BMW will now sell you the heated seats in your car as a monthly subscription, for a little more than a high-resolution Stan or Netflix subscription.
BMW Australia has begun offering heated seats and in-built dash cams as subscription services – much like your monthly subscription to Stan, Netflix or Spotify.
In line with overseas markets including South Korea, BMW’s ConnectedDrive online store now offers the ability to purchase heated front seats, a heated steering wheel or an in-built dash cam as monthly subscriptions.
Provided their vehicle is equipped with the required technical hardware, buyers can spend $19 per month on a heated steering wheel or the BMW Drive Recorder dash cam, or $29 for heated seats.
These are also available on one-year and three-year plans, or to purchase for unlimited use for between $349 and $589, depending on the feature selected.
It’s unclear which BMW vehicles are eligible for the feature subscriptions, however the only new models remaining in the brand’s line-up without support for over-the-air downloadable updates are the departing X1 and current X2 small SUVs.
Exactly which option boxes needed to be ticked before purchase to support the subscriptions is unclear; a vehicle needs to have the seat, steering wheel or camera hardware to support the features, yet for some reason, not the actual features themselves.
In addition to the subscription services, BMW’s ConnectedDrive store offers various features as one-off purchases, including automatic high beam to the headlights for $259, wireless Apple CarPlay “preparation” for $450, and adaptive M suspension for $650.
Like the monthly services, vehicles need to have the necessary hardware to support these upgrades.
However, it’s unclear which BMW models are equipped with adaptive suspension or advanced headlight high beams from the factory – options that typically cost extra, given the additional hardware needed to facilitate them – but lack the software to enable them.
BMW is not alone in offering subscription services for vehicle features; Mercedes-Benz EQS buyers in Germany can pay €489 ($AU730) a year to expand the capability of their vehicle’s rear-wheel steering from 4.5 degrees as standard, to 10 degrees.
|Feature||One month||One year||Three years||Unlimited|
|Heated front seats||$29||$289||$419||$589|
|Heated steering wheel||$19||$169||$259||$349|
|BMW Drive Recorder||$19||$79||$189||$429|
|Automatic high beam||–||–||–||$259|
|Wireless Apple CarPlay preparation||–||–||–||$450|
|Adaptive M suspension||–||–||–||$650|
|Real-time traffic information||–||–||–||$115|
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.