Hans Zimmer, Renzo Vitale

Electrifying sound from Hollywood legend Hans Zimmer.

19. August 2019
ca. 3 minutes

In electrified vehicles, the engine sound has to be redesigned because the drive trains are so quiet. For the BMW Vision M NEXT, Renzo Vitale, acoustic engineer and sound designer at the BMW Group, therefore joined forces with a genius from the world of sound: Oscar-winning film composer Hans Zimmer.

The Lion King, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean – Hans Zimmer’s soundtracks are beloved by millions around the world. However, his latest work is not playing at the local multiplex, but in the ears of BMW Vision M NEXT drivers: The award-winning composer helped create the sound for the recently unveiled electric car.

But how do you approach a challenge like this? “When we develop and compose the sound for an electric vehicle, we are creating memories for future generations. People will say: Yes, that’s what a BMW sounds like,” says BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale. He speaks from experience, having already developed the sounds for the acoustic pedestrian protection required by law since July 2019.

For Hans Zimmer, the process was similar to adding sound to a film. “I imagined the following scene: It’s early morning; the sky is grey. You walk to your car, but you don’t really want to go to work. But when you start the car, the first sound you hear strikes a wonderful chord – like a Beach Boys’ or Beatles’ song.”

Hans Zimmer, Renzo Vitale
Hans Zimmer, Renzo Vitale

What was particularly important to both sound creators: “We didn’t want to simply imitate the old world.” Vitale even goes a step further: “We envision sounds that celebrate the beauty and complexity of our vehicles and that are able to move people.”

So, what does the BMW Vision M NEXT sound like? Renzo Vitale: “Very unique, because the sound is propulsive, elevating and morphing at the same time. The development and composition for the sound of the Vision M NEXT was mainly inspired by light installations from James Turrell and Ólafur Elíasson. In particular, Turrell realised works known for the illusion of an infinite space, which creates a magical experience for the spectator. The idea behind the Vision M NEXT is to recreate this sense of wonder through sound. Hans Zimmer adds: “When the driver interacts with the accelerator pedal, it is not only a mechanical touchpoint but also a performative element. Accelerating becomes an experience during which the driver moves through a series of gradually morphing sound textures.”

Hans Zimmer, Renzo Vitale
Hans Zimmer, Renzo Vitale

Anyone can check out the sound for themselves in the latest BMW Vision M Next video, presented at #NextGen, or download the sound file for the Boost+ Mode here:

Download here

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The transition to climate-neutral mobility has already begun. Electrification will be the dominant theme of the 2020s. It is the clearly stated goal of the BMW Group to systematically drive ahead with the decarbonisation of individual mobility between 2020 and 2030 by increasing the proportion of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles sold.



The BMW Group has a clear goal: to reduce CO2 emissions from our vehicles by 40 percent per kilometre driven up to the year 2030. This will require a large share of the fleet to be electrified. By 2021 e-mobiles are expected to account for a quarter of the fleet in Europe, rising to a third by 2025, and half by 2030.


The BMW Group has already established itself as a pioneer of electromobility. With the BMW i3 and BMW i8 along with a wide range of plug-in hybrid models, the BMW Group has the broadest programme of electrically powered vehicles among the competitive field. What is more, the BMW Group is now also focussing on electrifying additional models, thereby highlighting the importance of remaining open in the choice of technologies along the way to achieving sustainable mobility.