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Luxury cars really do get pulses racing

London, UK (2 September 2008): New clinical research released today proves that the sound of a luxury car engine appeals to our primal instincts, surprisingly more so for women, even if they claim to have no interest in cars.

The study by luxury motor insurers Hiscox, found that the roar of a Maserati turned women’s heads the most.

Participants of the clinical study were exposed to a recording of various super-car engines being revved. They listened to the roaring engines of a Maserati, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari; and they were also exposed to a recording of a Volkswagen Polo, to ensure a fair comparison of arousal was measured with an every-day vehicle.

After 20 minutes their response was measured by the levels of the hormone, testosterone, secreted in their saliva.

The results showed:

  • The Maserati had the biggest impact on women with 100% of the female participants showing a significant increase in testosterone secretion
  • 100% of female participants showed a decrease in testosterone in reaction to the Polo
  • 50% of male participants showed an increase in testosterone in reaction to the Maserati
  • 60% of male participants showed an increase in testosterone in reaction to the Lamborghini

Despite nearly 60% of female participants admitting they were nowhere near as passionate about cars as their male counterparts, the women actually exceeded the men when it came to experiencing driving excitement, showing that their preferences were over-shadowed by their basic instincts.

David Moxon, the psychologist who conducted the study said: “We saw significant peaks in the amount of testosterone in the body, particularly in women. Testosterone is indicative of positive arousal in the human body so we can confidently conclude from the results out today that the roar of a luxury car engine actually does cause a primeval physiological response.”

Prior to the research taking place 63% of women and 66% of men admitted that their heads are turned when they hear a deep throaty roar in the road; proving primal instinct still rules the basic physiology of the human state of arousal in the 21st century.

Steve Langan, Managing Director of Hiscox UK commented: “We knew owners of luxury cars felt a connection with the sound of their vehicles, many of our  customers turn the music down when they start their ignition.  We have now scientifically proven the physical attraction people feel when it comes to cars.  We are amazed by the results.  Luxury cars do quite literally turn heads.”


For further information

Resonate PR:

Kim Power – or 020 7861 2430

Abbie Cohen – or 020 7861 3815

Sarah or 020 7861 3970

Hiscox Group Communications

Kylie O’Connor – or 020 7448 6656



David Moxon conducted the experiments on 40 participants, 20 men and 20 women. All were from professional backgrounds, aged between 22 and 61 years of age. 

Each participant was exposed to a variety of car engine sound tracks for 30 seconds.  The cars used were:

  • A Volkswagen Polo 
  • A Lamborghini 
  • A Maserati 
  • A Ferrari

Their reactions were measured via salivary testosterone and a psychological questionnaire.  (A testosterone measure was taken from each participant before the research began and then compared with the final sample taken once the research was complete.)

A loud noise is likely to have an arousing effect on a person’s physiology but this can be pleasant or unpleasant. By testing the saliva of participants clinical researchers were able to measure testosterone levels – a hormone which indicates arousal.

The data captured was then analysed accordingly.

About Hiscox

Hiscox, headquartered in Bermuda, is a specialist insurance group listed on the London Stock Exchange. There are three main underwriting parts of the Group – Hiscox Global Markets, Hiscox UK and Europe, and Hiscox International.  Hiscox Global Markets underwrites mainly internationally traded business in the London Market – generally large or complex business which needs to be shared with other insurers or needs the international licences of Lloyd’s. Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe offer a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as high net worth individuals. Hiscox International includes operations in Bermuda, Guernsey and USA. Hiscox Insurance Company Ltd, Hiscox Underwriting Ltd, Hiscox ASM Ltd and Hiscox Syndicates Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

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