BMW’s latest instructional video is likely to spark controversy since it focuses on subscriptions necessary to unlock certain features for a limited amount of time or permanently. The new X1 is used to show how an owner can gain access to certain functions after taking delivery of the vehicle. These are blocked behind a paywall until you pay a monthly or yearly fee. Some are also accessible with a three-year plan.
It’s important to point out that an X1 ordered from the factory with features shown here available on a subscription plan will have those goodies available right away, so you won’t have to pay twice. On the other hand, the hardware for the “Front Seat Heating” option illustrated in the video is already installed, so you’re basically paying for the software to unlock the functionality.
Since the video highlights the BMW ConnectedDrive Store in the UK, we did a bit of research to see which items are available in the country. Some of the features are offered with a one-month free trial, such as the High Beam Assistant, Driving Assistant Plus, Drive Recorder, Parking Assistant Professional, Traffic Camera Information, Steering Wheel Heating, and the Front Seat Heating.
Should you want Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, it’ll set you back £750 to permanently activate it. The Adaptive M Suspension requires a one-time fee of £399, along with Apple CarPlay Preparation for £265, and the Drive Recorder for £199.
As for the functions available on a subscription plan, the High Beam Assistant highlighted in the video is £10 / month, £100 / year, £150 / 3 years, and £200 to have it permanently enabled.
BMW UK charges £10 / month for Steering Wheel Heating and offers it with a one-year plan for £100. You can also opt for a three-year subscription for £150 or pay £200 to have it forever. Front Seat Heating is £15 / month, £150 / year, £250 / 3 years, and £350 for unlimited access.
As controversial as this may seem, BMW isn’t all alone in the subscription game. Many automakers are offering similar services to create a new revenue stream.