I guess we should have seen this coming: one car company is beginning to charge for "premium" features on vehicles by the month.

Media outlets are reporting that BMW is beginning to charge monthly, yearly, or lifetime subscription rates on certain features of their vehicles.

It appears that this has been happening in other countries for a few years now.

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The Verge is reporting that BMW is now selling subscriptions to its vehicle's premium features in several countries now, though it could not confirm which features in which countries.

One thing we do know: subscriptions have not hit the US.  Yet.

According to the story, BMW is beginning to offer "microtransactions" for some of the premium options on their vehicles.

Want to use your left turn signal? That'll be $5 per month.

Just kidding, turn signals are included in the price of the vehicle.

On which premium features is BMW beginning to charge a subscription for in some countries?

via bmwusa.com
via bmwusa.com

Well, $18 per month will get you heated front seats in South Korea, Germany, the UK, and some other countries.

The Verge is reporting that BMW began making the "microtransactions" available back in 2020.  Editors at the website were unable to get a response from BMW on specifics, like which features are available in which countries.

A monthly subscription to heat your BMW’s front seats costs roughly $18, with options to subscribe for a year ($180), three years ($300), or pay for “unlimited” access for $415.- via The Verge


As for pricing, The Verge is reporting that a monthly subscription for heated front seats is around $18. You can also opt for a yearly subscription and save a little bit of money: $180. A three-year subscription will cost around $300, or you can go full monty for $415.

Other features that BMW is offering on a subscription basis are automatic High Beam Assistant, safety camera footage access, Driving Assistant Plus

Here in the US, according to the BMW website, a BMW 330i sedan has a "Premium" option for its heated seats. In that package, heated seats, heated steering wheel, head-up display, and lumbar support are all included for an extra $1,900.

What does that tell me? Well, if I don't want the head-up display, the lumbar support, or the heated steering wheel, $415 for unlimited heated seats might just be a bargain.

via bmwusa.com
via bmwusa.com

An interesting note about the subscriptions: when you "order" the premium feature, BMW enables the software that allows the heated seats to work in your vehicle. What does that mean? It means that the hardware is already installed in the vehicle. All BMW is doing is "flipping the switch" to turn on that feature.

The heating elements are already in the seats. The wiring harnesses that carry the electricity to the heating elements are already installed.

I wonder if someone is working on a "software bypass" idea?

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