The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS has a secret car wash mode

Here's one gee-whiz feature that's actually pretty cool.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
2 min read

In addition to the 900,000 other things I do as Roadshow's managing editor, I'm the guy responsible for our fleet of test cars. I'm a stickler for ensuring our testers stay shiny and clean, so it seems that a new bit of tech in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class will be right up my alley.

It's called car wash mode, and it does a number of things to get the 2020 ready for a bath. Once activated, the SUV's suspension automatically raises to its highest position, making sure water and soap can get into all those nooks and crannies. In addition, car wash mode folds in the mirrors, makes sure the windows and sunroof are closed, temporarily disables the rain-sensing wipers (I cannot tell you how many times I've entered a car wash with these on), turns the climate control into its recirculating setting and activates the 360-degree camera, in case you need a better view of where you are as you head into the wash.

When you're all done, just drive out of the car wash. As soon as the GLS hits 12 miles per hour, it'll automatically put your car back the way it was.

There isn't a car wash mode hard button on the dashboard or center console, however. A Mercedes spokesperson told me it's built into the MBUX infotainment system, in the "quick access" screen of the vehicle settings menu. You can also activate this via voice command: "Hey Mercedes, enter car wash mode."

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class debuts at the New York Auto Show this week, and will hit dealerships later this year. Car wash mode comes standard on every new GLS, so my fellow Roadshow staffers have no excuse for handing one of these test cars back in anything less than pristine condition.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class brings big luxe to the Big Apple

See all photos