Mercedes-AMG Delivers ‘Emotion Start’ for the Intentionally Inconsiderate

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Everyone has had that one neighbor with an impressively loud car that shook you out of bed every time they booted it up. Even if you absolutely loved their ride, you might not have appreciated it frightening you at sunrise. Fortunately, automakers have begun implementing features like Ford’s “Good Neighbor Mode,” to make this less of a problem on their more-raucous products. The Germans have had a similar idea, but they’re implementing it backwards.

Rather than having a way to select/schedule the times you want your loud vehicle to run quiet, Mercedes-AMG has all of its models automatically kicking over with the exhaust flaps closed. If you want their signature burble you have to select it using a loudness button typically located on the central console after startup — or activate the new “Emotion Start” feature. 

Presumably named after the phrase German engineers utter to themselves when attempting to get psyched up for the birth of a child, wedding day, or some other major life event, the system requires AMG owners to yank on the paddle shifters to activate. From there, the car knows to open up the pipes and rev it up a tad higher when you push the ignition button.

Then it immediately goes back into the default quiet mode, forcing you to flip the aforementioned loudness toggle if you want more sound. While similar to other quiet/loud settings found on modern automobiles in theory, the precise way in which Daimler’s performance arm is handling this has left us scratching our heads. Why not just leave it loud at that point? Is it just for bothering the neighbors and having an easy way of denying it?

Car and Driver posted a video of Emotion Start in action on a 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 the day before Thanksgiving, claiming similar befuddlement regarding how the newly standard equipment operates. It also complained about Mercedes limiting free revs to 4,000 rpm — meaning you can’t go ape shit on the throttle to impress everyone in the high school parking lot. Granted, that’s not the kind of place you’d see many AMGs. But it’d still be nice to have the option for dads enduring a particularly brutal midlife crisis.

Obviously, we are not the target market Mercedes-AMG has in mind. Other media outlets will undoubtedly call this “charmingly German” while praising its quirkiness. This is a matter of taste and probably won’t be hurting the brand’s overall sales volume. Your author just found it odd and were wondering if you felt similarly.

[Image: Daimler]

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