BMW Is Hiding Its Best Car Features Behind A Paywall?

BMW has now enacted something that no other car manufacturer has, by putting some of their best car functions behind a paywall.

By James Brizuela | Published


We can imagine that owning a luxury car of any kind is no cheap endeavor. However, it seems that BMW is adding even more exclusivity to its produced vehicles. In an odd move, it has been announced that some of the most popular features that are 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 that are built into the cars but can only be unlocked via monthly subscriptions, or for a large lifetime flat fee.

The Verge had first reported on the heated seat function being turned into a monthly service. Apparently, BMW is charging $18 a month for the heated seat function to work, even though it has been built into the car already. Patrons can pay $18 a month, $180 a year, $300 for three years, or $415 for “unlimited” access to the function. This is surely a strange way to want to promote the vehicles that already cost a great deal of money already. A Twitter user spoke on this odd function paywall in reference to the model 530e that they drive and attempting to use the beam assist option. You can see their tweet below:

Per the BMW website, the 530e model currently holds an MSRP price of $55,580. The xDrive 530e also has a higher price point of $57,580. Either of those cars is quite expensive, and we understand that owning one means that someone could potentially afford that much. However, imagine someone having to make their payments and figure out they must pay an additional $400 just to use a function built into the car. The above Twitter user stated that the beam assistant option was going to cost $237 for unlimited access. Other users have also stated that certain functions can only be bought for the lifetime flat rate, such as the car alerting the driver if there is a speed camera nearby. That will cost a whopping $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 is assuming the “lifetime” option is chosen.

BMW is one of the biggest luxury car manufacturers in the world but having to pay for functions that exist in a car already through monthly subscriptions is quite insane. Then again, people that can afford these cars likely don’t care too much about those extra function prices. This is just wild speculation, but there is no way we could afford a nearly $60,000 car.

Just remember, if you happen to strike it rich somehow, understand that BMW is going to want to charge you extra money to truly use all the functions that exist in your car. We do understand that this makes more sense for those that lease cars, as it’s not truly their car, but it’s still quite ridiculous to charge for functionality through subscriptions.