Fake that exhaust note with XLR8

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Exhaust note of a Lamborghini LP-450

The coveted exhaust note of the Lamborghini LP-450. Image: bickars/Flickr/CC BY

Many auto enthusiasts claim to be able to identify a car simply by its exhaust note or its distinctive sound. But suppose you heard the powerful rumble and sputter of a turbocharged V8 coming from an accelerating Prius? A new app, designed for “green” drivers who miss the thunder under the hood, now makes that a possibility.

XLR8 app

A new smartphone application called XLR8 is now available from 2XCL Games. It allows hybrid and electric vehicle drivers to select from the exhaust notes of several muscle cars — like the Camaro — and performance sports cars — such as the Lamborghini.

‘Noising’ up a quiet car

Eli Hodapp, of the tech site Touch Arcade, who is thrilled with his new Prius, said:

“The car is great, gets fabulous mileage, is chock full of gadgetry, and really, is only lacking in one department. See, the Prius is a really quiet car … and, sometimes, you really just want to hear the throaty growl of a V8 engine.”

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Available for 99 cents.

The app is available for 99 cents for either the iPhone or Android platforms. It links to the car’s sound system. When the car is moving, the app uses GPS and the vehicle’s own accelerometer to simulate a real-time response as the driver accelerates or decelerates. The smartphone must be firmly mounted in the car when in use, lest it react to the motion of, say, bouncing around in the car’s cup holder.

The app comes with a generic V8-sounding engine, but other exhaust notes can be downloaded.

Can’t win them all

Erica Sadun, of the Apple tech site TUAW, however, was less than impressed. Her review found it a poorly engineered platform for pushing ads on its users.

She said:

“The problem is, of course, that it didn’t work well, could use much better engineering, requires you to watch how-to videos to use the app in the first place and spends a lot of time and screen space trying to sell you stuff.”

Sadun also noted that the app was, at times, out of sync from her driving experience, and could, for some, get old fast:

“The noises started to get really irritating just a few minutes into driving — your mileage may vary on that, however.”

All in good fun

At less than $1, it is all in good fun. The app will, of course, not improve performance or speed. So as long as it is all “sound a fury signifying nothing,” why not take this concept a step further? UK’s Group Lotus Engineering offers a noise-generating system called the HALOsonic External Electronic Sound Synthesis system. It can make a hybrid car sound like  a star cruiser, or any number of unexpected vehicles.


Touch Arcade
Green Car Reports 


  1. Joel on

    Xlr8 turned my average car into exotic/luxury car with just one click. Very cool.

  2. emilyconwell on

    I wonder if they will come out with an app that also vibrates the car the way you expect from certain models?