The Ford Mustang has a bad-boy image, and the ability to wake the neighbors in the wee hours is surely part of that. But not everyone who drives a Mustang wants to be that aurally hostile to the people around them all the time.
That’s where the new Good Neighbor Mode on the 2018 Mustang GT could come in handy. On new pony cars equipped with the variable exhaust system, the feature allows drivers to not only set the exhaust to a quieter mode, but in an industry first, also schedule quiet start-ups for times when the neighborhood is otherwise hushed.
The idea came to Steve von Foerster, Ford’s former head of vehicle engineering and now leading its user experience team, when a neighbor called the cops after he started his Shelby GT350 one morning. He didn’t get a ticket, but he did get an idea.
“I love the sound of the V8, but it can be loud, and you can’t annoy people like that in your neighborhood,” said von Foerster, pictured above. “It sounds so cool, but I thought, ‘There has to be a way to give people more control over the engine’s sound.’”
Polls indicate that loud engine revving is the most annoying noise disturbing otherwise quiet residential neighborhoods, more than bands practicing, dogs barking, or lawns being mowed. “When sounds get up into the upper-70-decibel range, that’s typically about when they start to bother people,” said exhaust engineer Matt Flis. “With quiet start activated, the decibel level of the new Mustang GT drops by about 10 decibels, to a much more comfortable 72 decibels – about the level of a household dishwasher.”
The feature is activated through the wheel-mounted thumb controls on the newly available 12-inch instrument cluster, or through the settings menu on the standard 4-inch display. “Active valve performance exhaust gives Mustang owners the best of both worlds,” notes Flis: “that classic Mustang sound, and the ability to not wake up your neighbors when you leave the house early in the morning or arrive home late at night.”