘soundtracks’ sooner or later. I know the BMW guys have already pulled this off.

    so are we clear now?
    we all agree that those who hate the piped in music for at least the above stated ‘reasons’ are morons?


    I shall now bask in flame…

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, and I did before you pointed out the similarity to changing the exhaust.

      I never understood the problem with bringing engine noise into the cabin while leaving road noise out.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a ’13 Focus ST with the piped in engine sound and I don’t mind it. It’s not too loud, and sounds accurate. I would prefer to have the option to turn it off, but it’s no big deal. Nothing will compare to my old ’03 MINI JCW though with the most wonderful whine, pops, and snarls. Very satisfying, and just short of the repeated trouncings I gave to some yahoo in a new Charger, was one of the best memories of the car.

  • avatar

    I only see one attention whore here.

    No one brought up aftermarket exhausts and only people that hang out in VW/Audi forums would think it is reasonable to need to “hack” your new $35k+ car to turn off or change the tone on piped-in engine noises.

  • avatar

    We disconnected the Sound Quack in my sons GTI as soon as he got it. If I were in the market for a mid-luxury sedan like the Maxima, (aka Predator nose.), why would I want to hear the freaking engine? This class of auto is supposed to offer quiet, peaceful transportation with a bit of performance and style. The noise thing is so gratuitous. Who’s dumb idea is this. PLEASE STOP IT, I do not want to hear my luxury car engine!!! Just the shove from the hand of god making me move. Thank you Tesla! The ultimate expression of this.

  • avatar

    ?! It sounds line a Mercury outboard engine pulling a skier out of the water…

  • avatar

    I’m not sure I’d get to experience the sound, as the car’s face looks like Voltron, a cartoon from my childhood.

  • avatar

    I don’t get the hate-on so many people seem to have for the current Nissan styling language. I think it is beautiful! The front end of that car looks great. Also, a few days ago I drove past the first new Murano I had seen (in profile) and was so impressed I had to go home and google it to find out what it was. I even like the Juke just fine. It looked wild when it first appeared in pictures but it has grown on me and now just looks like an interesting, fun car.

    • 0 avatar

      The new Murano is all kinds of ugly. But you *like* the Juke so that explains why you like the Murano too. Personally I don’t think Maximum is horrible but it ain’t pretty either. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

      Fake engine sounds tell me two things: A) the engineers couldn’t make it sound good to begin with or B) the car is too quiet.
      A quiet car is a good thing unless is a sports car which this is NOT, so that means its A.

    • 0 avatar

      The cycle seems to go like this: Manufacturer comes out with bold and refreshing new design. People hate it because it’s different. Over time, said designs become more main stream and accepted, even appreciated in hindsight. I’m glad car makers challenge mainstream opinions on design, otherwise, people would have a lot more Camry-esque cars to whine about.

      Examples include 2006 Civic, Bangle Bimmers, Toyota Prius, Jeep Cherokee, aforementioned Nissan Juke, etc…

      Personally, I’m a big fan of Nissan’s new design language. What I can’t stand however, is their persistant use of CVTs and now the recently added video game engine note.

  • avatar

    This is an interesting combination of total intellectual dishonesty and maximum cheesiness.

    Are we going to be allowed to have any actual experiences that are not mediated by a crowd of bloodsucking marketeers?

    What is sex going to be like once they’ve made it so you can’t do it without the special apps?

  • avatar

    Why Tesla does not do it, I mean pumped in and out engine noise, I mean ICE noise. Especially in insane mode it would nice if it sounded like Ferrari both from inside and outside. I would also add fake exhaust pipe with imitation of fire under hard acceleration. Also add fake ecological smell of ICE exhaust pipe from 50s.

  • avatar

    Pass on sound effects. Outgoing 2014 a better buy with $10K shaved off inventory and NO early production flaws. There is no 2015.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Wonder if aftermarket tuners can change the note. I want to pipe in the sound of a Cummins just to screw with folks.

  • avatar

    Hey, now if it could sound like an M1A1 and fire a cannon shot every time it shifts we might have something. Maybe fire the Ma Deuce when using engine braking.

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