BMW optional extras now include $18 per month subscription for heated seats
Not available in the US, yetBy Rob Thubron 24 comments
WTF?! With so many services and products now available as subscriptions, more people are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of choice and financial outlay. So, it's surprising to see BMW decide that car buyers in certain countries might be interested in more monthly payments, including one for heating the seats in their new luxury vehicle.
In what looks like a near Diablo Immortal-level of microtransaction BS, BMW is offering optional extras in its vehicles for a monthly cost. This isn't something that's available in the US, at least not yet, but you can find it on the carmaker's websites in countries including South Korea, the UK, Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Going off the UK site, adding front seat heating to what is already a very expensive vehicle will cost the equivalent of $18 per month. A one-year sub will set you back around $180, three years is close to $300, or the "unlimited" option is $417.
Other extras, which have been around since 2020, include a heated steering wheel for $12 per month---the same price as adding high beam assist---and Driving Assistant Plus for $42 p/m.
This isn't a simple case of customers breaking down the cost of any optional extras they want to add to their vehicle. Hardware such as heated seats is already in place; buyers are just paying a monthly fee to remove the software block---until someone figures out a way to hack it. BMW's justification for this is that it allows a new owner to access features the original buyer chose not to purchase. It's not about making more money, honestly.
Back in 2019, BMW started charging an $80 yearly subscription, or $300 for 20 years, just to use Apple CarPlay. The outcry led to BMW backtracking and making the feature a standard one across its lineup later that year.