The new Honda Civic Type R isn’t exactly what you call subtle when it comes to its design, with plenty of areas that will attract the attention of your eyeballs. One of the most prominent highlights of the wild exterior are the three tailpipes at the vehicle’s rear, something which was seen on prototype units even before its introduction. If you’ve ever wondered why they are even there, here’s the answer.

According to an article by Road & Track, the setup is important to the FWD King of the ‘Ring as both a treat and a relief for your ears. Therefore, if you thought it served as tribute to the Ferrari F40, sorry to disappoint you.

Rob Keough, senior product planner for the tenth-generation Civic explained: “Traditionally with these big flow exhaust systems, when you get up into highway speeds, you can get a lot of droning, booming, buzzing—not very comfortable for high speed cruising,”

Honda wanted to ensure your ears aren’t punished if you plan to take the Civic Type R on a long journey, and it wanted to do so without making things expensive. This meant the introduction of synthesised engine sounds and complicated multi-mode muffler systems was not an option.

The solution was to split the single exhaust coming from the engine into three pipes, whereby the two outer pipes feature large straight-flow mufflers. Meanwhile, the smaller pipe between them acts as a resonator that is designed to “perform a particular aural trick.”

In operation, some of the exhaust flows through the middle resonator, generating a louder, more aggressive growl for when you’re on full acceleration from a stop. However, as you get to high speed cruising, exhaust flowing through the resonator hits a resonant frequency.

At this point, the resonator gets stuffed with air, stalling the airflow, and the resulting backpressure diverts the exhaust to flow exclusively through the larger outer mufflers, reducing the cabin noise at highway speeds.

“It basically diminishes the resonator effect at that point, attenuating the sound inside the car. You still get your big flow through the outboard pipes, but you get a more refined in-cabin experience at high-speed cruising,” said Keough, adding that the resonator can sometimes create a Venturi effect under certain conditions. In that state, it will actually start sucking air in, which flows out via the outside pipes.

“When it’s not flowing through the center resonator, it’s not generating that extra resonance. So it’s not like you have zero exhaust sound, but you’re not generating this extra sporty sound that comes from the resonator,” he also noted.

The whole system adjusts sound and flow depending on the car’s speed and engine RPM, all without any extra moving parts or electronics. “We didn’t build in servos or flap valves. This is a very simply designed system where you’re getting the effect without additional moving parts. It’s a very durable, low cost and effective solution,” Keough explained.

Of course, if you can do without the well-engineered exhaust system, and plan to replace it with a “tin Milo of loud noises,” Keough is fine with that too: “We wanted to deliver a high quality, sporty, but refined experience for this customer, but we already know some kids are gonna want more noise. We’re not going to be particularly offended.”

GALLERY: 2017 Honda Civic Type R