Dearborn, Michigan - When somebody called the cops on Steve von Foerster, then head of vehicle engineering at Ford, he wasn't thrilled, but he understood why.
On a peaceful morning in his suburban Detroit neighborhood, Von Foerster had just reversed a Shelby GT350 Mustang out of his driveway. As the car’s V8 engine thundered, an annoyed neighbor dialed 911. Von Foerster was gone before the law arrived and didn't get a ticket - but he did get an idea for the new Mustang.
“I love the V8 sound, but it's loud, and you can’t annoy people like that in your neighborhood,” said Von Foerster, who now heads Ford’s user experience team in product development. “It sounds so cool, but I thought, ‘There has to be a way to give people more control over the engine’s sound.’”
That led to the development of Quiet Exhaust mode and Quiet Start - known as “Good Neighbour Mode” at Ford, allowing you to keep the engine sound of your 2018 Mustang GT at a minimum - and even programme quiet start-up times in advance, so you don't forget and wake the neighbours at the crack of dawn.
What you do is scroll through a menu in the instrument cluster, using thumb controls on the steering wheel, and select when you want to fire up your Mustang GT without sharing the event with your neighbours - say, between 8pm and 7am.
Quiet Exhaust mode and Quiet Start will form part of the optional active valve performance exhaust system on the 2018 Mustang GT, along with different exhaust volumes for Normal, Sport and Track modes.
And that's more important than you think: a recent survey by Ranker.com showed loud engine revving was second only to early-morning lawn mowing among the most annoying noises neighbors make - more so than power tools, barking dogs or band practice.
“When sounds get up into the upper-70-decibel range, that’s typically about when they start to bother people,” said Ford 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 same as a household dishwasher.”