Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like but, although I don’t believe in the “second shooter” theory or that those white lines in the sky are something other than contrails, I have a nagging thought that, in the past few months, some of the most charismatic CEOs in the automotive industry have been replaced by clones.
Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn is idolized in Japan for turning the ailing carmaker around; he even starred in a manga. Forming an alliance with Renault was also a very successful movement, allowing for parts sharing and cost-cutting while giving each carmaker its own distinct character and, in the process, churning out some pretty driver-oriented cars such as the Nissan GT-R or the Renault Sport Megane and Clio.
What I find hard to fathom is that a car guy like Mr. Ghosn would sign off the insult to human intelligence that is the new Clio RS’ free app that reproduces, through the speakers, the sound of seven other engines including…the GT-R!
BMW pre-recording and then playing the new M5’s sound through the speakers is bad enough – but at least it is its own engine! Quite why Renault would offer the Nissan GT-R noise as an option is beyond comprehension.
The previous Clio RS was probably the greatest hot hatch on sale. Its successor followed the downsizing trend and ditched the manual transmission and 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine – but that’s the “green” zeitgeist and it doesn’t necessarily make it an inferior drive.
What’s next? A VW Polo with a Porsche 911 GT3 howl? A Dodge Dart with the Viper’s V10 baritone smashing its windows or a Fiat Punto that plays the shriek of the flat-plane crank Ferrari V8?
Speaking of Ferrari, I suspect Luca di Montezemolo was also absent when they decided on the name of the Enzo successor – but I’d rather not get started on the one-that-must-not-be-named.
Such fripperies are a waste of time and talent but I guess it was easier, and cheaper, to design an app than a sporty-sounding exhaust system that complies with noise regulations.
I wonder what Nissan chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno, who has spent thousands of hours honing the GT-R even going as far as filling the tires with nitrogen and offering an asymmetric chassis, thinks of the Clio’s sound app…
By Andrew Tsaousis