Car and Driver Tests Mercedes’ Free Driving Assist

Car and Driver tested a new feature called “Free Driving Assist” on the Mercedes GLS and GLE.

This looks extremely silly!

Here is the article, written by Connor Hoffman from Car and Driver:

We had a little bit too much fun with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450’s Free Driving Assist, or “bounce mode” as we like to call it. This feature uses the air suspension to bounce the car up and down and is meant to help GLS and GLE drivers shimmy their way out of sand and mud while off-roading. But we primarily used it at stoplights to elicit reactions from surrounding drivers.

To activate Free Driving Assist, the Mercedes SUV needs to be in the Offroad driving mode, which is only available under 70 mph. From there, go to the Assistance menu from the home screen, select Offroad Assistant (the car needs to be in gear to access this menu), then Free Driving Assist. Once this is selected, the air suspension starts pumping, and the car starts gettin’ jiggy wit it. You can either hit Stop on the screen or drive faster than nine mph to shut it off.

Also in the Offroad Assistant menu is the Individual Wheel Control system. Here, you can raise or lower the ride height of each individual wheel via four sliders on the screen. It also works up to a maximum speed of nine mph. There’s also a driving mode called Curve that uses the air suspension to essentially lean into corners, virtually eliminating body roll.

The Airmatic suspension comes standard on the GLS and GLE, and the Offroad Assistant is part of a $6500 E-Active Body Control option that requires 20” or larger wheels. Our test car was fitted with 21-inch five-spoke wheels; a $1,750 option. But only you can decide if it’s worth paying extra for an air suspension that can bounce the car up and down on command.


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