BMW is trying to cement itself as the world’s most technologically advanced automotive brand. With new technologies from Carbon Core chassis tech to the new 7 Series’ Remote Parking feature and Gesture Control, the Bavarians are pushing technology more than ever before. One of the brand’s newest features is Apple CarPlay compatibility. This is popular among millennials who want their cars to basically just be extensions of their smart phones.
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Apple CarPlay is relatively new to the automotive world, at the moment. Not every automaker has its compatibility just yet, but almost all are working on it. BMW does offer CarPlay compatibility in each and every model, which is a nice feature. However, what’s not so nice is that it’s an additional option, one that costs $300. Frankly, that’s ridiculous and shouldn’t cost an additional penny on any model.
BMW already gets quite a bit of criticism for not offering some basic technology features as standard, such as a back-up camera or heated seats. There are some KIAs that come with those features as-standard and cost less than half the price of the average BMW. So BMW’s penny-pinching is well-documented at this point. However, Apple CarPlay being an additional, $300 option is frankly insulting to buyers.
It’s not even the actual cost that’s bothersome, as a $300 option for a BMW is basically nothing. However, CarPlay is a bit of software and should be standard on all BMWs, without question. The real kicker? It’s still a $300 option on the BMW 7 Series. I jumped on BMW’s online editor today to build my own Alpina B7 just for fun and noticed that CarPlay was still an additional option. If you didn’t already know, the Alpina B7 wears a starting sticker price of $137,000(!). Surely, for that money, BMW and Alpina can find a way to throw in Apple CarPlay.
This sort of penny-pinching is giving the brand a bad reputation. Frugality is one thing, being downright cheap is another. This is the sort of bean-counting that General Motors is known for and should be beneath a brand like BMW.
Admittedly, if I were buying a new BMW, I’d probably still check the box and buy the damn CarPlay, but I’d bitch and moan about it like a 75-year old man complains about how back in his day, an ice cream cone was only a nickle. It’s frankly outrageous that BMW can charge an additional cost for a bit of software on a car that is already lacking features Korean hatchbacks come with as standard equipment. Hell, those Korean hatchbacks come with Apple CarPlay as-standard.
I can understand (more like keep quiet about) cars like the BMW 230i and 320i not having CarPlay as-standard, being that those are the bargain models that come with little equipment. But on anything else, especially a 7 Series? That’s ludicrous. So, BMW, please make features like Apple CarPlay standard equipment in the future, or at least a no-cost option. This sort of frugality is beneath a company known for prestige and luxury.