BMW made some pretty big headlines a few months back by announcing subscription payment options for physical features, such as heated seats. They weren’t good headlines, either. BMW was roasted in the media for offering customers the ability to pay monthly for such options and U.S. customers were wondering which features could be subscription-based. Well Car and Driver recently found a menu screen in their BMW X1 test car that shows all of the options that can be paid for monthly or even yearly.

While messing with the X1’s new iDrive 8, C&D found the subscription menu screen and figured out which options can be rented and for how much. For example, the BMW Drive Recorder and traffic camera alerts can both be had for monthly or yearly payments. The payment options seem to be one month, one year, three years, or unlimited. If you choose unlimited, the option is permanently attached to the car.

According to C&D, the staff was unhappy with the suggestion of subscription services. However, as frustrating as it seems at first, there’s actually some logic to the system. Even though the option to pay monthly is… well optional, customers can still perma-buy options outright and any options that are bought in full from the factory stay with the car forever.

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Why are the options hidden in an iDrive menu and not listed somewhere on BMW’s site? Because those options can change, depending on the car. Not every BMW is available with every option, so BMW found it to be more digestible for customers if each and every car had a digital list of every subscription-based services.

“Upgrade availability depends on factors such as model year, equipment level, and software version, so this keeps things more digestible for consumers,” a BMW rep told C&D. Few people like the idea of subscription-based services, and they are inherently unwelcome. However, they’re not as bad as people think and can actually be quite helpful to customers in a pinch.

[Source: Car and Driver]