The Luxury Of Silence: How Buick And Cadillac Noise Tuning Differs23
Buick has marketed its “QuietTuning” approach to designing cars since 2008 when the motif debuted with the first-generation Enclave. However, it’s not a blanket approach for General Motors’ other luxury brand Cadillac.
The Detroit Free Press reported on an in-depth look at QuietTuning and also spoke to Cadillac about how each approaches the luxury of silence. At Buick, the latter absolutely rings true. The brand works to keep the car hushed in nearly every respect. Whether it be noise from the powertrain, outside factors such as traffic, or road imperfections such as potholes that scatter across so many local roads.
Overall, QuietTuning combs over Buick vehicles in the tires, suspension, and other elements such as the windows. The latter use acoustic laminated glass, which is slightly thicker than regular glass to muffle sounds outside of the car. The suspension of each Buick model boasts coil spring isolators in the suspension, which work to deliver a smoother ride, while the shock absorbers are tuned specifically to stabilize the ride when the driver encounters an impact.
At Cadillac, some of the same approaches matter, but market research showed Cadillac customers wanted a different kind of experience. Per Ken Kornas, the Cadillac CT5 product manager, its research showed the brand’s customers wanted a quiet vehicle, but also wanted to hear what they wanted to hear. That includes piped-in engine tones to emphasize acceleration to emphasize performance and luxury. Kornas said Cadillac has a “curated library” of engine sounds it uses for its vehicles. The sounds are exclusive to Cadillac, but Buick wants no part of the artificial tones.
Instead, Buick will stick to the hushed library motif.
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Source: The Detroit Free Press
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The only noise I want piped into my Caddy are smooth sax riffs from Kenny G.
Kudos to Buick. As for Cadillac, I guess I shouldn’t expect anything more at this point. And I quote: “Per Ken Kornas, the Cadillac CT5 product manager, its research showed the brand’s customers wanted a quiet vehicle, but also wanted to hear what they wanted to hear”. Goes on to talk about “piped in” noise. What a joke.
Just who are these customers? Where are they finding them? This would certainly fall under the theme of Cadillac chasing M.B, BMW and Audi.
If artificial engine noise helps Cadillac sell more cars then I’m all for it, but they must give the option to turn it off.
In answer to your question, “just who are these customers,” the answer is “not enough.” It’s pathetic how Cadillac hews to their market research driven product planning after the strategy has proven itself to be an utter failure. Even more absurd is that they only question their own customers instead of pursuing those who considered Cadillacs only to buy something else. This practice is rampant at GM and has the effect of producing “data” that tells them whatever they want to hear. For example, the Camaro designers who claimed to have “data” that says nobody cares about outward visibility.
As Steve Jobs said of focus groups and market research: “most people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
Not everyone has the product planning genius of Steve Jobs but it’s still wise not to let market research overrule common sense. Build a strong brand identity with quality products that embody that identity, and the customers will come.
Piped in engine noises on Cadillac? Sounds ridiculous. What will they do when the electric cars are finally here?
GM spends a fortune on R&D yet can’t build a competitive luxury vehicle. Sometimes I think Buick actually puts together a better product. I get Cadillac competing with global brands like Audi and BMW but Cadillac needs its own innovations.
I believe any artificial sound or piped in sound on a vehicle cheapens the experience of owning it. If the vehicle is perceived to have a certain sound it should be built to actually have the capability of that sound.
It’s kind of like fake hood scoops or air extractors, why?
Buick has been a more quiet car/brand for some time. My family has owned/still owns many of them. It’s what I currently drive. I went with the Buick Encore in a large part due to the quiet and isolated ride quality they give. But like nearly every brand out there, Buick has also begun to go with firmer seats and bigger rims. If I was able to change anything on my car, it would be slightly smaller rims with more sidewall for the tire and softer seating.
Piped in sound or not; I hope Cadillac has the sense to let the customer to turn it off if so desired.
I have a 2017 Buick LaCrosse and just bought a 2019 Cadillac xt4 and Buick is a better ride than the xt4 .the sounds are more in the xt4
Fake sounds for people with plastic faces and plastic tits…
What is with the plastic faces? I’d say every once in a while I see someone who did the plastic surgery right. But %85 of the time it’s a horror show. And they’re smiling like the Joker anyway in some status simple glow.
“Only rich people can afford to disfigure themselves like this!”
eyeroll with butter, please
Some (many) look like burn victims but somehow think they look good. Nuts!
I see what Buick is doing and I congratulate them for standing out. For an automaker that is attainable luxury, how do they fair in overall refinement compared to the current Lincolns and Lexus line-up?
My Regal has a taut but comfortable ride quality with good handling. The car is very quite with the windows up. Also the steering wheel is perfectly weighted and feel good in the hand with excellent steering feel. Compared to my previous car, the B6 Passat, the steering between the Regal and my last car, is the same. The B6 Passat had terrible ride quality compared to my Regal.
It’s weird. Whenever I break wind in my Buick — I can hear it loud and clear. Am I missing something?
I think maybe those are the times when an overly quiet car may not be so good? haha.
In 1965 and 1966 Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis were advertising how quiet their luxury models were and how smooth riding they were in fact showed a diamond dealer cutting a diamond in the back seat of the Mercury Marquis while it was being driven!
Ford did a great job w their quiet smooth riding luxury models back then!
In fact the 67 and 68 Cougar had 130 more pounds of insulation in them over the Mustang!
Well, the ’65’s were all new and much improved in quiet and comfort. Coil springs, curved side glass, etc.
Cadillac engines have long been pretty noisy under hard acceleration. The mag writers complain, but the company must want their customers to hear something when they stand on it. Piping it in is the only way to satisfy those who do and those who don’t want to hear it, but it does sound silly and artificial.
*One correction: QuietTuning debuted on the 2005 Buick LaCrosse, not the 2008 Enclave.
Well, I don’t know if piped in sound sounds artificial or not. I suspect a lot of the critics don’t either. If that’s a way to meet noise requirements and give the driver a little input, so be it. I’d like to hear a little more from my 3.6 in the XTS when I floor it. It’s actually not a bad sounding motor when it’s winding. Did Cadillac go to duals in the 50’s to make it quieter? I think not. I also like laminated side glass. Makes a big difference at highway speeds.
I haven’t ever understood this process . Pumping in white noise to cancel out noise that should be built into a car with triple seals on doors and double acoutic glass and sound deading .
“Acoustic laminated glass, which is slightly thicker than regular glass to muffle sounds outside of the car. ”
That’s not how acoustic laminated glass works. Maybe try doing a little research before you regurgitate GM’s press releases?
Acoustic laminated glass features a layer of specially designed vinyl sandwiched between to layers of glass. The acoustic film reduces noise without increasing the thickness of the glass layers. Before its development the only way to reduce noise was to use thicker, heavier glass, which of course harms performance and efficiency.