Audi e-tron “Engine” Sound Criticized in Avengers: Endgame

As an automotive “journalist,” I don’t get too many opportunities to participate in the single biggest, most meaningful, and important debate of our times: should we spoil movies? But today I finally get to live my dream and share some minor spoilers about a piece of popular culture that I saw this weekend.

Car fans who went to see Avengers: Endgame this weekend were greeted with something even weirder than seeing Thanos kill Dumbledore (truly the crossover event we’ve all been waiting for).

In a scene [actual real minor spoiler ahead] in which Tony Stark meets up with Captain America at Shield headquarters, he pulls up to the location in an Audi e-tron GT, which you may have seen Robert Downey Jr driving around LA recently.

The car made a remarkable racket, considering its all electric-powertrain. The issue was brought up by the automotive industry’s favorite punching bag/Elon Musk-enthusiasts, Electrek, who accused the car of using an internal combustion engine’s soundtrack.

“Tony Stark is seen driving the e-tron GT aggressively and they obviously added gas engine sounds,” writes Fred Lambert in the piece.

Having seen the movie, I can tell you that the noise is unusual, and does sound bassy enough to be confused with an internal combustion engine, but according to the automaker—and this isn’t a stretch, I genuinely believe the company here—the sound was designed by Audi and is supposed to suggest electric mobility.

“Audi experts developed a digitally-generated sound for the car,” wrote an Audi spokesperson in a statement. “This sound was then further developed together with the sound experts from the filmmakers in order to fit perfectly into the scene.”

The topic of EV soundscapes is especially important for Audi, which knows that sound is one of the senses that will come to define its cars for owners.

“As well as teasing the series production version of the e-tron GT in the movie, Audi is also teasing the topic of sound for its up-coming electric cars,” wrote Audi.  “In the near future, regulations will require that electric cars make a sound in many markets around the world.”

This, though, is not exactly what the e-tron GT will sound like. The automaker is quick to add that the sound you heard or will hear (I assume only the two options exist) in the movie is just a tease. The production vehicle will sound a little different.

So for anyone concerned that Marvel just plumb forgot that Audi was making an EV and threw in the sound of a V8, you can rest easy knowing that the sound is correct. That ought to allow you to enjoy the scene where Thanos reveals that he was actually Arya Stark the whole time! Valar morghulis, indeed.