Malcolm Flynn | May 16, 2012

In most passenger cars, engine noise in the cabin could never be described as a feature. As a mark of engineering prowess, and as a marketing tool, a quiet cabin is a key part of any new car's development.

For dedicated sports cars, however, it's a case of the-noisier-the-better. To this end, the team behind Ford’s upcoming Focus ST hot hatch have developed a device that amplifies induction noise.

Officially known as an ‘Active Sound Symposer’, the device will form a part of the inlet manifold in the new ST's 186kW 2.0 litre EcoBoost engine, with sound modulated via an electronic valve that reacts to driver inputs.

Similar induction amplifiers have been used previously in the Ford Mustang and Mazda MX-5, but this is the first to feature electronic actuation.

“The sound symposer gives the Focus ST an aural split personality. In everyday driving, the car is composed and refined. But under full throttle, we unleash the sonic hounds. It’s a beauty and a beast”, Ford’s Lisa Schoder says.

The system is designed partly to challenge the rorty sounds created by key rival the Golf GTI, but it also signals acknowledgement that the new ST hasn’t quite got the natural singing ability of the previous model's five-cylinder mill.

“For ST drivers, it’s not enough to have a car that is fast or feels fast. It also has to sound fast,” engineer Christopher Myers says.

Catch the sound below:

2013 Ford Focus ST - Active Sound Symposer by themotorreport

Ford Australia has confirmed that local models will wear the ST badge (rather than XR5 or XR4) and a local launch is expected before the end of the year.


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