BMW hides its best car features behind a paywall?

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By James Brizuela | Published

We can imagine that owning any luxury car is not a cheap endeavor. However, it looks like BMW is adding even more exclusivity to its produced vehicles. In a strange move, it has been announced that some of the most popular features offered in the company’s cars will now be treated as microtransactions. Yes, you read that right. Heated seats, active cruise control and automatic beam switching are some of the features built into the cars, but can only be unlocked through monthly subscriptions or with a hefty lifetime package.

The Verge first reported that the heated seat feature had become a monthly service. Apparently, BMW charges $18 a month for the heated seat feature to work, even though it’s already been built into the car. Customers can pay $18 per month, $180 per year, $300 for three years, or $415 for “unlimited” access to the function. It’s surely a funny way of wanting to promote vehicles that are already very expensive. A Twitter user talked about this weird feature paywall in reference to the 530e model he drives and is trying to use the beam assist option. You can see their tweet below:

By the BMW website, the 530e model currently holds an MSRP price of $55,580. The xDrive 530e also has a higher price tag of $57,580. Each of these cars is quite expensive, and we understand that owning one means someone could potentially afford it. However, imagine someone has to make their payments and realizes they have to pay an extra $400 just to use an in-car feature. The Twitter user above said the Beam Assistant option is going to cost $237 for unlimited access. Other users have also said that some features can only be purchased for the lifetime plan, such as the car alerting the driver if there is a speed camera nearby. It will cost $888. So, in total, just for the three functions mentioned: heated seats ($415), beam assist ($237) and speed camera warning ($888), the driver will have to pay an additional $1,540. This assumes that the “lifetime” option is chosen.

BMW is one of the biggest luxury car makers in the world, but having to pay for features that already exist in a car through monthly subscriptions is pretty crazy. Then again, people who can afford these cars probably don’t care too much about those extra feature prices. It’s all wild speculation, but there’s no way we can afford a car that’s nearly $60,000.

Remember, if you somehow get rich, understand that BMW will want to charge you extra money to really use all the features that exist in your car. We understand this makes more sense for people who rent cars, since it’s not really their car, but it’s still pretty silly to charge for features through subscriptions.



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