Mercedes-Benz excels at building vehicles designed to coddle occupants, but its three-row GLS SUV is pretty good at taking care of itself, too. Hidden among all the 2020 GLS580’s tech wizardry and luxury appointments is a nondescript function that’s actually pretty cool: a car wash mode. It automatically prepares the car to get the most out of an automatic wash and protect itself from inadvertent harm.
The GLS is Mercedes-Benz’s largest SUV, a three-row behemoth that shares its platform with the smaller GLE-Class. Mercedes intends it to be the SUV equivalent of the brand’s flagship S-Class sedan, and it’s packed with comfort, convenience and driver assistance features.
The car wash function is standard on the GLS and preps the car for an automatic car wash in these ways:
- Raises the suspension to its highest position
- Folds in the exterior mirrors
- Closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof
- Suppresses the rain-sensing windshield wipers so they remain off
- Switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode
- Activates the 360-degree camera’s front image to assist the driver when entering the carwash
Drivers engage the system via the quick-access menu on the Mercedes-Benz User Experience multimedia system’s central touchscreen or by saying “Hey Mercedes, enter car wash mode.” It deactivates automatically when the driver exits the car wash and accelerates above 12 mph. (Naturally, please don’t try and reach that speed during the wash itself. It doesn’t end well.)
After a long, dusty, bug-splattered road trip, I found the feature useful, but with the GLS580’s base price of $99,795, it should clean itself, right?
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