By on October 12, 2018

Ferrari has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a “device for the amplification of the intake sound” of an internal combustion engine. The system is a little different than the “Active Sound Design” populating many of today’s modern performance vehicles — a setup that involves piping in engine noises via the car’s sound system (à la BMW), through a speaker attached to the firewall (e.g. Volkswagen), or by redirecting some intake air through a diaphragm and into less-insulated areas of car (Porsche).

For Ferrari’s new system, the last solution seemed to be the best fit. But rather than running noise through a singular valve and pipe, the Italians want to use each runner of the intake manifold — presumably to create a richer and less-artificial sound. The patent request even states that the amplification pipe produces a noise that is “very pleasant to the human ear.” Filed in April of this year and clearly written by some super-intelligent automaton that’s obsessed with human ears, the system looks pretty complex. 

In fact, schematics wizard Bozi Tatarevic — who shared his find with Jalopnik — alluded to it being a little too elaborate. But this is Ferrari we’re talking about here. Certainly their clientele would be willing to to endure whatever additional maintenance is required to have pitch perfect engine noises piped into the cabin, right?

From Jalopnik:

All of this sounds neat in theory, as it would transmit something close to an authentic sound from the engine but it would require a spaghetti of tubes reminiscent of old air injection system in the early days of emissions reduction. It would also introduce at lest nine more points of failure for the intake system since these tubes would be connected to the intake runners which are behind the throttle body and mass air flow sensor so any type of leak from any runner would cause the engine to run rich because unmetered air could enter the intake.

While this type of failure might seem far-fetched, it is not uncommon to see failures and intake leaks on the Ford Fiesta ST which has a similar type of system and they only have a single tube going into the intake manifold.

Potential failures aside, the overall benefit is a well-insulated and quiet cabin that only gives you the sounds you want to hear. But it seems like Ferrari is taking the long road on this one, as it would be easier to simply use less sound deadening — saving some weight in the process. We’re just going to assume this system is intended for people shopping for something like a GTC4Lusso and not a 488 Pista with an aluminum floor.

[Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office]

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15 Comments on “Ferrari Seeks Patent for Elaborate Intake Amplification System...”

  • avatar

    Maybe they could license it to Harley-Davidson, the more noise the better.

    • 0 avatar

      @forward_look –
      Harley Davidson has tried to get a trademark on their sound since those don’t expire and would have effectively killed off any competition. IIRC, a judge threw the case out based on the premise that Harley doesn’t have a characteristic sound until you remove the “legal” noise suppression equipment i.e. mufflers.

  • avatar

    What is an intake supposed to sound like? Unless there’s a whining turbo isn’t the focus usually on the exhaust?

    • 0 avatar

      This is mostly intake sound:

      Easiest way to understand what more intake sound might be like is comparing normal E46 M3s to this M3 CSL with the far noisier carbon airbox:

      A turbocharged engine’s intake won’t sound exactly the same, but I’d imagine you’ll get some pretty pleasant sound which we would equate to ‘nice engine sound’. Probably a lot harder to get any nice notes out of a post-turbo exhaust since you’d have to increase overall sound levels very high and you’re picking up sound from after the compressor which blocks/dampens/muddles the sound impulses that originate from the individual combustion chambers.

  • avatar

    What’s being amplified, the turbo? Do Ferraris really want to sound like a city bus or a WRX?

  • avatar

    Amplification? Do they want it to sound like Maria Callas in “Turandot”, or Cecilia Bartoli in “The Barber of Seville”? What are they going for?

  • avatar

    “any type of leak from any runner would cause the engine to run rich because unmetered air could enter the intake.”

    Typical jalopnik. Unmetered air entering the engine would cause it to run lean, under vacuum. Under boost, *metered air *leaving the system would cause it to run rich.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, exactly. And since that schematic is clearly of a turbocharged engine, a leak would cause air to escape the intake and the system _might_* cause it to run rich.

      *=with boost pressure dropping the systems will likely intervene after detecting that, or at least light up a fault code, so I’d doubt you’d be driving on the wrong air/fuel mixture for long.

  • avatar

    Not surprisingly, Jalopnik has a very simpleton view of “complex”. They also don’t seem to understand air measurement under boost.

    I get the argument about failure points, but when has this *EVER* been a design consideration for Ferrari’s road cars?

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay


  • avatar

    I’m hoping that we aren’t supposed to draw any inferences regarding Ferrari’s future engines from their use of a four cylinder example here.

    As shown the supplementary intake pipes appear simply to be Helmholtz resonators. What’s interesting, if it’s not merely an artifact of the diagrammatic rendering, is that they’re shown as being of unequal length. That would allow a more complex sound.

  • avatar

    It’s a sad time we live in when a manufacturer like Ferrari has to use a system like this. The old Ferrari V-12’s and Ansa exhaust systems used to sound like the songs of the angels themselves…

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