Not about to rest on its laurels while Chevrolet releases a new-and-improved version of the sixth-generation Camaro for 2019, Ford Motor Company has tweaked the four-cylinder Mustang EcoBoost and V8-powered Mustang GT for the new model year. Among the changes: the 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost gains an active-valve exhaust option, allowing drivers to get more of the engine’s visceral bark when they want it, and keep the engine corked when they don’t.
Examples of the EcoBoost-powered Mustang ordered with Ford’s factory active-valve exhaust will ship with a switch on the center console that can switch between Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Track modes to suit the driver’s mood. “We’re probably the few engineers here [at Ford] who do not have to design to a number or a specification,” says Ford Exhaust Development Engineer Hani Ayesh. “Instead, we work to identify that signature sound DNA that connects drivers to the emotional expectation they have for a specific car.”
What Hani and his team are looking for – at least in the case of the Ford Mustang EcoBoost’s louder exhaust modes – is called an “autonomic” response. The autonomic nervous system operates mostly unconsciously, controlling things like heart rate, respiratory rate, and the way that the pupils dilate or constrict in response to different stimuli. For a performance car, if the sound of the engine roaring to life or barking as you accelerate can make your heart race, your pupils dilate, and your lungs draw breath faster, Hani Ayesh and his team have done their job.
Ford likens the reaction to the one you might have if you hear loud thunder.
“Our connection to sound begins in our mother’s womb long before other senses,” says veteran Los Angeles television production engineer Steve Venezia. “And later in life, sound is one of the most powerful senses that creates lasting memories, like a song that takes you back to a happy time in your life.”
The 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost with available active-valve exhaust will be available starting this summer.