BMW made the headlines earlier this week when its South Korean division launched several subscription plans. The most controversial of the lot was the heated front seats for an $18 monthly fee, joined by a heated steering wheel for $10. These create comforts are also available with an annual plan or a three-year subscription, with the possibility of buying outright.
We dug a bit deeper to see whether other regional BMW ConnectedDrive Stores have been updated to include these items. Sure enough, an extended list is available in the UK where you can spend £79 on a Map Update Package. It can be done via USB or by simply downloading an over-the-air update. There’s also an online entertainment voucher for a yearly fee of £179, which gives you access to more than 30 million songs.
In addition, the adaptive M Suspension can be activated permanently for £399 and there’s a safety camera information subscription for £25. Elsewhere, the Driving Assistant Plus, High Beam Assistant, and the IconicSounds Sport we talked about in the previous article are available in the UK as well.
BMW Australia has a similar ConnectedDrive Store up and running, and yes, you can get a subscription for heated front seats and steering wheel. While this sounds strange, not all of us need these features throughout the whole year. On the other hand, it’s quite frustrating to know the car already has the necessary wiring built in, but the functionality is blocked behind a paywall.
It’s the same story with the Adaptive M Suspension and the Active Cruise Control (with Stop & Go function) since the sensors are already installed on the car but they remain inactive until you purchase the feature. In other words, the cars are technically not “decontented” since the necessary hardware is there. You can get these features just like before by ticking boxes on the options list when ordering the car, so nothing really changes if you’re buying the old-fashioned way.
As bad as these subscriptions may seem, they might turn out to be a good idea to save some money in the long run for those who are leasing and don’t need the extra trinkets. That said, heated seats are considered a basic feature nowadays among mainstream cars, so paying a subscription in a luxury vehicle is a tough pill to swallow.
Source: BMW UK