Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
August 1, 2017
Photos By: Ford Motor Company

The exhaust system is often one of the first things Mustang owners modify when looking for performance or enhanced sound. You can score a Hat Trick with the right pipes, as headers, mid-pipes and mufflers (and tips) can give your Stang horsepower, a rockin’ rumble, and improved style.

Ford has classically had good-sounding exhaust, just look at the Boss 302 with its exhaust cutouts and the Shelby GT350 with “Normal” and “Sport” mode. And now Ford takes is a step further with the new four-mode Active Valve Performance Exhaust for the 2018 Mustang GT.

“I love the sound of the V8, but it can be loud, and you can’t annoy people in your neighborhood,” said Steve Von Foerster, the former head of vehicle engineering for Ford Motor Company, who now leads 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.’”

Steve Von Foerster is aware of what happens when the pipes are singing too loud, as someone called the cops on him recently. On an otherwise peaceful morning in his suburban Detroit neighborhood, Von Foerster had just backed a Shelby GT350 Mustang out of the driveway (Shelby GT350 is equipped with a two-mode active exhaust), and as the Voodoo V8 engine cracked to life, an annoyed neighbor dialed the police. Von Foerster left the scene before the officers arrived, and he didn’t end up with a ticket, nor did he get angry. However, the incident sparked an idea.

That idea resulted in the industry-first Quiet Start, known as “Good Neighbor Mode” among Mustang engineers. “The new features on properly equipped 2018 Mustang GT vehicles allow drivers to keep engine sound at a minimum if they wish and to program quiet start-up times in advance,” Von Foerster says.

“While some sports cars offer active exhaust systems with on/off functionality, Mustang’s Quiet Start is the first to allow scheduling of times.” He said. “Using steering wheel-mounted thumb controls, drivers toggle through a menu in the instrument cluster to select when they want to fire up their Mustang GT without sharing the event with neighbors. For example, between 8pm and 7am, drivers can keep the peace by scheduling their car to start, minus the roar.”

According to Von Foerster, “Both new Quiet Exhaust mode and Quiet Start features will be part of the available active valve performance exhaust system on the new Mustang GT, along with different exhaust volumes for Normal, Sport and Track modes, giving customers more choice than ever before.

Ford also told us that according to a recent poll by Ranker.com, loud engine revving ranks among the most annoying noises neighbors make, alongside other common nuisances including power tools, barking dogs, and band practice. Only early-morning lawn mowing is more robustly despised. With new Quiet Exhaust mode and Quiet Start, Ford is doing its part to keep the peace.

“Active-valve performance exhaust gives Mustang owners the best of both worlds—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,” said Matt Flis, Ford exhaust development engineer. When sounds get up into the upper-70-decibel range, that’s typically about when they start to bother people,” said 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.”

On Mustang GT equipped with the available all-digital 12-inch instrument cluster, the exhaust mode menu appears within the pony menu. With the standard 4-inch cluster, exhaust mode is found within the settings menu. Active valve performance exhaust is one of many changes Mustang fans will see when cars reach showrooms later this year. In addition to its restyled exterior design and refined interior, Mustang will offer an all-digital 12-inch instrument cluster, a 10-speed automatic transmission, MagneRide damping system and SYNC Connect with FordPass.

With its new Drag Strip mode, Mustang GT now reaches 60 mph in under four seconds – faster than a $94,000 Porsche 911 Carrera – setting a new standard as the quickest Mustang GT ever.