Mercedes-AMG has several tricks up several sleeves for the 2020 model year, one of them being Emotion Start. As demonstrated by Car and Driver, the feature can be manually activated on startup on any new AMG model with any engine. Pulling and holding one of the shift paddles while pushing the start button opens up the active exhaust valves and revs the engine about 300 rpm higher than normal. The result is a louder, growlier snarl once the engine catches, a demonstration of the vim one buys an AMG for in the first place. It's the same deniable act of latent aggression as the kid in elementary school who says "Present" at roll call instead of "Here," telling everyone within earshot, "That's right, chumps," without having to look them all in the eye and do it.
This sounds like something fitted for long-time owners who've lamented to dealers that the new turbocharged engines don't tickle the testosterone like the old 6.2-liter, but we don't know that. Emotion Start only lasts for the initial bray, though — after that, the revs and exhaust flaps return to their regularly hushed programming. To keep the noise going, the driver would need to press the active exhaust button on the center tunnel. Head over to C/D to check out a video explanation.
Among the other innovations headed to owners of 2020-model-year AMGs are the Carwash Function and the Energizing Coach. The Carwash Function is standard fit on the GLS only, and would only be useful to those particular few who take their $76,000 to automated washers. The feature raises the vehicles to the maximum suspension height, closes all windows and the sunroof, folds the side mirrors, disables the rain sensor so the windshield wipers stay put, switches the HVAC to recirculating mode, and activates the 360-degree camera system to help guide the driver into the wash. When everything is dry and the GLS is moving above 12 miles per hour again, Carwash Function shuts itself off.
The Energizing Coach is nested within the Energizing Comfort feature, itself part of the Air Balance package with extended ambient lighting. Available on any model, it uses an algorithm that combines information measured by a Garmin wearable to ascertain a driver's physiological state with data about the drive itself, from traffic conditions to how long a person's been behind the wheel. The coach then recommends a cabin ambiance to help the driver and passengers "feel refreshed and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys," such as seat massages, a particular kind of music, and mood lighting. Dr Gudrun Schoenherr, the psychologist and physical therapist who spent 10 years developing Energizing Comfort, said of it, "Alexa closes the curtains for you at home, and Siri helps you when you’re walking around, but when you’re in the car, you have a special [assistant]; the practical assistant for that environment."